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View Full Version : How to Explain the Difference of Raster and Vector




kitki83
Feb 13, 2007, 04:16 PM
At work I am having constant problems with people thinking they can convert JPG into EPS. My company is so bad in distributing the latest talent artwork and logo. Even logos are JPGs that I have to upscale sometimes and do some tweaking. I just need help because more and more people think JPG can be made on my end to EPS quality. Basically they think I am capable of doing a raster image to Vector easily and no problem. They think or give me that face of incompetence that I dont want to or doesnt know how to. I always tell them if you grab the build of a car like the pinto and put the body of a mercedes is it true mercedes, no because when someone starts looking close to it they will see the flaws of it another is a copy machine, make a copy of something is near identical but a copy of a copy and so on it wont be true to the original nor would it be able to recopy it to be identical to the original. (Best analogies I can think to explain this). I just need to explain this to my bosses and coworker because its starting to appear that I am being a lazy designer.


Anyone got some way of explaining this to non creative people who thinks design is useless or not that important with out making it a design class?

Thank You



stoid
Feb 13, 2007, 04:24 PM
Put a big sign on the door to your office or entrance to your cubicle that looks like this (substitute your company logo for the Apple). That should explain the difference is 'plain English'.

panoz7
Feb 13, 2007, 04:27 PM
Put a big sign on the door to your office or entrance to your cubicle that looks like this (substitute your company logo for the Apple). That should explain the difference is 'plain English'.

That won't help them understand that you can't magically convert the one on the right to the one on the left. I've dealt with clients who understood that .jpg was limited and that vector was better for logos. What they didn't seem to understand is that you can't just turn a jpg into a vector with a few clicks.

stoid
Feb 13, 2007, 04:30 PM
That won't help them understand that you can't magically convert the one on the right to the one on the left. I've dealt with clients who understood that .jpg was limited and that vector was better for logos. What they didn't seem to understand is that you can't just turn a jpg into a vector with a few clicks.

Then put a greater than sign between it, so it looks like eps > jpeg. If that doesn't work, at least having a large visual aid will help you explain, and will hopefully stick in their mind even if they can't remember your exact wording when you explained it to them.

Blue Velvet
Feb 13, 2007, 04:33 PM
I usually tell people that vectors are like string art or cat's cradles and that raster artwork is like a mosaic; coloured squares... seems to get the point across to most people without getting bogged down.

kitki83
Feb 13, 2007, 05:13 PM
I usually tell people that vectors are like string art or cat's cradles and that raster artwork is like a mosaic; coloured squares... seems to get the point across to most people without getting bogged down.


=0 these are art illeterate people, they dont even know Carravaggio, the horror.

jbryan
Feb 13, 2007, 05:48 PM
Just tell them raster doesn't scale without some loss in quality, while vector can scale to any size. That's what I do and it seems to work.

LethalWolfe
Feb 13, 2007, 06:06 PM
What about using stoid's idea, but using a big and small EPS and a big and small JPG (one at 100% and one at 500% or something). I think that would help get across that you can't enlarge a JPG w/o it crapping out on you.


Lethal

elppa
Feb 13, 2007, 06:24 PM
Just tell them raster doesn't scale without some loss in quality, while vector can scale to any size. That's what I do and it seems to work.

That's a great explanation. Simple and to the point.

TheAnswer
Feb 13, 2007, 07:40 PM
Use stoid's and LethalWolfe's ideas plus...add two arrows (one pointing from eps to jpeg and the other from jpeg to eps but with a huge red X across it). That should help get the point across.

kitki83
Feb 13, 2007, 07:45 PM
THanks Guys Iama work this out with my company logo and create a tutorial/guide deal for our next department meeting. I had a 20 minute meeting explaining someone this problem.


appreciate the help guys.

Eric5h5
Feb 13, 2007, 07:47 PM
The next step is trying to get people to understand that you use JPEGs for photos on web sites, and pretty much nothing else. Certainly not logos....

--Eric

elppa
Feb 13, 2007, 08:19 PM
The next step is trying to get people to understand that you use JPEGs for photos on web sites, and pretty much nothing else. Certainly not logos....

