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Posts Tagged ‘Adobe’

The Graphic Details: Resources and Freebies and Tutorials, oh my…

March 11th, 2009

Since I joined Twitter a couple of months ago, I’ve learned about countless sites out there that offer all sorts of graphics tutorials, tips, resources, downloadables… So much helpful, creative, inspiring stuff out there. Below are just a few of the design- and freelance-related links that I’ve collected from the tweety banter. ENJOY!




Great resources


FREE design stuff!




Small Business + Blogging (design-related)


Geeky + fun


I’ve been astounded by just how much talent is to be found online, and coupled with generosity in many many cases. Schmanks for sharing, folks

[Since I've learned about all these resources, I've become reluctant to continue adding my own low-tech tutorials here... Not that I thought that I was the first to come up with blog lessons or anything, but there's just SO much amazing stuff already out there that I'm less motivated to add to it. So these Graphic Details posts will be sparse, methinks!]

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The Graphic Details — raster vs. vector images (Basic)

January 9th, 2009

As a freelance designer, I often get asked job-related questions… I thought it might be helpful to tackle some of these questions here. So without further ado, welcome to the first instalment of The Graphic Details!

One of the most basic things to know about computer graphics comes up when people ask me about logos: the question of raster vs. vector.

In nutshells:
1) RASTER (aka BITMAP) images:

  • … are built pixel by pixel.
  • … have resolution (72 dots per inch is web resolution, whereas 300 dots per inch is print-ready).
  • All digital photos and static graphics on the web are raster-based.
  • Examples of file formats that are raster-based are: JPG, GIF, TIF, and BMP.
  • Photo-editing software, such as Photoshop, are used for creating and manipulating these types of files.

Here is a (raster-based) photo I took in Nova Scotia last summer — at 100% on the left, then zoomed in at 1200% on the right. The image is obviously very pixelated and grainy when I magnify in:

2) VECTOR images:

  • … are built with paths.
  • … do not have a resolution associated to them because the files are built on mathematical formulae (don’t worry — you don’t have to do the computing; it’s all done by the software while you use the drawing tools), so they’re clear regardless of size
  • Ideally, logos SHOULD be built as vector graphics so that they can be printed at the highest possible quality.
  • Examples of file formats that are vector-based are: EPS and AI.
  • Illustration software, such as Illustrator, are used for creating and manipulating these types of files.

Here is a (vector-based) logo I created for my buddy Bob Ledrew (who, with his lovely partner-in-crime Cat, hold house concerts in their abode) — at 100% on the left, then zoomed in at 1200% on the right. Even this close up, the logo remains crisp and clear; the fine blue lines and dots that you see are the program’s selection points and and paths.

Ok, so who cares?
Well, say you’re working on a printed brochure at work, and you need to include a bunch of company logos. Easy enough, right? You go to each company’s website, right-click the logo, and download the graphics to pass over to whomever happens to be doing the layout. Sorry… no cigar. If you print web graphics, they will be grainy.

What you need to do is contact each company’s communications department and ask for a vector-based version of their logo. Hopefully they have an EPS or AI on hand… which will print out clear as a bell.

And heaven help us….

What happens if you open a vector file in a photo-editing software, or if you open a raster file in an illustration program???

1) If you open a vector file in Photoshop, the program will ask you what resolution you want to open it at. The file is AUTOMATICALLY rasterized once it’s parsed/opened. Even if you save it again as an EPS from there, all vector information is lost. [WHY then, would it be possible to save an EPS in Photoshop? Among other things, EPS files saved from Photoshop can contain info like mono/duotone colour schemes or clipping paths... which other formats can’t do.]

2) If you open a raster file in Illustrator, it’s still rasterized. There are ways to vectorize the graphic — such as with “live-trace” in Illustrator CS3. The image, however, will look different than the original raster version did.

This is what the ladybug shot looked like when I did a live trace on it:

This is what it looks like when all the vector elements are selected — again, the fine blue lines and dots are the outlines and nodes of the objects:
And finally…
For the inquisitive folk who wondered in the first paragraph when I said “The vast majority of computer graphic files… are either one of the other…”: Which files are the exceptions? There ARE a few file types that can contain both raster and vector elements:
- PDFs can contain both
- Anything created in an illustration or layout program can contain both
- Photoshop’s text is in vector, even though all other elements in the program are rasterized; but these are only maintained if the file is saved as a native PSD or a layered TIF

*** NB: I plan on posting my ramblings about graphics and entrepreneurship from time to time, but this’ll just be me geeking about stuff I work with day to day — and hopefully in a helpful, not-too-technical way; in NO way do I profess to be a certified graphics instructor. I use the Adobe line of products (plus Corel Painter, which rocks) on a Mac platform, so those will be what I’ll tend to talk about.

Please feel free to leave a comment if:

  • I ever miss something,
  • I am unclear about anything,
  • my posts are helpful or not, AND/OR
  • there’s a topic you want to know about.


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