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Definition: graphics conversion

Changing an image from one graphics format into another. The new image may not look identical to the original for several reasons. The import/export filters in the application may not be up-to-date, which is especially critical when converting between vector and raster images. These two image structures are entirely different (for details, see graphics).

In addition, the resulting image may no longer be modifiable. For example, converting from vector to raster eliminates all overlapping layers in the original drawing, and the single-image bitmap result cannot be edited (see layers).

The Target Format May Be Limited
Even with perfectly working conversion algorithms, there may be major differences in the new format. For example, if the original is a 24-bit JPEG and the target format is an 8-bit GIF, there may be noticeable color differences if there are many colors and shades in the original (see color depth).

The Programming Is Tedious
The graphics filters that perform the conversion from one format to another require tedious programming, which means import/export functions in an application may not be perfect. In addition, the filters may not be up-to-date, and the original image may contain attributes introduced in later versions of the format.

Vector to Raster
The vector image (top) did not translate properly to the JPEG image (bottom). If exact replication is required, be sure to test the application first. (Original image courtesy of Cedar Waxwing Design.)