This is a beautiful tool for those who need to make vectors. Vector Magic takes bitmapped images and turns them into beautiful vector images.
Huh? What’s that mean?
Well, very simply, it takes photos or other complicated graphics and turns them into line drawings. Line drawings that can be enlarged to infinity.
Here’s an example. That’s the original photo on the top left. The other 3 squares have been traced using Vector Magic’s three settings – high, medium and low.
Yup. A Stanford University team has developed a tool that makes vectors from bitmaps a super easy to do, and does it better than most other auto-tracers, like the one in Adobe Illustrator.
Why would one need a vector graphic?
Basically, there are 2 ways a computer can draw pictures:
- with tiny little squares, or pixels, called bitmap, or raster.
- with a command that says something like “draw a circle and make it red with a circumference of 10 pixels. ” This is called a vector image.
The trick is to know when to use which one.
For example, ever try to take a jpeg and make it bigger? It turns all squarish and jaggedy – or pixelated – meaning you start seeing the individual pixels the image is made of. If you shrink the same image, it will get all blurry.
That’s not good for some things, such as logos. For those, you want them to be either teeny weeny, or something large enough to paste on the side of a skyscraper. If you want scalability – you want a vector image.
Now I can’t tell you the number of times I have received bitmaps instead of vectors when someone sends me their logo. This can be a big headache, especially if it’s sitting on a background colour.
Not anymore. If i get one of those nasty things, I will shoot it up to “Vector Magic: The Online Tool for Precision Vectorization” and change it to a more usable form for logos.
In fact I had to use this myself. I never made a proper logo for Bitter Tonic as I was in a big rush to get content up, and so a friend just made a great header for me. And being too busy, I never got around to doing the work. So I tested this by uploading a TIFF of my logo to Vector Magic.
I gotta hand it to them, it makes traces beautifully and the site is easy to use too. And even keeps your photos stored online for a whole month. Check out the difference. The top is a bitmap.
Did I mention how fast it is?
I wish this team would develop for my ridiculously not-easy-to-use cell phone.
Vector Magic is not free, but when signing up you get 2 free tokens, so you get to try it out. Subscription is $7.95/month, or you can buy a desktop application at $295. Both the online and the desktop editions work on both Mac and PC.
Click here for great vector making by Vector Magic
[tags] free tools, online tool, vector making, auto tracer, Vector Magic, line drawing, make logos, making vectors, Stanford University, make vector, tracing tool [/tags]
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