I'm trying to find a suitable pipeline for projects, using pictures. I'd need to obtain, at the end, a SVG with a lot of details instead of a huge black and white mush.

Here is an exemple :

enter image description here Credits : Legends of Runeterra from Riot Games

From this picture, I'd like to get a SVG in black and white where almost all the details are preserved.

I tried multiple websites converters and with InkScape as well, but I generally get something like this :

enter image description here

Too many details are lost in the process.

I'm curious if there is a better way to achieve my objectives. Of course I could do this by hand, and this would probably be the most direct way, by drawing directly on top of it. However if I could avoid the hassle and get a decent result instead I'd gladly take it!

  • 2
    Not all formats are suitable for all images. That image is never going to be a viable SVG vector. The only possibility would be to manually redraw the image as desired There's far too much detail in subtle mid-tones for any auto-tracer/converter to see things properly.
    – Scott
    Apr 10, 2022 at 22:50
  • Hmmm . . . it's possible to do colour traces in Inkscape, but that image isn't really suitable for vector tracing. It will create literally thousands of paths and tens of thousands of nodes. I tried it and it makes Inkscape extremely slow, and the SVG is huge around 14MB and it doesn't look very good. see screenshot here. The screenshot also shows the colour trace settings I used.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 10, 2022 at 23:35
  • Here's a closeup to see the kind of effect it creates.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 10, 2022 at 23:49
  • That's what I expected to be honest. I guess I'll get good at drawing over and learn InkScape to draw my own SVGs! I don't need accuracy also, I think I like the approximated result for what I plan to do with them.
    – Riyujin
    Apr 11, 2022 at 1:25
  • 1
    Making a vector drawing this full of complex details is not trivial - not even if the maker is a competent artist who can imagine every detail in his head. As drawn from scratch it would still contain thousands of paths. Making it as high resolution raster image (GIMP, Photoshop) is easier, but it's still a major task. A beginner needs years for developing the needed drawing skills if he's going to make all details from scratch. Only in a lucky case effects or clipart will make a part of it. A competent art painter with no software skills can learn to use programs well enough in months.
    – user82991
    Apr 11, 2022 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


This answer is a little late, but I just discovered what SVG images really are. This is what I got. It looks something like this:

Dragon SVG B&W

It's still not the best. I agree with people in the comments that this is not what SVG is really for. There's a reason we use JPEG and PNG (or rasterize) these images and we use SVG (or vectorize) web graphics.

Here's what I did:

  1. I took your JPEG and turned it into Black & White in Photoshop
  2. I saved it as PNG. I would have saved it as PSD, so I could open it directly in Illustrator and do Image Trace, but it wouldn't let me. Is there really a difference though? PNG is lossless
  3. I opened that in Illustrator and did Image Trace >> High Fidelity Photo

Optional step:

  1. After, it vectorized the image I discovered something that you can mess with to get more out of it, but it also makes it look more pixelated again. You'll know what I mean when you mess with it. Do Image Trace >> This thing panel >> Set colors to 86-100 to try to get a little more out of it. This image had colors set to 85 (the default)

The final step is to obviously Export As >> SVG

By the way, I literally just followed this guide.


Adobe illustrator has a very good Trace tool that can create a contour based SVG for you.

If you are using Inkscape, look for Trace tools in Inkscape.

  • Tracing is not enough. There are blurry and gradient areas which get divided to discrete bands. That happens even with the maximum 256 colors. Very heavy edits are needed to regenerate the blurs and gradients.
    – user82991
    Apr 11, 2022 at 16:33
  • Did you try tweaking the tracing settings? If it’s absolutely not possible using that tool, I suggest you to regenerate the artwork. Apr 11, 2022 at 23:22
  • The question is not mine. But I tried to trace the image in colors. All blurry and gradient areas were splintered to discrete color zones. Do you know a way to trace the gradients as gradients? I do not claim it's impossible, I have only programs which allow max. 256 different colors.
    – user82991
    Apr 11, 2022 at 23:28
  • Object(s) can be traced but Gradient Color has to be manually reassigned. Since tracing works on differentiation, it is generally not possible and AFAIK there is no software or utility that is capable of translating gradients in the tracing. Apr 11, 2022 at 23:41
  • I will resort to drawing manually, so I can pick the details I want to keep and exclude others. Looks way too impossible to reach what I'd like. Will look into these tools, thank you for your time!
    – Riyujin
    Apr 12, 2022 at 1:06

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