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Friday, October 9, 2009

Painting, Vector Graphics, and You

original painting by me and yes - it doesn't have a frame, 
i just hold it up like that all the time like that for all to admire

Most of us that have or have had a significant other at some point in their lives have been tasked with preparing gifts for them.

For Gus, or BBE as he told me he'd like to be called in this blog (Best Boyfriend Ever, obvs), I have come up with a lot of interesting stuff over the three years and change we've been together.

For one such occasion, Valentine's Day, I decided I would paint him a picture. My art skills are somewhat decent, but I was definitely in need of an easy, relatively quick way to create the painting. Then I heard of something called a vector graphic and- ah ha!

My problems were (mostly) solved.

So what's a vector graphic or image? Check this out from our new favorite site - Vector Magic at Sanford University.

Vector images are images described by shapes such as circles and squares, as opposed to bitmap images which are described by pixels - squares of color arranged in a grid. The shapes are precise mathematical descriptions of the image and can be scaled without becoming blurry or "pixelated" (that blocky look that bitmap/raster images so often get when scaled up). In other words, it smooths out any pictures so I can easily identify the shapes and paint them! Woo, yay vectors.

Here's what "vectorizing" does -



From there, I printed the image to the size I wanted it as a painting.

I took that print out and an artist's canvas and sandwiched a piece of carbon paper inbetween (black carbon side touching the canvas, see image). From there, I outlined every line and shape, pressing down hard with a pen. The outline transferred (via the carbon paper) directly onto the canvas, leaving me with an artsy image to start painting with! To complete the painting, I used a small kit of acrylic paints.

This isn't the only use for Vectorizing images. Have some fun with it at VectorMagic - you have to sign up for an account but you get two conversions for free!

Interested in more fun things to do with photos? Check out Photojojo, where I originally learned about VectorMagic.

Carbon paper photo from Wikipedia Commons.


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