GeekFindr: VectorMagic

There comes a time in everyone’s life where one has to shrink an image that doesn’t look very good when you’re done. Case in point, this links post I did awhile ago where I posted a line drawing of an archer. The original was sizeable so I needed to shrink it. Pushing that bad boy into Photoshop and doing an image resize gave me this less than satisfactory result:

Archer, resized in photoshop

Yeah, but undaunted I worked my awesome photoshop skillz and busted out this better, but still lame version which made it onto the post:

Traditional Asian Archery

That was the end result of a “find edges” filter – which basically turned every line into two lines, shrunk down so much it’s harder to tell, but it’s kinda lame. As these things happen, shortly after that fated day, I found this awesome site – VectorMagic.

Here’s an online app that you can upload your images to and it will do some kinda voodoo over them and turn them into vector graphics they can be nicely enlarged and shrunk without losing any detail. This is pretty amazing – obviously it will work better for some pictures than others – basically it’s good for illustrations and not photos of the jungle.

So, to try it out I loaded up that li’l archer and vectorized it, downloaded the EPS version and opened that file up in Photoshop. Now here’s the output from that shrinkage:

Vectorized by VectorMagic

Nice! The lines are real black lines now in this – a subtle but definite improvement over my last effort. And one that would work much more effectively had the end image been bigger – my solution that I used would not have worked on a final size that was bigger than the one I chose – it would be too easy to see the outlines.

I’m sure if one were actually good at Photoshop or Illustrator the same thing could have been done, but for us mere mortals, VectorMagic really helps out in a pinch. It’s a good tool to have in the ol’ GeekFindr toolbox.

UPDATE: Well, some big brains chimed in with some other things you can do directly in Photoshop. I’m limiting this to very simple actions – because, well because I’m a very simple person. So here’s the result of first changing the image from an indexed to RGB mode.

Indexed to RGB

As you can see this is much better than the first thing I tried, simply shrinking this bad boy. But, I find it’s results are not quite as good as the VectorMagic version. There’s a couple places where you can see it, I think the most obvious (not that it is that obvious) is in the wrist area of the arm pulling the arrow back, in the VectorMagic one it’s a pretty solid line, but in this one it gets a little sparse. This version does have the advantage of being a lot easier to do than the several additional steps to use VM with only a tiny nearly unnoticeable loss of quality.

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