I’ve come across an interesting service that might be of interest to artists. Stanford University has a website up at http://vectormagic.stanford.edu/ that claims to be able to convert static images (raster pixel based) into vector based images (mathematics based, scalable) in a manner that loses very little of the original look. Why is this important? Well, to print or make merchandise out of artwork it is often important to resize the image to different sizes, which raster based images often times do very poorly–especially if an increase in size is necessary (think poster printing). A vector based image is based on a mathematical formula that can be increased or decreased and retain the exact same look and information (you are basically just adding or subtracting numbers), so you can scale a vector image to any size.
The best part of this new service is that it’s currently free. It is semi-limited right now though in that it claims to be optimized more for logos–so scaling your aunt Bertha’s birthday party photo probably won’t work well–but for most people getting their logo or other artwork into vector form for free in a high quality form is a no-brainer.
I’d be curious to hear from anyone who uses the service if it worked well for them. I’m not an artist so I can’t really judge these things. Feel free to send me an email or post on the Harknell.com forums about it.