experience with vector magic

Hi there,

this is my first post in this fantastic community. As an e-learning newbie I have a question.
Does someone use the program vector magic? http://vectormagic.com/home

It converts bitmaps into vector graphics. I tested it on their site with an high- contrast jpeg. The result was very good. But i´m not sure, if it really works with multicoloured photos.
Has someone tested it, yet?
Thank you, best regards from Berlin,

1 Reply
Kevin Thorn

Hi Mel,

I just gave Vector Magic a try with varying results. Didn't sign up or purchase other than the testing the free uploads, but maybe I can help by sharing my experiences working with vector graphics.

I use Adobe Illustrator almost daily and most commonly the Image Trace feature to convert my drawings into vector images. The way vector mapping works is an algorithm of math equations to identify where to put anchor points (bezier handles). I can't comprehend what goes on under the hood other than I "understand" how it works.

The Image Trace feature in Illustrator has a set of properties to tell how many anchors you want, how smooth the lines you want, corners, etc. It can *read* the bitmap image best when there's stark contrast between what will eventually be the vector shapes and everything else. Using VectorMagic didn't give me an option (online test) to set any properties - it just started to convert.

Hi-res photos are a different breed altogether because of the millions of pixels of different colors and shades all jammed together. It's very difficult to identify where to place an anchor point with color variants such as an image of a cloudy sky.

I tried two photos. Both hi-res. One of a female portrait business headshot photo with a textured backdrop, and the other of a coffee cup full of colorful pencils with a white background. As you can guess the portrait didn't turn out so well. The cup full of pencils turned out good enough that I would consider using that output in a project. Why the difference? There's too many colors in the portrait, soft gradients, textures, etc. - hard math. The cup of pencils had stark contrast against each other and the white background - easy math.

The only recommendation I can offer is VectorMagic appears to be a useful tool with reasonable pricing. If you really need to convert full hi-res photos to vector images, I'd save my money and invest in Adobe CC's subscription...a bit more expensive and the learning curve is higher but you'll eventually get the results you need. If you're just looking to convert a few images for a consistent style of art in your projects, then VectorMagic may offer the solution you're looking for.

Hope this helps a little.