--Eric

Surely that depends? I mean what if the logo is on a background with a gradient, gradients don't show up to well using the GIF format because you don't get the range of colours?

Or am I just plain wrong?

ChicoWeb
Feb 13, 2007, 08:21 PM
I have the same issues all the time.

I say, well you can't embroider a nice polo with a picture can you? Use examples like the big guys, Sprint, FedEx, etc..they don't have pictures. Also, an example I use a lot is billboards. If you take this crappy 60k image an make it into a billboard, well it's not going to work to well. Then I tell them, haven't you even tried to make a pictuer larger by dragging in "Word". Unfortunatly, thats when they get it.

zelmo
Feb 13, 2007, 08:28 PM
I don't see the problem:confused: ...just increase the resolution in Photoshop and it's all good.;)

jsw
Feb 13, 2007, 08:28 PM
Build a car out of LEGO blocks. Write JPEG on it.

Get a similarly sized, decent quality model car. Write EPS on it.

Bring them into work.

Point out that the closer you get to the LEGO car, the blockier and less car-like it looks.

Point out that this is not the case with the model car.

Then give them the LEGO car to play with, as that seems to suit their mentality better.

dogbone
Feb 13, 2007, 09:10 PM
Anyone got some way of explaining this to non creative people ...


I explain it this way: saying that a curved line for example is described by a jpeg by actually drawing the line, but as a vector it is described as a mathematical formula. Most people seem to understand this.

The physically drawn line is only sharp at the size (or smaller) that it was drawn but the mathematically described line can be described at any size.

Further I would explain to them that you can take a jpeg graphic and *redraw* it as a Vector but, depending on the graphic, this can be time consuming and expensive.

Eric5h5
Feb 14, 2007, 12:19 AM
Surely that depends? I mean what if the logo is on a background with a gradient, gradients don't show up to well using the GIF format because you don't get the range of colours?

Or am I just plain wrong?

I don't see any reason to use GIF at all. ;) (Although at least the patent expired, I think, so that nonsense is over with.) PNG or TIFF would probably be better depending on whether you're talking about web or print. JPEG uses lossy compression that introduces visual artifacts that are usually quite noticeable with anything other than photos. Anything with hard edges is not good, and especially anything incorporating text is hopeless with JPEG.

--Eric

Poeben
Feb 14, 2007, 12:37 AM
I'll add mine to the previous good ideas. You'll need a rubber band, and two different size square objects (gum, mints etc.):

Ask your boss to arrange the blocks into a triangle or other simple shape
While he does that take a rubber band and expand your triangle to 500%
Ask your boss to do the same with the larger blocks

ATD
Feb 14, 2007, 12:50 AM
I like stoids picture, I added to it. I can get people to understand that an eps is needed for logos, what I can't get them to understand is an jpeg made into/saved as an eps is no better than a jpeg. It's like trying un-spill a glass of milk.

Yes, I know there is no such thing as an jpeg eps, maybe it should be called a jpeg made into an eps.

apfhex
Feb 14, 2007, 02:35 AM
What needs to be added to that is to go beyond saying "JPEG" and "EPS". You need to say "Raster" and "Vector" as well, since there are multiple file formats for each.

Mac Kiwi
Feb 14, 2007, 03:40 AM
Animate some quick examples which show them exactly why its not so easy.

iMeowbot
Feb 14, 2007, 04:26 AM
What they didn't seem to understand is that you can't just turn a jpg into a vector with a few clicks.
Well of course you can do that, and maybe doing it would help to demonstrate the problem. Show them the horrors of autotracing, so they can see just how sorry the state of the art is most of the time!

pashazade
Feb 14, 2007, 05:23 AM
I had a similar but different issue. I'm a tech person and my problem was with our in house designers.

We needed SVG images for icons on a phone. These would then be rasterised on the fly depending upon the screen size of the device. Not perfect but it worked.

