Being a digital artist, one of the many challenges I have faced over the years has been finding the BEST way to vectorize a photo or an image art that’s in a quality/resolution lower than that needed for printing large posters and lifestyle items.

I am a Adobe Creative Cloud customer, until now Illustrator was the only tool I was using to vectorize my images. And even after going through hundreds of articles online, Adobe’s own help index and several trial and error sessions, Illustrator still gives me images that look pixelated when zoomed to a 100% or even lower. Even though these crooked edges might not seem too prominent on a computer screen, they’re a big problem when you actually print the design.

This is where the first tool I recommend comes in.

1. Vector Magic

I like designing stuff in Photoshop more than I do in Illustrator. It’s my personal preference. If you’re like me, Vector Magic is perfect for you.

This exceptional tool converts any image into Ai/EPS/SVG/EMF/DXF/PDF. In addition, it also lets you remove white background from your images. AND, get this, does the job BETTER than Adobe Illustrator. Below are images that will help you compare the best possible results from Adobe Illustrator Image Trace with the impeccable auto vectorization quality delivered by Vector Magic. The difference is unmistakable.

You can download and install the demo version to confirm results. The demo version however does not let you save your converted vector art.

Cost: $295 | Buy/Try here

2. Aquarella

The second tool I was looking for was a good photo editing & enhancement software that would let me add paint/watercolor effects etc. to my existing artwork. Since I need to deliver most of my designs for printing, The tool needed to be powerful enough to output my art work in the same high resolution that I input it with. This feature is extremely rare.

There are several photo editing programs like Fotosketcher out there which I have personally tried working with but all of them, while applying effects, compress your images. For example, if you open a 300 DPI high resolution image in the software & apply an effect, the program will export it in a 72 DPI resolution. This was a bummer because 72 DPI is not nearly enough for printing.

And then I found Aquarella by JixPix. This marvelous little tool comes packed with hundreds of paint effect variations and delivers the final image in the exact same size as the one you start out with, thereby maintaining its high resolution.

Cost: $20 | Buy/Try here

Further Reading

In case you are not ready to invest in a vectorizing software just yet and want to know how to get the best possible results using Adobe Illustrator Image Trace with minimum pixelation, use the following settings while tracing your image.

 

Over to you

As a digital artist, what are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to creating and delivering art? What tools do you personally use and recommend? I would love to know about them and add them to my list. So please go ahead and post a comment below!

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