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Hour 3. Importing Graphics into Flash > Task: Convert a Bitmap to a Vector

Task: Convert a Bitmap to a Vector

In a new file, select File, Import and point to the file Pinstripe.bmp, found in the C:\Windows directory. (If you can't find this image I have a few samples at www.phillipkerman.com/teachyourself.)

Zoom in on the graphic so that you can see what a bitmap looks like close up. It should look grainy, like the image in Figure 3.14. Obviously, it wouldn't scale well, which is a characteristic of bitmaps.

Figure 3.14. A bitmapped image looks grainy when you scale it or zoom in.

With the object selected, choose Modify, Trace Bitmap. In the resulting dialog box, shown in Figure 3.15, enter 1 in the Color Threshold field. This indicates how close two colors must be to be considered the same color. Minimum Area specifies how small the smallest vector shape can be. Set this at 10. Leave Curve Fit and Corner Threshold at Normal. Click OK.

Figure 3.15. The Trace Bitmap dialog box lets you specify how tracing will occur.

The graphic is now all vector shapes. The stripes on the edge may be bent, and you may see some weird artifacts on the top or bottom (these can be fixed). Even so, the graphic not only looks as good as the original, it looks better—especially if you need to scale to a larger size.

An artifact is any unwanted or obscure result of a process. Static on the radio is an artifact of transmission. Moiré patterns in magazine pictures, color shifts on TV, raindrops on the camera lens, and typos in books are all examples of artifacts. Similarly, Flash's Trace Bitmap feature sometimes leaves artifacts. JPEG compression also has artifacts, which are most noticeable when you set the quality to a low number.



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