VectorMagic is an interesting site that takes raster images and turns them into vectors. Raster images are made up of pixels. A general rule of thumb to remember is that, anything created out of pixels can not be enlarged while maintaining quality because to maintain the quality would require more pixels. However, you can downsize pixel images and maintain an acceptable level of quality because of the number of pixels available for the downsized image.
Vector based images are those that are made out of lines. Think of vector images as one large shape or a series of shapes. An example that seems to make sense to me is that, think of a square as four lines. No matter how you resize the square, the square still ends up as four connected lines. This is one of the primary advantages to using Vector based images. You can make them as big as a skyscraper and they would look the same as if they were the size of a stamp.
VectorMagice works on the basis of tracing the outermost pixels of a raster image and transforming the image into a shape. To test out this service, I am going to use Mike’s avatar that he uses on this blog.
Here is Mike’s avatar as a raster image:
Here it is after going through VectorMagic:
As you can see, it didn’t do a terrible job but it didn’t do a perfect one either. I don’t lay all the blame on the website though as Mike’s avatar image is somewhat complicated and at the pixel level, contains numerous artifacts that affect the outcome. As I was going through the conversion process, VectorMagic provided me with a few questions such as the number of colors in the image, the quality of the image, and whether or not it was simple or somewhat complicated. Then, it did the best it could to turn the raster image into a basic shape. I’m going to go ahead and try a few other images to see if I can get the two to look alike. Until then, if you have a simple pixel based image or logo and don’t have the Adobe Illustrator skills to turn it into a Vector image, give this site a shot.
Please report back with your findings!