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Nov 19 2007   4:02PM GMT

Vector Magic: A great webapp for precision bitmap to vector art conversion

GuyPardon Guy Pardon Profile: GuyPardon

Are you thinking ahead to making gifts for the holidays? I certainly am; once the Thanksgiving holiday is on the immediate horizon, my internal clock starts ringing madly. Less than a month until the gift exchanges begin?!


Fortunately, a friendly colleague forwarded me a rather useful tool: Vector Magic. If you, like me, love to make your own gifts, including digital imagery, this tool will excite you as well.

Here’s a quick and clean summary. Vector Magic converts bit map images to vector graphics.

Why is this cool? Because a bit map uses a fixed or raster graphics method of specifying an image, the image cannot be immediately rescaled by a user without losing definition. A vector graphics graphic image, however, is designed to be quickly rescaled.

Instead of using commercial software, you can just upload your image to Vector Magic (essentially, a stanford.edu server) and they’ll vectorize it for you.

Here’s their example of the difference:

bitmap to vector conversion

In other words, you can scale an image without making it blurry or pixelated. Savvy? Happy gift making!

Here’s a video that demonstrates how you how Vector Magic works:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://vectormagic.stanford.edu/screencasts/vm_short.swf" width="450" height="380"/]

Check out this FAQ for more info. Vector Magic supports the JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF image formats as inputs and outputs them as EPS, SVG or PNGs.

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