We had problems with some icons causing problems, on looking in detail we found that the the problem icons had really large file sizes, ie about 480k instead of about 20-30k. Looking at the SVG XML we saw this:

<svg>
....
lots and lots of binary date
....
</svg>

Basically if they didn't have an .ai version of the icon they had just dragged a TIFF into Illustrator and exported it as an SVG! We never managed to persuade them this wouldn't work and had to get the icons built elsewhere!

MarksEvilTwin
Feb 14, 2007, 11:04 AM
Removed

kitki83
Feb 14, 2007, 11:38 AM
Thank you everyone for giving me tips and what not, now to print all this out and start working on this since I have to teach about 30 people. I need to be ready for this since they whip me out questions like, "Well cant you make it high res EPS?" "I thought as a designer you can make low res images into High res?" Alot of ignorant comments and the lack of understanding my job role.

MacBoy69
Mar 2, 2008, 11:42 PM
THIS IS PERFECT ... THANKS Mark. :D

The best explanation I have found to work on non-artistic types is with graph paper:

First put a point at the center to mark the vertex, then draw four equidistant points, like at 5,0; 0,5; -5,0; and 0,-5. Take a compass and draw the circle connecting those points. Tell them, "this is vector."

Then, try and create a circle by filling in squares with a pen or pencil, but only color in whole squares, so that you get jagged edges. Say, "this is bitmap." With bitmap, you are limited by squares. You'll never get a perfect curve, and if you try and enlarge this, you'll just enlarge the squares you already have. You can't make new, sharper squares when the only information you have is what is given at the current scale.

Mark

mperkins37
Mar 3, 2008, 09:58 AM
As a designer for many shops, the duty is usually take what the client sends & make it into something you can use. Most clients send what they have, and many times it's from their web site.
Like it or not, "Educating co-workers, especially Salespeople, wont do anything but waste your time & frustrate you as they will still take whatever the client sends anyway.
Designers jobs are usually to take whatever has been sent & "make it work"
I.E. Take the raster 72dpi, 1"x 2" "Logo" and trace it. That's Your Job sometimes, get used to it.
Having a meeting with them will help them understand that they must account & charge more if it's to be traced, but I doubt it will have the desired effect of having the Sales staff press the offenders for finished Vector art on their end.
The sales staff will likely just tell them they prefer Vector, and try to remember why, all while accepting whatever the client has handy, (see raster 72dpi, 1"x 2" "Logo").
Good luck, but don't expect much to actually change, and get used to tracing bad logos, as that's part of any designers job in the corporate, production world.

nfocus design
Mar 3, 2008, 11:32 AM
I love when people import a jpg into Illustrator, save as an ai file and swear to you that it is vector. Or even better, they just change the extension. Like that will magically convert it to a native ai file.

Amazing how many companies only have their logo in jpg or gif format. Redrawing logos is how I have earned extra money and became very good with the pen tool.

If it's a well known company, many logos can be found in vector format at http://brandsoftheworld.com

tsd
Mar 5, 2008, 11:00 PM
Okay, you take a fuzzy picture of a leopard, and label it "High-Res jpg". Then, you type under that, "Call it what you want, but it can't change it's spots."

Sweet.

Then, you can have a clear graphic of a mobius strip or an infinity symbol, and label it "No-Res eps".

What do you think?

7on
Mar 6, 2008, 11:09 AM
I just say "I'll have to redraw it" instead of "Let me convert it to EPS"

Which is true, I try to stick to non-digital words as much as possible. If people imagine you with a pencil drawing something then it reads different than pressing a jpeg to eps button :p

notjustjay
Mar 6, 2008, 01:05 PM
"Well cant you make it high res EPS?" "I thought as a designer you can make low res images into High res?" Alot of ignorant comments and the lack of understanding my job role.

Which you can do, by retracing, generating curves, etc. It's just not a magic one step process. Hours of work.

