Navigating The Blogipelago

I’m a sucker for info graphics, especially when they show a bit of creativeness within their design. This map of online communities, created by Xkcd is no exception. This is a map of online communities in which the geographic area provides an estimated size of the memberbship for that particular network. The numbers used to illustrate these communities are not 100% accurate, but I think they are close enough. Click on the image to see the full size view.

The seas are rough, but I’m still navigating the straits of Web 2.0.

5 Emoticons You Have Never Seen

Ever get sick and tired of seeing the same old emoticons, over and over again? Wouldn’t it be nice to see some fresh, creative emoticons instead? In this post, I highlight 5 emoticons you may never have seen before. DeviantArt is awesome!

:Factory: by *Jtcgh Factory

Error guys… by ~Big-E Error Guys

The Legion of emoticons by *Lorna36 Legion Of Emoticons

Juicy by ~iTop-edition Juicy Top

Dangling by =synconi Dangling

What are some of the best emoticons you have ever seen?

VectorMagic – Turning Rasters Into Vectors

Vector Magic Logo

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:

Mikes Raster Based avatar

Here it is after going through VectorMagic:

Mike Vector Image

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!

JayK Releases 20 Beautiful Badge Graphics

Jay K of Flying-people.com has released a free 20 icon set which contains an array of beautiful gradients. The badges look great for use of promotional material or to slap onto a site lacking in color. I’ve seen quite a few icon packs but I have yet to see a pack which contains gradients like these. Give these badges a try if your looking for something colorful to add to your site.

Click Me To Download The Pack

Click here to download the badge pack.

OpenWeb – Free User Created Graphics

openwebgraphics logo

According to my log files, quite a few of you are doing Google searches for graphics, buttons and badges. So, it’s only natural of me to include some content for those of you who are looking for it. Here is something I’ve come across recently called Open Web Graphics. A resource of freely available user-submitted graphics that cover web banners, web icons and web backgrounds.

The web icons are generally in PNG format but you can sometimes find them in .gif. Some of the icons also come in various colors and are searchable by TAGS or CATEGORY. Here are a few of the more popular icons that I see blogs using all the time.

RSS Icon Email Button Home Icon User Comment

The Web Banners and Web Backgrounds section only contains 1 page of graphics which means theirs not a whole lot of selection. OpenWebGraphics has announced that they have reached BETA status back on October 1st but as far as I can tell, the site is open for registration. Once of the coolest things about this site is the ability to upload PSD files. This might be one heck of a resource area for photoshop newbies, who want to learn how the graphics were put together. Do the right thing and don’t redistribute these open PSD files.

Click here to check out their existing library of graphics.