Cool Tool: VectorMagic

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A few weeks ago, my co-worker DH sent me an IM "Have you seen this?" with the URL for Stanford's Vector Magic Online Bitmap to Vector Project. I was busy when he sent it and only just gave the site a quick visit, a bookmark and figured I'd visit again and blog it when I had more time.

Check out my Vector Pocket Protector!Wow, this is an extremely cool tool! In a nutshell, The site converts bitmap images to vector art for you. It's an "online auto-tracer" built using Adobe's Flex2. To use it, just upload your image or photo, and the tool will create vectors for you. You can then save your vector art to EPS, SVG, or PNG format. You can use VectorMagic to process your image and then tweak the results as needed as well, this keeps all the heavy processing on their end, and you can focus on the fun stuff! Vectors are scalable because they are "geometric primitives" made-up of points, lines, curves and polygons — whereas raster graphics are a "map of pixels" (hence the name "Bit Map", or BMP). Vector files are also smaller in file size, and they can be scaled without a loss of quality. Find out more info on vector graphics on Wikipedia.

Here's an example of my first VectorMagic output. I took my avatar and ran it through their tool and got great results. Then I was able to play around with the SVG output to size my avatar as needed. I have the original Photoshop file so I can do that anyway, but this machine is getting old and slow, so it's nice to have a backup option. They also make it really easy to share your results to help spread the good word (you can play with my vectors made by VectorMagic, but my artwork is ©2006ptamaro so don't use it for your own purposes).

View the full size results at 1280x1024Also, if you don't have the original artwork in a vector format you won't be able to get good results if you need to change any of the elements, colors or size. In this case, you can vectorize the rastered artwork and then use the vectors to make the changes you need. Have fun, and let me know what you think of it!

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