Vector based image in Photoshop

jmt356
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Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

I just spent 1.5 hours taking an image that was coming out pixelated when copied into a document and written to PDF and making it into a vector-based image using the Photoshop (PS) pen and paths tools thinking that once vector based, it wouldn't become pixelated when written to pdf, but it does pixelate. It's not quite as bad as the bitmap image, but the pixelation does appear, not only after it is written to pdf, but even when I am in PS itself and zoom in. I thought vector based images use mathematical formulae that don't show the pixelation even when you zoom in. Why is pixelation showing up? Is it because the PS paths are in a PNG file? I need it that way because I need an image that can be saved with a clear background and that can be copied into Word documents.
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

Adobe PhotoShop is a pixel-based program, unlike Adobe Illustrator which is a vector-based program. You may work with vector-based shapes while an image is open, but you save a pixel-based image...
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jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

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But even in the PSD file, before I saved it to PNG format, I was seeing the pixelation. And I wasn't using paint brush or some other bitmap tool; I was using pen within paths and this is vector-based. Furthermore, I worked on another image a few months ago with pen and paths in PS and I must say I can hardly see the pixels even after I saved it to JPG so what did I do differently???
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

I'm not a PhotoShop expert, hopefully someone else will have an explanation for you.
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Doc Watson
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by Doc Watson »

Two different points of view....

You can trace over images in photoshop, save the paths, and export THOSE to illustrator and then you can do whatever you need to with them, and THEN they would be Vector.

or.....

First of all, photoshop not making VECTORS are not true. True vectors are supposed to enlarge any size, and still not change any shape or form. They should not pixelize. So some people say that photoshop is a raster program, therefore the images that it makes (like vectoring in photoshop) makes it not a true vector, because it supposedly pixelizes. That, however, is invalid. I will explain why in better form from another site later.

Second of all, photoshop is still a raster program, no matter if it creates vectors or vexels. So if you enlarge something...ALL the pictures would come out pixelated, not just the vectors. If you go to Photoshop, Edit>Image Size, and instead of PIXELS, you change the percentage to let's say...800, then the results would be a larger image of a vector that is NOT pixelated.

In fact, go to Illustrator, zoom in the vector you did in PHOTOSHOP, and you will not see something pixelated.

Even in photoshop, if you save the file as .EPS, you will have an option as "Include Vector Data." If you cannot vector in photoshop, then why does it have that? It's as simple as it can be. You can vector in PS.

In a simple form, vectors are graphics that operate by mathematical equations. That is the technical definition of a vector. I am using a raster program (Photoshop), which is a program that does not use mathematical formulas to calculate an image, but rather just fills pixel data by implementation of the user (i.e. a picture). Now, since I am using a raster program, this must mean that I am not creating a vector, right? This is incorrect. Adobe Photoshop has the basic formulas to create vector paths. (That's why they are resizable to any percentage.) One also will note that fonts in many programs use point based formulas to calculate size. However, these are vector formulas, but Photoshop can not read a complex vector formula, thus vectors imported from the .AI file type must be rasterized.

Video here... http://lucky13.deviantart.com/art/Vecto ... fullview=1
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jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

If I create the image in AI or in PS as vector-based and export it to AI format and save the file as AI vector-based file, can I keep the background transparent? If I copy the image into a Word document, will it become pixelated? What if I then write the Word document to pdf using Bluebeam? Will it then become pixelated?
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JMT

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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

I don't know the answer to any of these questions. It seems best to experiment and to check the results. If you share the outcome here, others may profit from it.
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jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

Doc Watson:
You said: "photoshop is still a raster program, no matter if it creates vectors or vexels." I am not sure if this is true. If Photoshop creates vectors, it is not acting as a raster program but as a vector program that recognizes mathematical formulas rather than pixels to record how an image should appear.
You also said, "if you enlarge something...ALL the pictures would come out pixelated, not just the vectors." But this should not be the case for an image if it is genuinely working with vectors. If an image (or a layer of an image) is using vectors, then it should not pixelate no matter how close you zoom in. This should be the case for Photoshop pen tool, which is vector-based.
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JMT

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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

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I tried answering the questions in my 10 Aug 2011 email, but I encountered the following issue: I tried installing Adobe Illustrator on my computer but my version, Adobe Illustrator 8, is not compatible with Windows 7 64-bit. So I couldn't get Adobe Illustrator on my document to test the exported Photoshop files.

