3

I have an image of a graph and want to redraw this graph in Illustrator.

enter image description here

Full size image

Is there any "trick" to do this? I am trying with the pen tool but it's very hard to reproduce that the fine edges.

Or is there a program that could convert this image into a vector graph?

  • 1
    do you have this as data (Excel, SPSS, etc), or is it just an image? – Devin Sep 22 '17 at 19:25
  • unfortunately just as an image, would it be easier as an Excel file? – Tom Sep 22 '17 at 19:42
  • yes, it would be the easiest method. Anyways, I answered based on both cases – Devin Sep 22 '17 at 19:55
  • Also if you do not have the original data then you are misrepresenting the data as you do not have a primary source. So you do not know if the data is tainted this may well be fine in some situations but in a scientific context for example that will not do well. – joojaa Sep 23 '17 at 4:25
3

To get the blue line I would use Image Trace with setting High Fidelity Photo. After Tracing expand and upgroup the object.

The blue line may have survived the tracing intact and clean. In that case just select and use it.

If not, use the magic wand tool to select everything that is the blue line, lock results and delete the rest, unlock blue line, group and use.

After tracing and expanding you can just start deleting stuff that is not the blue line until it is the only thing left.

Alternately, without tracing, you can carefully trace the blue line manually with the pen tool. This will give you a very crisp vector path that you can control shape and color.

Once you have the blue line separated you need to recreate the grid. (I don't think those thin grey grid lines will survive the tracing, test and find out)

To make that grid I would make a rectangle the same size, no fill and thin grey stroke. Then with the rectangle selected go Object>Path>Split Into Grid. Specify the rows and columns in your graph and hit okay.

3

It's faster, in my experience, to grab the Pen Tool and trace, the graph manually. I've dealt with this issue for nearly 20 years. Nothing beats manual tracing unless you have the actual data amounts and can plot the data again.

Any method to trace or otherwise grab the data line from a raster image, generally takes far more time and effort than just manually tracing it.

enter image description here

Under 1 minute

2

If you have data, this is very easy, just select the graph, copy it, then paste into a .ai file and it will be converted to vectors automatically.

If you have an image, it will be a bit more complex (well, a couple additional steps) and you'll need PS as well.

Assuming this is the case, open your image in Photoshop, then adjust curves until the grid lines disappear.

After this, you have 2 options:

  • Option 1 (easier on Illustrator): Go to Filter --> Stylize --> Find Edges. Apply. This will give you an slightly wider line.

  • Option 2: With Magic Eraser Tool, delete all the white. Once done, select your layer, then Blending Options --> Stroke and use Size:1; Position: Center

Now open the image in Illustrator. Click on the graph to select it and go to Image Trace on the top of your screen. If you used Option 1, simply choose the 3 colors option and it will render an exact line.

If you chose Option 2, select Technical Drawing (or play with custom values). In this case, you'll get a very close approximation, although not exactly the same, but you can adjust it (or if the small differences don't matter, simple leave it as is!)

By doing this, I got this result (gray line is my version, overlapping yours)

**enter image description here**

2

No problem because your image is quite clear. At first make a version that has only the curve. This is the place where some brainwork relly pays off if the curve is complex or the underlying coordinates are dense. See the image:

enter image description here

Make two copies of the curve layer, select the top layer, goto Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and change the blue to red. You can also shuffle the color channels, but that needs a good underhood knowledge, so adjust the hue.

Give to the hue shifted channel blending mode = Divide. That knocks the coordinate graticule to white, but the curve survives, altough gets some color variations due the unsharpness of the image.

enter image description here

Merge the two upper layers. Turn the blue and cyan to black. Again goto Hue/Saturation and adjust the brightness of cyan-blue range to extreme minus. Note the range selection sliders:

enter image description here

Copy few coordinate lines at different places of your original image to the cleaned layer for easy realignment. Paste them in place!

Copy the clean layer to the clipboard and paste it to Illustrator. Do a live trace. See the settings. Nearly all is essential:

enter image description here

I have used this software actively, but I'm still so clumsy of my hands that nothing beats a good automatic tracing. Unfortunately good automatic tracing is often impossible. Your image is in the premiun class of the traceables.

Here only the strokes are traced, not the fills. The selected accuracy is high. The treshold also is high to get the coordinate line snippets captured.

Copy and paste from Photoshop your original image. Send it to back and align with the trace to see the possible faults. At least there's a small gap near the right end and a stray dot. The gap is not in the following screenshot.

enter image description here

Expand the trace and ungroup it to be able to make edits. Obviously you want to remove the extra coordinate lines, draw some new coordinates, fill the gap, change the color, add texts etc....

1

WebPlotDigitizer is a great tool to extract raw data from a graph when you only have an image. I often used it in academic work when I only had an old pdf, or even just a book.

