Basically, I want to be able to convert low-quality (or any quality, for that matter) raster images, like this one; into basic, clean-cut, vector shapes.

ski free logo

  • What software? I can tell right now, from an image that small, even live-trace in Illustrator will not give you the results you're after. You will likely have to recreate it by hand.
    – Manly
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 0:21
  • You're right, it's not quite the result I had imagined. Great answer though, thanks. I really appreciate you taking the time to demonstrate.
    – voices
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 6:50
  • The only sure way is to redraw it.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


As already axplained, no bitmap tracing can decide should the vectorized result to be 1024 square boxes (no outline, only the fill) or smooth curves and color gradients. Human reasoning is a must.

Some processing can be done in bitmap mode to help the tracing process. A good bet is to try pixel dimension enlargening by using some image resizer. Some of them really know, how people assume coarse pixel lines to be interpreted as curves and sparse pixel clusters as coloured areas. Below your original 32 x 32 icon is 800 % enlargened by using ON1 Perfect Resize:

enter image description here

The black icon outline is somehow misinterpreted -I would have been glad if it had stayed sharp. Despite this, there's lot of well quessed new data to trace or recreate manually . Here is an image of in Illustrator produced 16 color automatic tracing result.

enter image description here

Probably not good enough! But it gives a clear hinting, what should be cleaned before tracing and how can shadows be represented, if one wants to draw the curves manually over the bitmap image in Illustrator.


I have a few strategies for replicating fuzzy logos. None of them are very fast.

  1. Trace. Open in illustrator, scale to 2000px and use Image Trace with the "High Fidelity Photo" option.

After tracing hit Expand then Un-group the image. You will see what cleaning up needs to be done.

  1. Create New. Open in illustrator, scale to 2000px and lock the image. Carefully draw new graphics over old. Discard the old.

  2. Source original. Go to the place you got the images and see if high resolution versions are available. Search for the image with www.tinyeye or Google reverse image search. See if vector versions are available.

  3. If you got these from a client, and they don't have vector versions available, ask to contact their designer, printer or whoever has the source versions.

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