I've never done prints before, but I've worked with AI for vectoring logos for laser cutting, so I'm familiar with the concept of raster images vs vector images. I know that for a simple image (like a logo) with clean edges and few colors is easy to vectorize and will turn out nicely for a large print. Obviously photographs are a different story, trying to vectorize a photo simply wouldn't work, you'd just end up losing detail, colors, and distorting the image.

I want to print this artwork, but at the given resolution and desired print size, there wouldn't be enough PPI. I did play around with vectorizing the image and it turned out surprisingly satisfactory. So even though I'm not recovering or adding any additional detail to the image, would printing a vector image versus a raster image let me be able to "cheat" some extra quality- i.e. print at a higher PPI without blurring the image or seeing big ugly individual pixels? I've attached the image below along with a comparison of the vector image vs the raster image. enter image description here enter image description here

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    You're saying one of these images you posted is vector? They all look like the same image to me making it difficult to believe one of them is vector.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:53
  • @Metis a screenshot of the vector in Adobe Illustrator. If you zoom in, you can see individual pixels in one and not the other.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:54
  • Ahh okay. I see, the top one is a trace. Pretty good trace overall.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


If you can achieve a sufficiently detailed tracing in Illustrator, then yes. The vector tracing would absolutely allow you to enlarge the artwork a great deal more. Edges in the tracing aren't going to change or become "pixelated" unlike the raster artwork.

Viewing distance may be a factor, though. As you can see zooming in... the tracing starts to show "chunks" of color rather than smooth transitions. The same color separation/edges will remain when you merely enlarge the tracing. That may be fine. It can convey more of a stylistic feel. And from a distance these "chunks" wouldn't really be that visible.

The reason this works for this particular image is that it's already stylistic and not photo-real. So the sharp color changes are not seen as unnatural or aberrant when looking at the overall image. Artwork tends to have a bit more leeway with tracing than photographic content.

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