So I tried playing around with Photoshop alone and here is what I discovered:
- When I try working with the pen tool to create Paths and then stroke those paths with the paintbrush tool, I get clean, crisp lines, not like when I am manually with paintbrush, airbrush, etc., which comes out more rugged/pixelated looking. HOwever, when I zoom in to 1800, I do begin to pixelation in even these vector-based paths. Don't get me wrong, the blend from the path to the transparent background looks like it has mathematical precision, and the way the checkered patterns blends to transparent is consistent all the way up through the edge of the line, something I don't think I could achieve manually with all the patience in the world. Still, though, it doesn't have the same unpixelated, clean edge that you find for example in a font that is blown up to 1600 pt in Word and then zoomed in at 500%: no matter how close you zoom in, the edge of the font is a clean line.

The fact that I am having this issue with Photoshop even though I am using a supposed "vector" tool could be due to 2 possible factors:
1. I am using a very old version of Photoshop (6.0, 11 years old), which may not be able to process or correctly display vector properties like the newer versions of Photoshop can [as a side note, the current version of Photoshop, CS5 Extended (12.0), is $999, and Adobe doesn't give me a discount for having an older version because you can only upgrade from one of the CS versions, and my version is so old I have to buy it new. I think $999 is way too much to spend on a new program. My laptop didn't even cost that much. And the only good deals on Amazon are for upgrades from CS4, CS5 for Mac, or Student & Teacher Editions); or
2. I am saving the file as a pixel-based file (in one version, as PSD and in another, as a PNG) and this causes the strict vector quality to be lost. I will try to save the file as .EPS (the one vector-based file that I believe Photoshop has) and report the results.
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JMT

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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

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Even when saved as a Photoshop EPS (supposedly vector-based) as TIFF 1 bit/pixel with binary encoding (I'm not sure what these two settings mean, but they were defaults when saving to Photoship EPS), my image was pixelated. I was trying to upload the EPS, but this lounge won't allow it, so I instead converted the file to jpg and then uploaded it. I think the jpg is more pixelated than the EPS was, but it still has a high-quality, good pixelation, with mathematical precision and consistency. But I can't figure out how to get a purely clean edge when zooming in.
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JMT

jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

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If you save the image I just attached with the last post as a jpg to your desktop and open it and zoom in you can see the pixlation. But interestingly, when you copy that image into a Word file, the edge doesn't appear pixelated, it just kind of blends out into the background, but if you then print it to pdf in BB, the pixelation comes back.

Maybe I have to upgrade Photoshop or buy Illustrator.
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

Apparently Word applies smoothing when displaying an image, but this does not get applied when the document is printed to a PDF file. My image viewer (FastStone MaxView) shows something similar.

With your picture enlarged to 1000%, there is considerable pixelation:
x775.png
But with the "Smooth" option turned on, the difference is considerable (that the outlines are a bit blurred is understandable at 1000%):
x776.png
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jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

That's a neat program Hans. Would you mind trying a little experiement for me? Copy an image with the Smooth option turned on in FastStone MaxView and then copy it into Word and then write it to PDF. Does the pixelation come back?
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

It's merely a way of displaying the image. The image itself isn't altered - it's still pixelated.
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jmt356
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

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So it only anti-aliases the appearance of the image on screen; when printed to pdf or to paper it's still aliased?
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

I'll perform some tests later today (I'm on a different computer at the moment).
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

Thanks Hans. I suspect though that this program is like Word; the image is anti-aliased when displayed on screen, but not when printed.
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JMT

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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by jmt356 »

I discovered how to copy an image with a transparent background into Word and then print it to pdf without pixelation appearing. I report my results below using Bluebeam and Bullzip pdf writers. This is very useful if you want to use a digital signature that can be copied into Word documents or into other files that has a transparent background so that it looks like a genuine signature with background text coming through, but you don't want it to pixelate if you want to write it to pdf:

- Copy a jpg: the image always comes out relatively good, with minor pixelation if zoomed in. However, the background is opaque and you cannot see the background text/information.
- Copy a png: you can set these to have transparent backgrounds. The image is crisp because of Word's anti-aliasing, but when you write it to pdf, the pixelation is terrible. This is true for both Bluebeam and Bullzip when writing to pdf.
- Copy a Photoship EPS. The EPS extension is Photoshop's pure vector-file. This looks crisp and anti-aliased in Word AS WELL AS IN THE PDF. Although the image in the pdf is anti-aliased, you do see some pixelation at the higher zoom. However, when displayed at normal zoom, it is clean and crisp. I noted a problem when writing to pdf using Bluebeam, though. The background became gray. This is solved however when choosing Color Management and Interpolation when saving the file to EPS format in Photoshop. Otherwise, it doesn't really matter when you choose these options or choose Binary or ASCII or select any of the other options when saving the file to EPS in Photoshop.
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JMT

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HansV
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Re: Vector based image in Photoshop

Post by HansV »

For what it's worth, MaxView really smooths a picture while enlarging it. If you then save as .pdf, it's still smooth.
Enlarged5x.pdf
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