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January 13, 2005 / TildeWill

Trace Bitmap!

Yesterday in preparing for the production of the RCF Banner I learned something and thought I would share. You see, in my work with t-shirt companies and now with Kinko’s for this banner, it seems they always want stuff in a vectorized format, specifically PDF or EPS. Ok, everyone has the ability to make PDF’s right? Eh, sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are converters and exporters galore out there, but not many of them export in a vector format.

Aside: Vector, as opposed to raster, allows an image to be scaled as big or as small as the user desires without loss of quality. The downside is that it takes some doing to use more than a handful of colors. You would not want to use a vector format for a photograph, though Jacqui has done some amazing work with vector graphics. Don’t get me wrong, you can sill have millions of colors in a vector graphic file. The difference between the two types is like saying “pixel 1 is blue, pixel 2 is blue, …, pixel 200 is blue” vs. “blue line, start 1, end 200”. If you don’t have Jacqui’s 1337 5k1llz you can always TRACE BITMAP to convert a photo to a vector format, but it makes a huge file. Anyway for a vector graphic, few colors plus easy saleability = prerfect for print.

So I have the RCF logo in Fireworks and I created it with the vector tools there because I knew I’d be using it for print all over the place. Well it seems Fireworks (mainly a raster image program) does not have the means to export to a PDF or EPS. So after a big fiasco and Clint trying to help I opened up Macromedia Free Hand and lo and behold it has an export to PDF dealie. But importing from Fireworks into Free Hand still produced a raster PDF, no good. I had to copy and paste the vector objects from Fireworks into Free Hand and THEN it finally gave me the scalable PDF I needed.

If I had $1 mil just laying around I could invest in Adobe Illustrator which would do the trick but since the Macromedia suite is installed on my computer I figure I may as well learn how to use it.

So there you have it. If you need a PDF from a PNG copy paste to Free Hand. Better still, just draw in Free Hand to start with.

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