Vector Formats - How To Make Vector Images And Graphics
Vector Formats are basically different types of computer files that can be used to edit images and graphics that are defined in terms of 2D points. Vector formats like that of the AI, EPS, and SVG files are always editable, so these files can be easily opened in illustratoron your computer and the elements within each graphic, and any associated text can be edited to get the graphical effect that is wanted by the designer. However, with JPG, PNG, GIF and TIF formatted files the graphic designer is unable to reopen and edit the text in these files. This is because these latter formatted files are considered as Raster not Vectorformats (learn more about this terms in our article "Essential Terms Every Graphic Designer Should Know").
With vector formats the designer can use them as source files to create charts, icons, logos and any other hard-edged graphics they desire. The AI and EPS formatted files are great for this, and it is also possible to use a PDF file for creating hard-edged graphics that may need frequent resizing. Once the graphic has been created and the text or image has been resized to fit, the designer will then save the vector formatted file as a master file so it can also be used in larger or smaller graphical items such as letterheads and business cards, etc.
It is also possible to create a JPG or PNG for use on the web from that master vector file. And also, the PDF file can be both saved as a vector format and a raster formatted file. But this article will focus on Vector Formats and how to make them into Vector images / graphics.
What is a Vector Image?
Any graphic designer worth their salt will realize the importance of fully understanding the role of different types of image files and how they can be used to edit the content within a graphic. Understanding how to edit an image is essential in ensuring the final effect of the graphic is properly presented to the standard that the designer is searching for. By using a vector formatted image it enables the designer to better communicate their graphics, and vector images offer more flexibility because they can be constructed using mathematical formulas, so the designer doesn’t just have to rely on using individual colored blocks within the image. One of the best files for Vector images is the AI file. This is a vector formatted file type created by Adobe and it can only be created and edited with the Adobe Illustrator. The vector image is best used for creating entertaining logos and illustrations, and they are particularly good for print layouts. Most Vector Image formats can include editable colors, gradients and different image effects.
What are Vector Graphics?
A Vector Graphic is the creation of the digital images that we see on the web today. The graphic designer will create a graphic using a sequence of commands what are known as mathematical statements that help to place lines, curves and shapes that form polygons within a 2D / 3D space. The Vector is basically a representation of direction, quantity and quality of the graphic used at the same time. The EPS file is a vector formatted file that is best used for graphics that also contain illustrations and text. With it being a vector format the graphic can then easily be edited and resized to any size needed by the designer who is creating the graphic. This EPS file can be reopened in the vector format anytime for re-editing, and it is considered a format that is great for vector graphics, master logo files, and also for print designers to use. Vector Graphics are made up of different paths rather than just individual pixels (read about the difference between bitmap and vector images). The paths of a vector graphic can be used to represent lines and the different shapes that are set within an image, and these can be enlarged and saved as a vector file without losing any quality to the image in the graphic. Each point within a graphic will have a definite position on the X and Y-axis of the graphical work plane, which basically determines the direction of the path, and each path may include various properties like color, curve, stroke, fill and thickness. Making vector graphics the perfect option for master logos and other types of drawings, illustrations and animations that are frequently used by graphic designers. A vector graphic is a computer graphic, and it is one of several modes that an online artist can use to help them to create an image. These can then be uploaded to different databases for other artist to see, download for use and / or to manipulate the graphic.
Vector formats have to be converted to raster formats before they can be full displayed and / or printed. But the easiest way to make a vector image includes:1. Open the Adobe Illustrator, this the professional image creation program that is easiest to use for vector creations.
2. Then simply switch to the ‘Tracing’
3. Add the file which is usually a JPG image that the designer wishes to convert to the artboard in use. Drag and drop the file.
4. Select the image and place in on the artboard, when you do that the Trace panel becomes active.
5. Don't forget to check the ‘Preview’box in the image ‘Trace panel’doing this also allows the designer to see the various settings, and what they can do before they are finalized and applied.
6. Then try one of the pre-sets in the image Trace panel. This is where you will see five pre-set buttons in a panel. the buttons will state – Auto color – High color – Low color – Grayscale – Black and white.
7. Now the designer can use the color slider to adjust the color complexity.
8. Expand the ‘Advanced’ section within the ‘Image Trace panel’.that will reveal and allow more detailed controls of the trace to be set.
9. Use the ‘Paths’slider, this will help to adjust how close the path will follow the pixels. If the designer wishes to move the slider to the left it will make the path looser, to the right it makes the path tighter, but a looser path will lead to much smoother edges.
10. Then the ‘Corners’ slider can be used to adjust how rounded the image corners will be.
11. Use the ‘Noise’ slider to help reduce the bleeds with the pixels. It also helps to straighten lines and smooth out any impending rough spots within the vector image.
12. Simply click Trace when satisfied with the current effects. Illustrator will then perform the tracing action.
13. Click the ‘Expand’ button, and that will convert the tracing object into a vector image path, replacing the JPG.
14. Then simply ‘Export’ the image as a vector file.
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