A short tuto­r­ial refer­ring to some illus­tra­tions i did for the LAFKON Vek­torDB. I was search­ing for a dif­fer­ent way to vec­tor­ize pix­el­graphic. As clas­si­cal print­ing processes are nor­mally two-colored (one-color+paper) I tried a way to do shad­ing with one color as you do on e.g. wood­cuts. Gif-Images were a oppor­tu­nity to auto­mat­i­cally reduc­ing col­ors while pro­duc­ing a spe­cial aes­thetic, so I started to exper­i­ment with the pat­tern­ing dur­ing gif exporting.

On Fri­day, 20th June 2003, the death knell sounds for US patent num­ber 4,558,302. Hav­ing ben­e­fit­ted its owner, the Unisys Cor­po­ra­tion for 20 years, the con­tents of the patent are entered into the Pub­lic Domain and may be used absolutely freely by any­one. Offi­cially titled “High speed data com­pres­sion and decom­pres­sion appa­ra­tus and method”, it is more com­monly known as the LZW patent or Unisys’s GIF tax.

Find your­self an image you would like to use

After you’ve found the one you love, edit it in your favourite pixel-editor e.g. photoshop

After that you have to save it as a gif-image. Here it’s done with photoshop’s save for web util­ity, but you can basi­cally use any pro­gram and each will pro­duce a dif­fer­ent result.

You can change the pat­tern of the exported gif by play­ing around with the parameters

To get the image stripped your layer has to have an opac­ity of 50% and the gif-export-configuration ought to be some­thing like this »»»»»»»>

After play­ing around you get a pat­tern that pleases you and now you have to vec­tor­ize the bitmap

To con­vert the image to a vec­tor graphic you have to trace the bitmap

That’s kind of the most impor­tant point. you have to con­vert the bitmap EXACT PIXEL FOR PIXEL