RasterVect Free Edition converts bitmap images to vector images in various formats. It offers a handy “wizard” conversion mode as well as conversions of multiple images in batch.
Vectorization is the process of transforming a pixel-based image to an image that is represented by a number of geometrical shapes (such as lines, circles, and curves).
A vector image makes it possible to manipulate, enlarge, and modify the image quickly and easily in illustration and design software (such as Adobe Illustrator or the open source InkScape) while avoiding the pixellization and quality degradation that occurs with bitmap images.
Free raster to vector conversion apps or services are surprisingly hard to find (the excellent, previously mentioned VectorMagic web service has greatly restricted the scope of free conversions since I first wrote about it on this blog). So if you are looking for a free software to quickly convert bitmaps to vector images give this one a try.
RasterVect Free Edition is fairly simple and straightforward program that will open your bitmap image(s) and convert your bitmap to vector image with a click of a single button. You could also tweak a few settings if you need to or use the conversion wizard.
But the program also offers a number of editing tools, including drawing, masking, screen capture as well as a handful of others. A handful of tools which are surprisingly well crafted, I might add.
Export formats: RasterVect Free edition will save to the usual vector file formats (DFX, EMF,WMF, EPS, AI), but it can also save to its own combined raster/vector format, which will save both the bitmap as well as vector images in a single file.
The color palette: will be significantly reduced, to a maximum of 32 colors. This seems to be inherent in the properties of vector images rather than a limitation of this particular program.
Differences between the free and paid versions: while the free version will convert to solid shapes, the paid version offers conversion to outlines, filled outlines, and so-called “centerlines”. The program provides enough value added on the strength of the “solid shapes” conversion, which I think is the most important one anyway, for it to escape being crippleware and for me to feature it on this blog.
The verdict: whether you are looking for a quick-and-easy tool to vectorize images on their way to an illustration program or just like to play around with vectorizing and manipulating your images, give RasterVect Free edition a spin (and please share your experience in the comments section).
Version Tested: 16.0
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit)..
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 2.877 megs). Make sure you download the Free Edition rather than the trial version.