How To Convert Raster Graphics To XAML

Raster graphics are bitmap image files where each pixel is defined as a point of color in a grid. Converting raster graphics to a vector graphic image format like SVG or XAML is not easy. Some graphics programs have an auto-trace feature which attempts to create the vector paths by tracing the raster graphic but I have had little success with that feature. The results are often terrible. You could try to trace an image to create paths using some pen tools but you'll find that requires you to be an expert with pen tools and it is exceedingly frustrating.

Fortunately, I am subscribed to Chris Pirillo's lockergnome channel on YouTube and saw his video about VectorMagic, a web site that provides a free service to convert raster graphics to vector graphics: I've used this web application to convert my company's complex logo into a vector graphic and I was quite impressed by the results.

VectorMagic will give you the download for a SVG version of your bitmap image. This SVG image file will be in the compressed, binary format so you may have some trouble opening it in some graphics programs. However it can be opened in Adobe Illustrator and you can then save it as a SVG file which will not be compressed. To convert the SVG file to XAML you need Mike Swanson's Illustrator plug in for exporting to XAML:

I spent my entire Saturday working on a Silverlight application and studying the technology only to discover that I was unable to deploy my application to the Internet so I could blog about Silverlight. My application requires a reference to the Silverlight plug-in and I was unable to work around a JavaScript error: slPlugin.content is null or not an object. I was even unable to get any of my Silverlight applications to run on my local web server from the localhost web address. In fact, nothing seems to work unless you launch the application from the Visual Studio development environment! Needless to say, this was very frustrating and has lessened my interest in Silverlight.

 However, I am still very interested in vector graphics because they can be used in Adobe's After Effects. In After Effects, vector graphics can be scaled to any size and they will still remain sharp. But more importantly, you can convert vector graphics into 3D shapes for 3D animation using the Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator plug-in for After Effects. 3D Invigorator runs very slow on my system, I need to upgrade to the pro version which uses OpenGL, but the results are eye-popping and extremely impressive. 3D Invigorator has given me a great need for vector graphics and the VectorMagic web site gives me the ability to convert any image to a vector graphic.


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