From what I've read I can convert a jpg to a vector file using Illustrator. but I need to know if I can do the reverse.

I have pictures (jpgs) that I eventually want to convert to a cross stitch pattern (using another program I have), but the pictures are large and I need to resize them. I can resize the jpg as is - but I lose a lot of detail. If i'm understanding vector correctly, I should be able to resize a vector file without distortion and hopefully no detail loss. (please correct me if I'm wrong about this).

Once I get the vector file resized - I will need to convert it back to a jpg. Due to the limitations of my cross stitch program I can only import jpgs.

I can't find much on converting from vector to jpg - so I could use some help.

  • Hi Karen, welcome to GD.SE! Converting a JPG to a vector in Illustrator generally does not look great but that depends on the image. What kind of details are getting lost when you're decreasing the size of your image? I would imagine you would have the same details as if you converted a jpg to vector and then exported a vector graphic to a JPG but with worse results.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:18
  • If I understand you correctly you want to scale the images down? If you scale images down (with or without converting to vector) they will always loose details. Smaller images contain fewer pixels = less information = fewer details. Am I misunderstanding you? Cross stitch patterns are much like pixel art. Maybe you can't get the level of detail you expect with the number of stitches you aim for? Maybe you can share some screenshots which show the problem?
    – Wolff
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:38
  • i'm not sure where this comment will post - so first off i want to say thank you to andrewH and wolff in answering my questions. at least now i have a better understanding of vector files. specifically to wolff - you are understanding me correctly. generally what i lose are the amount of thread colors when i reduce the size of the image before i open it up in the cross stitch program. the amount of thread colors are what defines how detailed the cross stitch picture will be. looks like i have some trial and error coming up. again - thanks for the help.
    – karen
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:17
  • @karen - sounds to me like this vector conversion step is not what you are really looking for, you just think it will solve your problem. It seems to be an example of an XY Problem. This I think would be better solved using raster image editing software. Most have a pixelize filter.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 11:30
  • hi billy. thanks for your response. i agree with you. i did some searching and found a video on using photoshop for resizing. and as luck would have it - the example is using cs6 which i have. so now just waiting for a few minutes of time so i can try it out. thanks again for your response! : )
    – karen
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


Simply auto-tracing a jpg photo is not a direct 1:1 conversion. You will lose detail during any auto-trace as well. Tracing, especially auto-tracing, is not a lossless process. Most quality raster to vector conversions are done manually and without any auto-tracing. And manual photo conversion can take some expertise, time, and knowledge of the vector application. So, it's far, far, far more work than you are expecting if you want quality results from a raster to vector conversion.

Rasterizing a vector file is a simple matter. You can generally save/export as a jpg. So, yes you can do that. But I don't think you are going to get the results you are envisioning from any tracing. Especially if the photo is one containing a great amount of minute detail. Typically, there's little to no reason to "roundtrip" a file through vector tracing then back to raster form merely to resize the image.

  • scott - thanks for your response. i'm not sure what you are talking about when you speak to auto-tracing, but from a couple of other answers - making my jpg a vector file isn't going to solve my problem. so i'll just have to go at it trial and error. thanks again for your help
    – karen
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:20
  • There are only 2 types of conversion from raster (jpg) to vector --- either by hand in a vector app, drawing paths and fills, assigning colors, etc... or auto-tracing where the app decides what to trace, what paths to create, etc..
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.