I have Illustrator CC 2018 and I have a series of bitmap images saved as *.bpm (I can save as other formats if they would work better) which I need to convert to Vectors but no matter what Trace preset and no matter what settings I tweak within the presets Illustrator keeps changing the image and smooths it out.

I need the image to be converted to SVG exactly as it is so I would be grateful for any suggestions?

The top image is the original and I need the final SVG to look exactly the same. The bottom image is what Illustrator does to it no matter what presets or setting I try!

  • I forgot to add that I know it can be done as I tried it on a couple of the online img to svg conversion pages and it worked perfectly. I just want to learn how to do it in Illustrator. Feb 3, 2019 at 23:27

2 Answers 2


It's because the image is too small in pixel dimensions. You mention the image is 300 DPI, but the DPI/PPI has nothing to do with the size or quality of an image. It's not the image resolution, it's the only the output resolution. The true resolution of a raster image is the number of pixels in the image. If you don't understand why, then you need to read The Myth of DPI.

Anyhoo, enough of that. Here's a fix.

  1. Open the raster image in Photoshop

  2. In PS click Image > Image size

  3. Check "resample" and set it to "Nearest Neighbor hard edges", then set the height or width to something like 300 pixels

  4. Copy and paste the image into Illustrator

  5. Run the image trace again, and in the advanced settings for the Image Trace, max out the number of paths and corners.

  • Brilliant - thank you for this and I am going to read that "The Myth of DPI" a little later. One last question - should I need to, is there a format that is best to save the resized image in Photoshop. I know some are lossy? Feb 4, 2019 at 2:34
  • @belinea2010 You don't need to save it. You can copy and paste it directly into Illustrator. However if you do want to save it, PSD is Photoshop's native lossless format, and PSDs can be imported into Illustrator.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 4, 2019 at 10:51

What I would do is take it into photoshop, change it to grayscale, increase the resolution a few 100 (1200 usually works for me on a 9" x 5"), use the adjustments to crisp up the edges if the increase of resolution made it a little blurry, then take it back into Ai and do the image trace.

  • Hi Liam. Thanks for the suggestion. The current resolution is 300 dpi but I have created the original image in a graphics prog so I can save it out in any format or dpi? Feb 3, 2019 at 23:50

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