I tried it with your image using a two pixel window and an approximate linear scale between 0 and 10 for X and Y axis and here is what I get :

1.0485631998258123;0.7095385171292392
1.0951846161987482;0.6818787962214152
1.1419973891314237;0.6237933823149842
1.1977691282700924;0.6182614381334197
1.2438164749638092;0.6818787962214152
1.2773560610709063;0.7648579589448872
1.2985096589475817;0.8478371216683591
1.3167233242246206;0.9059225355747884
1.3349891776543155;0.9557100332088719
1.353202842931354;1.0137954471153012
1.3899433024013694;1.080178777294078
1.4265793855660718;1.16315794001755
1.4447408626904543;1.2295412701963286
1.4627979635095243;1.3125204329197988
1.480855064328594;1.3954995956432708
1.5268328268187692;1.4701808420943951
1.5829002988224903;1.4176273723695303
1.6200408674628701;1.4203933444603134
1.6290172297197487;1.4701808420943951
1.6380457801292838;1.5116704234561311
1.6469699542335063;1.5697558373625622
1.6559985046430412;1.6112454187242964
1.6648704905946072;1.677628748903075
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1.6920083299758684;1.7937995767159354
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1.7097523018790008;1.926566237073489
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5.215752397327318;2.7895495293975934
5.234644508588888;2.7397620317635116
5.235062013810138;2.673378701584733
5.253849748766395;2.6401870364953446
5.263556745160461;2.5738037063165677
5.30123659137829;2.490824543593096
5.348031968260081;2.435505101777448
5.4038037073987475;2.429973157595885
5.45031204944093;2.420292255278145
5.487861425277117;2.358057883235542
5.506805724691343;2.299972469329111
5.5350395152783864;2.2418870554226817
5.554036002845269;2.175503725243905
5.572928114106839;2.1257162276098214
5.591715849063096;2.092524562520433
5.610607960324666;2.0427370648863494
5.6295000715862376;1.992949567252266
5.648392182847807;1.9431620696181842
5.667284294109377;1.8933745719841006
5.686176405370949;1.8435870743500171
5.705068516632519;1.7937995767159354
5.724065004199401;1.7274162465371568
5.7428527391556585;1.6942245814477683
5.7524814533207405;1.6402881256775128
5.771477940887623;1.5739047954987342
5.790474428454507;1.5075214653199573
5.818682124965221;1.4535850095497018
5.874314695696807;1.4701808420943951
5.920762151560888;1.4701808420943951
5.948891565842619;1.4286912607326592
5.9677836771041886;1.3789037630985774
5.996069655843888;1.3125204329197988
6.033749502061717;1.2295412701963286
6.071377160126888;1.1548600237452025
6.11805076465248;1.1189023865650327
6.173648543282294;1.1410301632912905
6.219800266281323;1.1880516888345927
6.265830216924154;1.2544350190133695
6.321323619248657;1.2931586282843242
6.367910243519821;1.2710308515580628
6.3961440341068645;1.2129454376516335
6.415036145368436;1.16315794001755
6.4433221241081355;1.0967746098387732
6.490152293091695;1.0359232238415608
6.536608446981219;1.03454023779617
6.573453282756546;1.0843277354302518
6.591693042109915;1.1382641912005091
6.600721592519449;1.1797537725622451
6.6281725608166475;1.246137102741022
6.664860832134007;1.3208183491921464
6.711064743285691;1.359541958463101
6.757807932014826;1.3125204329197988
6.776804419581708;1.246137102741022
6.795748718995936;1.1880516888345927
6.8332720007557946;1.1299662749281616
6.879963001332271;1.091242665657207
6.926245194712942;1.1175194005196403
6.953826633391781;1.16315794001755
6.990741053370652;1.2018815492885047
7.028142562774313;1.16315794001755
7.028403503537595;1.121668358655814
7.0472434266465065;1.080178777294078
7.053888718084739;1.0082635029337368
7.066605231281985;0.9557100332088719
7.094839021869028;0.8976246193024409
7.141338665885765;0.8893267030300951
7.196936444515579;0.9114544797563546
7.243575256939401;0.8810287867577475
7.281046350546603;0.831241289123664
7.318491350077478;0.7856027496257543
7.365191048679398;0.7454961543094107
7.420771431258327;0.7703899031264516
7.467305867376837;0.7565600426725396
7.495644034269192;0.6818787962214152
7.533184712079937;0.6210274102242028
7.5702730925676605;0.6320912985873317
7.588486757844699;0.6901767124937628
7.597437026025249;0.7441131682640183
7.606387294205799;0.7980496240342756
7.624653147635495;0.8478371216683591
7.661376211054625;0.9169864239379173
7.716939197582668;0.944646144845743
7.772397807805399;0.9889016982982604
7.827926002231672;1.0220933633876488
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7.9296668058350726;1.0926256517025994
7.947958753341098;1.1382641912005091
7.966198512694463;1.1922006469707664
8.012498102126019;1.2157114097424149
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8.105566974363036;1.1880516888345927
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8.169784496206578;1.3166693910559726
8.216031897485477;1.3484780700999703
8.262183620484507;1.3954995956432708
8.289738965087018;1.4452870932773543
8.298610951038585;1.5116704234561311
