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Imagaro Z: Raster-to-Vector Conversion Software

(January 2007) posted on Wed Mar 07, 2007

Learn how to take much of the work out of turning low-quality, low-resolution images into crisp, clean graphics.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Processing the image does two things. For grayscale, it brings up a Brightness slider that allows you to adjust to knockout the background and any extraneous garbage. For color images, Imagaro breaks the design down to its component colors and offers you a pallet. You can combine or delete unwanted colors.

Vectorizing the adjusted image happens almost instantly with grayscale images, but can take a while for complex color scans. You can choose to have the vector trace rendered as outline, centerline, or combiline, depending on the image. The choice of which option is best for each piece of art becomes clear after a few minutes of using the software. Most images are processed using the Outline method (Figure 1).

The Vectorize phase allows you to adjust how the auto trace will be generated. The Accuracy slider determines how close to the original image the trace will follow. The tighter the fit, the more nodes generated. You can view the result by clicking on the Vectorize button. If you're not satisfied, simply adjust the Accuracy slider and reapply the Vectorize function.

Adjust the Corners and Lines sliders after you've selected the proper accuracy level. Adjusting the Corner slider increases or decreases the number of corners in the image. Likewise, adjusting the Lines slider increases or decreases the number and size of the straight lines in the image. These features are very helpful for those who've scanned a printed T-shirt to get the art into the computer.


The image is now successfully vectorized, so it's time to move to the editing tools. The real power of the program shines here. Your options for displaying the image against the background include Filled or Original. A filled image displays the graphic as it will look in the vector form. Original view keeps the bitmap in memory and displays the vector outline on top—very handy for determining fit and accuracy.

You also have several options for displaying grids and guidelines. Their role is in aligning the vectorized image to compensate for any distortions in the original image, such as scanning rotation or image distortion in the case of flexible original art. You can place new horizontal and vertical guidelines simply by clicking in the desired location. You can also set angled guidelines at any angle you desire. Duplicating guide lines is a matter of Option-click-drag.


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