I think of it like a recipe. If I give you a recipe that yields a dozen chocolate chip cookies, and ask you to scale up into a recipe for 4 dozen cookies, that's easy. If I give you a recipe and ask you to convert it into actual cookies, that's easy too. But you can't take a dozen cookies and convert them into 4 dozen cookies (not without making a mess, anyway) and I can't give you a dozen cookies and ask you to convert them into a cookie recipe.

heehee
Mar 6, 2008, 01:18 PM
Well, tracing the logo is usually the "easy" part, but it's when you dont have their font and they say can't you just draw it? :eek::rolleyes:

kitki83
Mar 6, 2008, 02:50 PM
Well not everyone has the time to redraw the logo, I had redrawn the logo but when you are crunch in time. Either way its part of the package of design. And my favorite vectorizing website is down that hard.

anyway posted my situation in this website its good therapy for those days

www.clientcopia.com

dopey220
Mar 9, 2008, 12:38 AM
The best explanation I have found to work on non-artistic types is with graph paper:

First put a point at the center to mark the vertex, then draw four equidistant points, like at 5,0; 0,5; -5,0; and 0,-5. Take a compass and draw the circle connecting those points. Tell them, "this is vector."

Then, try and create a circle by filling in squares with a pen or pencil, but only color in whole squares, so that you get jagged edges. Say, "this is bitmap." With bitmap, you are limited by squares. You'll never get a perfect curve, and if you try and enlarge this, you'll just enlarge the squares you already have. You can't make new, sharper squares when the only information you have is what is given at the current scale.

Mark

Win. Perfect explanation.

EDIT: I do freelance work for a company in my area that makes medical cabinetry. It's funny that this came up, because my latest project is to add some text to a logo for one of their product lines. I got the file I need to modify in my email today. It's an EPS. So far, so good. I open it in Illustrator, and I find that the logo they sent me is a raster graphic placed in an EPS file. Luckily, it's a very simplistic logo, so it won't be too hard just to trace over it. I hope it doesn't happen again, though.

chrono1081
Mar 9, 2008, 04:38 AM
Id send out an all hands on deck email explaining it to people. (I have to do this often because when our buildings power goes out people come crying to my office that their computer or printer wont turn on. Yes, people are THAT stupid).

kylos
Mar 9, 2008, 11:56 PM
I haven't used it extensively, but http://vectormagic.com/ has done a good job on the tasks I've had. Unfortunately, it seems you have to pay for their services now. I guess they realized they have a good thing.

KeithPratt
Mar 10, 2008, 07:38 PM
Win. Perfect explanation.

EDIT: I do freelance work for a company in my area that makes medical cabinetry. It's funny that this came up, because my latest project is to add some text to a logo for one of their product lines. I got the file I need to modify in my email today. It's an EPS. So far, so good. I open it in Illustrator, and I find that the logo they sent me is a raster graphic placed in an EPS file. Luckily, it's a very simplistic logo, so it won't be too hard just to trace over it. I hope it doesn't happen again, though.

It is a very good explanation, but perhaps these non-design-minded people are non-mathematically-minded too... If that's the case it's probably better to go down the lines of the example stoid gave and LethalWolfe expanded on.

But I'd go a step further...

Take a photo and then hand-trace a version of it in Illustrator. Show your clients these two images at e.g. 100% and 500%. They may prefer the photo at 100% as the vector looks like it's just had a 'Posterize' filter added to it. At 500% they'll see the blockiness of the photo and the sharpness of the vector, and hopefully appreciate the fundamental difference (in practical application terms) of the two formats.

Make it clear the photo is a 'raster' image and the Illustrator one is a 'vector'. Make it clear JPG is raster-only and EPS is vector-only. Tell them that you took a JPG/raster photo and then hand-traced it to make the EPS/vector and that that's what you'll have to do if they want a large, high-quality EPS but give you a small low-quality JPG.

Using everyday things they're familiar with rather than trying to be too technical is akin to how you'd teach a child something, but it would work to your purpose.

freeny
Mar 11, 2008, 09:09 AM
You can do what I did and spend a little time creating a style guide that explains it all. The difference between vector and bitmaps, the processes and limitations on conversions etc.

Of course some people still dont get it and they will always be lost. So after the second or third time I just tell them NO ;)

I constantly had a bunch of marketing people at a "large sports network" that would come to me over and over again with jpgs and ask me if i could give them a higher resolution back...