O'Reilly logo

Flash 8 Cookbook by Joey Lott

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

6.3. Converting Bitmaps to Vector Art

Problem

You want to convert bitmap graphics to vector art.

Solution

Use Modify → Trace Bitmap.

Discussion

Flash excels with vector graphics; most of its tools are designed to edit them and Flash is optimized to work with them. Vector graphics are also scalable, in contrast to bitmap graphics, which usually lose quality when scaled (especially when scaled up). Finally, due to their editability, vector graphics are easier to animate, since you can reshape them nondestructively. Using Flash’s trace feature, you can convert any bitmap graphic to vector shapes.

As promising as this conversion may sound, tracing bitmaps is often not a viable solution. For highly detailed bitmaps, such as most digital photographs, vector graphics are inferior in almost every significant way to bitmaps, including editability, file size, and image quality.

To reproduce an image using vector graphics, Flash draws vector shapes. If an image is relatively simple, with large regions of a single color, Flash can easily render the image using shapes. But if the image is detailed and intricate, as most photographs are, Flash has to draw many extremely small shapes. At some point, the overhead of creating and drawing tiny shapes becomes more file size and processor-intensive than the original pixels. And if the resulting vector shapes are larger than a pixel, the image has less detail than the bitmap, which means that it doesn’t look as good.

If you are considering vectorizing a bitmap, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required