Raster to Vector

MagicTracer Conversion Software
[ Documentation ] [ Quick Reference ] [ Vector Convert ]

Vector Convert

Keyboard Shortcut Menu Shortcut Menu Location
V Alt+C, V Vector -> Vector Convert

The Vector Convert command converts edges and outlines in an image into vector lines, curves, circles, and arcs which can be exported for use in a CAD or vector graphics program.

There are two phases of the vector conversion process: Contour Detection and Vector Tracing.

Contour Detection Phase

The Contour Detection phase attempts to reduce the image to thin black-and-white outlines. To do so it will perform up to four processing operations:

Color Reduction

Color reduction reduces the number of colors in the image. This can be helpful when trying to locate the boundaries of a region where all the pixels are of a similar color

Enable Color Reduction

Check this box to enable the color reduction process.


The number of colors in the original is reduced by the percentage shown here. For example, a 75% reduction would reduce a 256-color image to 64 colors.

Convert to 1Bpp Image

Converts the image to black and white.


Sets the brightness level a pixel must exceed to be colored white. All pixels at or below this brightness are colored black.

Set to Default Level

This button will select a default threshold based on the median brightness level in the image.

Convert before Outline Detection

The conversion to black and white occurs either immediately before the outline detection phase, or immediately after the outline detection phase. For most multi-color images this box should not be checked. For some grayscale images, or color scans of line drawings, this box may be checked. Each image is different – try it both ways.

Outline Detection

This is where MagicTracer decides which parts of the image are important enough to trace.

Detection Methods

Use Negative Image

performs contour detection on a the reverse of the original image

Convert to Thin Lines

Reduces the width of wide black lines or areas. Vector generation works best when the the lines are only 1 pixel wide.

Enable Line Thinning

Check this box to enable line thinning. Uncheck the box to skip line thinning.


specifies the maximum number of pixels to trim from each side of a wide line or area. No line will be reduced to less than 1 pixel in width.

Other Contour Detection Options

Keep Original Image

If this box is checked, the contour detection will be performed on a temporary copy of the image; after vector conversion is completed, the original raster data will be restored. If the box is not checked, the original image is replaced by the results of the contour detection process.

Enable Real-time Preview

Check this box to see how the contour detection results are affected by changes to the controls on this page. For very large images, however, this can be a slow process. In such cases you may prefer to disable this option, and instead click on the Preview button after changing the settings.

Enable Superimposition

Checking this option will show the detected contours as black lines superimposed on top of the original image. If “Enable Real-time Preview” is not checked above, you will have to click the Preview button to see the results.

Note: If your image has already been reduced to black and white, you may optionally skip the Contour Detection phase:

Vector Tracing Phase

The Vector Tracing Phase traces the black-and-white outlines generated by the Contour Detection Phase and generates entities – lines, curves, arcs, and circles. After confirming (or skipping) the Contour Detection dialog box, you are presented with the Vector Convert dialog box. All of these settings interact with one another, so it may take some fiddling to get the desired result for a particular image.

Line Smoothing Level

Line smoothing involves dropping points from the traced line. The higher the setting, the more points are dropped. This control has the strongest overall effect on the resulting vectors.

Line Straighten Angle

This setting determines the maximum threshold angle for straightening two consecutive line segments.

Line Connection Gap

MagicTracer can bridge gaps between lines. This setting determines the maximum gap distance that MagicTracer will attempt to join together.

Enable Angle Checking

If this option checked, MagicTracer may refuse to connect two lines across a gap if the lines aren't close enough to the same angle.

Line Connection Angle

If the angle between two lines exceeds this angle, and Enable Angle Checking is turned on, MagicTracer will not attempt to connect the lines across a gap, even when the gap is less than the maximum gap distance specified above.

Enable Orthogonal Lines Detection

Check this option to enable MagicTracer to detect horizontal and vertical lines.

Orthogonal Angle Threshold

This angle is the maximum deviation from horizontal or vertical that MagicTracer will accept when determining if a line is horizontal or vertical.

Minimum Length

This the minimum length of line that MagicTracer will create. Shorter lines are discarded.

Enable Curve Detection

This checkbox determines whether MagicTracer will attempt to detect curves.

Curve Detection Angle

This angle determines the maximum angle between two consecutive line segments that MagicTracer will consider to be part of a curve. Decrease this angle to generate less curves. Increase the angle to generate more curves.

Curve Fitting Threshold

This setting determines how easily two adjoining lines or curves can be combined into a single curve. Increase the setting to join more curves together.

Enable Circle/Arc Detection

Check this box to allow MagicTracer to try and detect circles and arcs.

Circle/Arc Threshold

This setting indicates how close to a circle or arc the shape must be to be detected as a circle or arc. Increase the setting to detect more arcs and circles; decrease the setting to detect fewer arcs and circles.

Corner Detection Level

This setting determines how strongly MagicTracer will enforce corners. The results of this value are strongly dependent on the Line Smoothing Level.

Remove All Existing Lines

Check this box to delete any existing vector entities, leaving only the newly created ones. If the box is unchecked, the new vector entities will be added to those that were already present in the project.