Vectorization has revolutionised the print design world and it is now possible to quickly and affordably convert practically any photo, drawing or scaned image into a fully scaleable vector file, even if you have a distorted printed version of your desired image.
Bitmap vs Vector graphics
Photographs or other photo-realistic images are generally stored digitally as bitmaps (raster images), or a compressed variation. Bitmaps store information on a pixel-by-pixel basis which means that as images are scaled up, resolution is negatively affected. Examples of bitmap file types are .gif, .jpg, .bmp and .tiff.
Vector images, on the other hand, are a set of mathematical equations that are used to represent lines, curves, points and shapes. The advantage of vector images is that they can be scaled to any proportions without any loss of resolution; a vector logo will look just as clean and crisp on a bus shelter as it does on a letterhead. Examples of vector file types are .ai, .eps, .psd and .dwg.
What is Vectorization?
Vectorization is the skilled process of converting a raster/bitmap image to a vector image. This is much more difficult than the opposite process, particularly if the end project involves restrictions on the image detail and numbers of colours used.
What can be Vectorized?
Experienced graphic designers with access to the latest software and specialist knowledge and skills can create a vector image from the poorest of resources. It is not even necessary for the photograph to be in digital form as print photographs can also be vectorized. And since vector images are mathematical constructs, even distortions due to 3D orientation can be corrected, with uneven lines made symmetrical and curves smoothed out.
Vectorization can be applied to everything from logos, photographs, technical drawings and architects’ plans to sketches and doodles, with even less than average artwork cleaned up during the process.
Who benefits from vectorization?
Vector images are used in many different contexts and require various treatments. Engravers, for example, need artwork to be supplied in only black and white, with as little fussy detail as possible. Vectorization can turn a complex, colour-rich photograph into a design suitable for engraving. Embroidered images and certain types of product printing, for example printing on mugs, require artwork to be limited to a small number of colours. Vectorization can preserve the fine detail while simplifying the palette for the final design.
Architects and investors are another group of people who often require vector images to scale up technical and archive drawings; maps; schematic diagrams and building, machine or landscape presentations. Vector images are also the preferred format for business logos, offering optimal flexibility.
Usage of vector
The graphics that are meant for the web are made of awesome quality by way of vectorization. The engravers, specialty printers and sign companies often opt for the vector files. Nowadays numerous companies opt for the vector art in their processes. Vectorization is essential for engraving and vinyl cutting for sign boards. In addition to signs, banners and engravers the vector files are suitable to commercial printers and web use.
In vector art, the objects are created by mathematical calculations so that they can be scaled to any size. This kind of sizing is not possible for the pixel made images such as jpg, gif, bmp and tif. While vector images are widely used in graphic designing, in printing this format is preferred more than any other format. Vector images are ideal for printing on clothes as well as paper. When compared to bitmap images it is easier to scale vector images using the latest type of printers that can produce resolutions of 600 pixels per dot per inch. Today vector inputs are of versatile uses like flex printing, embroidery and flash animations.
Advantages of vector
Since pixels are not used, vector graphics can be printed at the maximum resolution provided by the device. However, in the case of the Raster images like jpg, gif, bmp, etc. the resolution is limited to the number of pixels/inches. Moreover the printing of vector images can be made more cost-effective by reducing the total number of color plates. The quality of Raster images is eroded when the images are enlarged. When bitmap images are described by pixels the vector images are described by geometrical shapes such as circles and squares. Since the vector images are described mathematically they are precise and there is no chance for the formation of blurred or pixilated images.
Printed logo Vs Web logo
When web logos are used for printing the images will be of very poor quality as a result of their smaller resolution. For logos the common printing formats are TIFF, EPS and AI. While in these formats the logos can be printed even without the original software.