I want to vectorize this image, automatically if possible (at least to get to a starting point). It would be a lot easier if I could somehow blur it so the dark lines separating the mosaic tiles disappear. Any way to do this so the shapes get vectorized rather than the little tiles?

black and white medieval mosaic

  • 3
    If I had to do this, I'd choose to do it by hand, just manually trace the shapes with the pen tool. But I speak from lots of experience with the pen tool, and that would thus be the faster solution than endless fiddling with ImageTrace settings ^^'
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 15:36
  • 2
    Is this a scan of a page? I would do it again. The distortion of the curled page is going to be difficult to fix. After that, you could perhaps do this in a raster image editor such as Photoshop or GIMP perhaps using a smoothing filter, perhaps also some manual repainting, before you try to trace it in vector software. However it might just be easier to recreate it from scratch, by redrawing it manually in a vector image editor such as Illustrator or Inkscape. I don't think there is any easy way to get a good auto trace from an image like this as it currently stands TBH.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


Option 1

  • Make a backup.
  • Open it in a raster program, like Gimp.
  • Take a small brush and make it less soft than usual.
  • Paint over the image removing the tiles on the borders.
  • Make a bigger brush and paint the interiors.
  • Save and Vectorize.

Option 2

  • Just vectorize it by hand.

You might need to correct the perspective distortion first.


You have a dream, a beautiful one, but that's only a dream. Only a human or some sci-fi-like artificial intelligence can extract the animal shapes and the surrounding festoons. Lock the image to keep it unmovable and draw in Illustrator, Inkscape, Affinity Designer or other vector drawing program along the edges with the bezier curve tool. Draw at first the animals. Then lock them and draw the rest of you want to include.

Difficult for a beginner and needs practicing? Yes, guaranteed!


If you’re short on time or inexperienced with manual tracing, then there are definitely image processing filters that can remove the gaps or other thin detail from a shape.

In scientific imaging they’d call it morphological operations. In photoshop you can use Maximum and minimum filters or just do a blur followed by a threshold.

A human would make some more contextual or esthetic decisions. But this trick surely is fast.

enter image description here

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