8.316694145933981;1.5905006280434293
8.334829528982038;1.66103291635838
8.353017100182747;1.7232672884009848
8.371152483230802;1.7937995767159354
8.407919036777145;1.8560339487585384
8.454079457801617;1.9016724882564482
8.509885989042056;1.8906085998933193
8.546869993224467;1.9182683208011415
8.56518803480682;1.9597579021628775
8.583453888236514;2.009545399796961
8.610904856533713;2.075928729975738
8.647540939698414;2.15890789269921
8.675148472453584;2.2003974740609458
8.702651628903439;2.258482887967375
8.73020697350595;2.3082703856014586
8.757710129955804;2.3663557995078897
8.775949889309171;2.420292255278145
8.794137460509882;2.48252662732075
8.812377219863249;2.5364630830910055
8.830512602911304;2.606995371405956
8.848674080035686;2.673378701584733
8.86683555716007;2.7397620317635116
8.912952488057327;2.7923155014883765
8.968724227195995;2.786783557306812
9.024182837418726;2.8310391107593293
9.042396502695764;2.8891245246657604
9.060662356125459;2.938912022299842
9.069560436153354;3.001146394342447
9.078510704333905;3.0550828501127025
9.087382690285471;3.1214661802914803
9.0959415473211;3.2376370081043406
9.096254676237038;3.187849510470258
9.104813533272665;3.3040203382831184
9.113372390308294;3.4201911660959787
9.113685519224232;3.370403668461895
9.12224437625986;3.4865744962747556
9.131116362211426;3.5529578264535333
9.149173463030497;3.6359369891770044
9.149434403793778;3.5944474078152684
9.185983506704053;3.6912564309926523
9.223124075344433;3.6940224030834345
9.23210043760131;3.743809900717517
9.25031410287835;3.8018953146239474
9.259290465135228;3.851682812258031
9.268214639239451;3.909768226164461
9.276930060733047;4.00104530516028
9.277243189648985;3.951257807526197
9.285828140760943;4.063279677202884
9.294778408941495;4.11721613297314
9.303702583045716;4.17530154687957
9.312731133455252;4.216791128241306
9.34957596923058;4.266578625875389
9.405556460979872;4.227855016604436
9.442418692806086;4.2748765421477355
9.45134286691031;4.332961956054166
9.469452155882035;4.407643202505291
9.487665821159073;4.46572861641172
9.533834940208987;4.509984169864239
9.580456356581923;4.482324448956415
9.617979638341783;4.424239035049985
9.6555551082543;4.357855704871207
9.69318276631947;4.283174458420083
9.7308626125373;4.200195295696611
9.749806911951525;4.142109881790182
9.777936326233256;4.100620300428446
9.806170116820297;4.042534886522016
9.843797774885468;3.9678536400708913
9.881373244797985;3.9014703098921135
9.909554847232371;3.851682812258031
9.93784082597207;3.785299482079253
9.956863407615282;3.7147671937643025
9.975859895182165;3.6483838635855257
9.99493466497803;3.5695536589982275
10.004589473219442;3.5114682450917973
10.023429396328355;3.4699786637300614
10.033136392722422;3.4035953335512836
10.042947765421802;3.3206161708278126
10.06173550037806;3.287424505738424
10.06215300559931;3.2210411755596464
10.08104511686088;3.171253677925564
10.08146262208213;3.104870347746786
10.100250357038387;3.0716786826573976
10.100563485954325;3.021891185023314
10.110192200119407;2.9679547292530586
10.129266969915273;2.8891245246657604
10.148289551558486;2.81859223635081
10.16725994504904;2.756357864308205
10.214159698236143;2.6844425899478637
10.269948833425698;2.676144673675516
10.316439779416992;2.669229743448561
10.354093531558492;2.590399538861263
10.373090019125375;2.524016208682484
10.3920343185396;2.465930794776055
10.410978617953827;2.407845380869624
10.429922917368055;2.3497599669631946
10.448867216782281;2.2916745530567653
10.467811516196507;2.233589139150334
10.48678190968706;2.171354767107731
10.4964628120048;2.1091203950651263

And then you can use any other software able to plot the path corresponding to these coordinates.

For example, I used python and matplotlib to generate this pdf. The script used to read the data from a file and create a pdf is below:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig = plt.figure(facecolor='w')
ax = fig.add_subplot(111)

X = np.loadtxt("data.txt", delimiter=';').T
ax.plot(X[0], X[1])

plt.savefig('image.pdf', bbox_inches='tight')

Actually, you can also export the result in svg format with 'image.svg' in the last line. You can then load the pdf (or svg) to illustrator (or inkscape in my case) and scale the curve to fit the original : enter image description here

  • The PDF appears similar but far from accurate. – Scott Oct 1 '17 at 7:01
  • What do you mean by "far from accurate" ? The pdf is vectorized so it's just a question of scaling to fit the original curve (I've added an image to my answer to show the result) – Remy F Oct 1 '17 at 13:42
  • If you look the original and the PDF output (at least the preview) they merely look similar but the sharp peaks and valleys aren't accurate. Maybe it's just the preview image. – Scott Oct 1 '17 at 16:32

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