Can anyone explain to me what vectors are?

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# Thread: Can anyone explain to me what vectors are?

1. ## Can anyone explain to me what vectors are?

I know sorta... but then again I don't. And I probably should know.

What exactly are vectors? And how/why would you use them to draw?

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3. Vectors are basically lines created by interpolating points.

So if you have 2 points, that's just a straight line - but if you add a third control point in the centre of this line, and move it around, the line will bend smoothly.

As for "how" to use them, you'd have to use a program capable of creating vector lines and shapes. Adobe Illustrator seems to be the main package for professionals, although Flash is a vector-based package, and Photoshop has vector support. Some common clipart for programs like Word is made using vectors.

As for the "why", vectors can be very powerful for illustration, design and typography. Because of their mathematical nature, they can be scaled to any size without losing any quality - they stay perfectly smooth and accurate.

If you resized a 100-pixel wide raster image (like a .JPG or .BMP) to 1000-pixels, it would get really blurry and blocky because each pixel has a value. With vectors, a 100-pixel wide image scaled to 1000-px would still be perfectly smooth. They're also often smaller file sizes than raster images.

(And vaguely relevent, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raster_graphics too)

4. vectors don't use a grid of pixels to draw an image, they use mathematically derived shapes. They can't do realistic very well, but they can scale up as much as you wan't and you'll never get jagged edges or blurring.

Photoshop is for bitmaps, Illustrator is for vectors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics

5. Oh, Puck. Can't do realistic very well? You probably haven't seen Illustrators G-Mesh utility and some of the more unkown vector artists.

http://gmesh.deviantart.com/gallery/...der=5&limit=24

6. I've never seen them before, and i must say I'm impressed. Thanks for the link.

Although I think that it would be easier to make the same illustrations with a bitmap.

7. Originally Posted by sciboy
Oh, Puck. Can't do realistic very well? You probably haven't seen Illustrators G-Mesh utility and some of the more unkown vector artists.

http://gmesh.deviantart.com/gallery/...der=5&limit=24

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, ...whoa....whoa..... whoa..... lois this is not my batman glass.

I mean, whoa whoa, is that actually vector-based art?

8. I'm not trying to put down these artists, and I'm sure there are some really talented vector artists out there making their own work; But there is a difference between making your own images and tracing over a photo or painting with vector shapes... which is what i imagine these people have done to create those illustrations (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Still very nice to look at, but i can't help thinking of 'paint by numbers' when i imagine the process used to create one of those works.

9. How does this G-Mesh work? I haven't used Illustrator for quite a few years.

0kelvin

10. Well, they all look a bit blurry and unrealistic to me. I'd still say it's really tricky to do realistic in vectors, moreso than raster images anyway.

11. Homeworld 2 had vector backgrounds of some sort. Vectors are good for precision and zoomability, sucks for texture and gritty noisy stuff. Yes, you can do it but not well.

InkScape does vectors with XML and its free. A vector polygon can look like this saved as XML:

<path d='M -6.9, -12.6 L -14.9, -1.3 L 7.1, -12.2 z '
id='face1' style='stroke:#ffffff; stroke-opacity:0.1;fill:#808080; fill-opacity:1; stroke-width:1'/>

Oh, firefox 1.5 now have (primitive) SVG render support. Sadly it just produces a pixelated image that doesn't print well (gets pixelated for screen rez).
http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/

Hmm a contest?
http://www.svglogo.com/

Last edited by Prometheus|ANJ; June 5th, 2006 at 09:20 PM.

12. Thanks for all the replies! I actually just found InkScape on my computer, someone had already downloaded it. Haven't had a chance to play with it though

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It is true that the vector graphic pics on the GMesh site look like (they are) "painting by numbers" but the point in here is: advancement.
A few years ago vector graphics were those horrible 4 colour grapchic for flash and now look at what it can be done.
Hopefully these people that did those designs coping from real picture to recreate the "vectorized bitmap" will go beyonf the boundaries of the plug-in and get wild and creative enough to give birth to what it could be the new step.

Good luck to both vector and bitmap sides!
Let's see who wins the creativity "war" ;p

Have Fun!

14. I can do art like that by importing a raster image into Flash, then using the trace bitmap function.

here's the original

here's the vectored image (now rasterized) from Flash. I used the trace bitmap function with the following settings. Color Threshold = 25, minimum area = 5 pixels, curve fit = very smooth, corner threshold = many corners.

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