You want to convert a photo to a drawing, but how do you actually do that? In this blog we’ll show you why converting a photo to a vector drawing is the best option.

The best way

The best way to convert a photo is in the form of a vector file. You can enlarge a vector file endlessly without the quality degrading. Of course, converting a photo into a drawing is something you do, because you want to keep that quality.

How do you do that, convert a photo into a vector drawing? We’ll explain. Turn a photo into a vector file can be done in two different ways.

  1. Converting the photo to a vector file with the automatic trace function
  2. Converting the photo to a line drawing by manually tracing the image.

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Automatic tracing

Converting a photo to a drawing using the automatic trace feature is done in Adobe Illustrator. The program recognizes the lines in the original picture and makes a drawing itself. So you don’t have to do anything, the program itself ensures that the lines and colors from the original image are converted into a drawing. Once the photo has been converted, you can easily turn it into a vector image. In the image below you can see the result.

The image is blocky because the lines don’t run nice and tight. Also the color gradient is not quite right compared to the original. Converting a photo to a vector drawing with Illustrator is a good start, but does not work perfectly.

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Convert a photo to a drawing

Converting a photo to a drawing by drawing manually works much better. The drawing below was created by our supersizers in Illustrator. Not with the automatic trace function, but by hand. The lines are clean and the colors flow nicely, giving you a very smooth and natural result.

Manual drawing does not work in all cases. For example, if you have a landscape photo that you want to convert to a vector file, manual tracing is way too expensive. There is a lot of color gradient, differences in light, and few clean lines. Manual tracing that photo simply takes a lot of time. Converting the photo to a drawing with automatic tracing is actually interesting in this case, as the blocky effect is less noticeable because of all the details in the photo (depending on how big you want to blow it up). It won’t be a 100% equal copy, but it is a very good option. And it can actually give a very playful effect. Below you can see the result.

 

Original

With automatic trace function

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Convert a photo to a vector file in Photoshop

Can you use Photoshop to convert a photo to a vector file? It’s possible, but we don’t recommend it. Why we are not fans of Photoshop, we explain in this blog. As far as we are concerned, it is better to use Illustrator or Indesign, because these programs are based on vectors.

Converting a photo to a black and white drawing

Sometimes you don’t want to convert a photo to a regular drawing, but to a black and white drawing. Or maybe you want to convert a photo to a line drawing. The great thing about Illustrator is that the program offers all the colors of the rainbow, but it also allows you to work in black and white.

Converting a photo into a black and white drawing does not work very differently than converting a photo into a normal drawing. In the case of logos, it is wise to manually recreate the drawing. For “real” photos, for example of people or landscapes, it is too expensive to do so manually as with color. We recommend the automatic tracing function in those cases. Below is an example of a logo converted to a vector drawing.

Outsource photo conversion to drawing

Want to create a vector drawing from a photo but wouldn’t know where to start? We can help you. We always use fixed prices for our work, so you will never be surprised.

Questions?

Would you like to know more about converting photos to vector files, or do you have another question? Please contact us using the form below. We will respond within 24 hours.

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