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Raster to Vector Conversion
Frequently Asked Questions
Why use it? Using raster to vector conversion can save you thousands of dollars and LOT of time every time you use it. Many users of our software have reported that the program paid for itself within two to ten conversions.
What is it? Also known as "paper to CAD," the raster to vector process converts scanned images and files generated by paint programs into CAD/Vector formats, including .DXF. This conversion process varies greatly depending on the quality of the image being converted and the raster to vector conversion program that is doing the conversion. Our automatic raster to vector conversion process is very fast and allows users to convert an entire image or portions thereof.
How are Draftsman raster to vector products better than low-end raster to vector programs? During our fifteen years of providing raster to vector programs, we have continued to strive to produce raster to vector programs that create CAD drawings which look like the original image with the fewest possible vectors. Our programs can do both "centerline" and "outline" conversions. "Centerline" conversion attempts to find the center of a cluster of pixels and produce a line or arc that best fits. "Outline" conversion, also known as "silhouette," finds the edge of a raster image and produces a closed vector polygon around it.

The Draftsman family of programs creates drawings that are made up of lines, arcs, circles, and polylines. There are several differences between high quality programs like ours and low-end programs. High quality programs tend to have long lines and arcs that are relatively easy to edit; lines cross at intersections and complex curves are made up of a series of end to end arcs. Low-end programs can produce very large drawings (in terms of disk space), with thousands of small entities, even though the original may ba a small and simple image. Such a large number of entities can make editing nearly impossible.

Sometimes these low-end programs can produce rudimentary drawings that look like the original image, and these can be useful. However, if the drawing is scaled up then all the little jagged lines appear as large jagged lines and may no longer be useful. These entity intensive drawings can also prove difficult for CNC programs to handle.

Why should I have a stand-alone vector editor? Drawings created with CAD programs are built in a specific manner, specific to particular applications and individual designers. For example, in  a three-view mechanical drawing the views are drawn first then dimensions and notations are added. All lines are complete and without gaps, and all arcs are of specific radiuses. CAD programs have editors that can easily edit these drawings.

Good raster to vector programs try to remove speckles, jump gaps in the image, snap certain lines horizontal or vertical, determine line thickness, connect continuous and closed objects and handle numerous other situations. The order of these entities is not necessarily in a logical CAD order. Some CAD programs can be awkward when editing these drawings. 

Our stand-alone vector editing features are built so that the converted drawings can be quickly edited, lines joined, arcs straightened, points added or removed, etc. These drawings can then be further manipulated in your CAD or CAM program.

What is "Vector to Raster" conversion? At its simplest, vector to raster conversion is simply saving the vector lines to a bitmaped raster file. Our vector to raster conversion feature allows you to save all information in a Draftsman drawing, including raster, vector, and text information, to a raster file. 

This feature is useful when you want to edit an archived raster drawing and save the changes back to the raster format. You can also use this feature to annotate photographs, adding circles, arrows and text notations and then saving it all back into raster format.

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