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Imagaro Z: Raster-to-Vector Conversion Software

(January 2007) posted on Wed Mar 07, 2007

Learn how to take much of the work out of turning low-quality, low-resolution images into crisp, clean graphics.

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By Mark A. Coudray

The Straighten Image dialog is a really cool trick. If the scanned image isn't square to the page—and it never is—a simple click and drag is all that's required to remedy the problem. Click on the end of the element that needs straightening. Drag along the baseline and release. The image is instantly squared to the artboard.

A designer can use the selection tool to quickly and easily select objects and duplicate, move, resize, rotate, or skew the image. Each object can be handled individually or as a group.

The Reshape menu is one of my favorite tabs. It's invaluable when correcting distorted artwork. Use the Selection tool to select the object. You can now choose the Square or Circle tools to tell the program to convert the selected shape to a perfect square, rectangle, circle, or ellipse. If you have multiple objects that need to be corrected, like stars in a flag, you can choose to duplicate the correction on any object you select.

The Clean Up tool also is found in the Reshape menu. This tool allows for the quick removal of duplicate or unnecessary nodes on a vectorized object. Clean Up is attained by way of the Smoothness slider. The higher the smoothness, the fewer the nodes the object will have.

Finally, the Reshape menu contains Split Object and Weld tools. They allow for the separation of joined elements or the merging of objects, respectively. These tools are really helpful for correcting poorly kerned, scanned type.

Font matching and finishing

The auto-trace functions I've described should be reason enough to buy Imagaro Z. But perhaps the most innovative aspect of the program is what the company calls Font Eye Technology. It allows the user to load multiple font databases, totaling more than 40,000 fonts. When Font Eye is activated, Imagaro Z compares the selected vectorized type in your image to the databases and identifies the correct font. If you own the font, Imagaro Z will substitute the true vector font. It replaces original vector trace with the font outlined as individual objects. You can also manipulate each object for the right match. If you don't own the font, you'll at least be able to identify the type.

The program goes one step further. It can determine whether the font you're looking for was stretched or compressed in the design. Font distortion is often the cause of mismatches in the software's font search. Click on the Stretch & Find button to perform a new search.

When you're satisfied with the final, edited graphic, you can export the file in a number of different formats, including EPS, AI, DXF, and PLT, some of which are particularly useful for those who use sign and plotting software.

Trace to pick up the pace

Imagaro Z is a robust software program available for Macintosh and Windows computers that offers valuable tools to new and experienced designers alike. The ability to make difficult customer-supplied art into easily used vector images will help streamline your prepress efforts and remove roadblocks throughout production. Consider implementing a solution like this before the next lousy image file clogs up your art department.

© 2005 Mark Coudray. Republication of this material in whole or in part, electronically or in print, without the permission of the author is forbidden.


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