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Future-Proof Your Artwork: Vector Redrawing Service

08-17-2010, 09:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Future-Proof Your Artwork: Vector Redrawing Service

Hello everyone,

Does anyone here need their artwork redrawn as vectors?

I've recently set up a website offering a vector drawing service, where I redraw existing raster artwork and logos (jpgs, tiffs, photoshop files, etc.) as vector files (pdf, eps, svg, etc.). I've always wanted to have a hand in developing something for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and I know a lot of developers are interested in vector graphics, so I figured this would be a good place to look. Also, vector graphics are a good way to "future-proof" your artwork against the ever-increasing pixel density of Apple's iDevices. The vectors can always be rasterized to a set resolution if you need pngs or jpgs, and then re-rasterized at a higher resolution down the road, if need be. This means the artwork only needs to be created once and it's good for any size.

The website is www.vectify.com and the rate is $22.50/half hour of artwork time (I bill in 30 minute increments). There's a form right on the page that you can fill out to get a quote.

This is something I'm doing as a supplement to my regular 9-5 job just to earn some extra income. I've been working as the head of production art at a t-shirt screenprinting company for the past nine years, in which time I've redrawn over 2000 pieces of artwork as vectors (yes, 2000 over nine years), so I've got plenty of experience.

Hope to hear from some of you soon, and if you have any questions just ask in this thread.


08-19-2010, 09:58 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 81
hmm so you copy/trace/redraw to vector paths, well adobe illustrators live trace does the same thing for free. anyone can use it easily in seconds.

sounds to me like most of the time you will just scann an livetrace ppls drawings then charge them for it. if you can draw you can have vector files thanks to adobe, easy and quickly...im guessing thats why your turnaround time is only48 hrs. hit scann open scan with illustator hit livtrace to comic art setting say, hit live colour=done. not sure why youd need to pay somone for that.
08-19-2010, 04:07 PM
I love when uneducated people open their mouths. It's very entertaining.

Do me a favor, Jaze - go take some screenshots from an iPhone (<4) game and run it through LiveTrace. What you end up with is bumpy, inaccurate, and extremely inefficient "vector" art that would be next to impossible to edit in the future (one of the often forgotten benefits of using vector art in the first place). Yes, it's technically vector and yes, it mildly resembles the original art, but it is not the same thing as having someone with skill - and don't think for a second that it doesn't take skill - redraw it. Period.

Oh, and why would you "hit scann" on already digital art?

As for the timeline, a turnaround of 48 hours is reasonable for redrawing artwork - my only concern is that if they become busy, that deadline will be hard to keep.
08-20-2010, 03:56 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Hi Jaze and MelonInteractive,

Both of you make good points. Low resolution and complicated artwork doesn't livetrace very well. But high resolution, simpler artwork can often be autotraced with decent results.

Here's a PDF with some examples of redrawn artwork that just wouldn't work if livetraced.

Here's the post I typed up earlier before the thread was closed (and thanks to the mod(s) for reopening it):

I'm glad you've raised this concern because there are probably several people thinking the same thing. It's true that livetrace (and other) automatic trace programs can create vectors from bitmap images, but they tend to only produce decent results if the original bitmap is of a high resolution in the first place. And even then, they can have trouble with images that have multiple colors, shading and gradient effects. And even if your original artwork is of a decent resolution, there can still be issues with sharp corners being rounded off and smooth curves that end up becoming a bit jagged when livetraced.

I do not use livetrace (or any other automatic tracing program) for my work. Everything is redrawn by hand. I've attached a PDF file to this post showing four examples of low resolution images that I've redrawn. Please note that the final vector image I've created could not be achived with livetrace while coming anywhere close to this quality. Doing it by hand is the only way.

Certainly if someone needs a "quick & dirty" artwork conversion to vectors livetrace is a great option, but for low resolution artwork or artwork with a lot of colors, shading and gradient effects, or if a very high level of quality is important, redrawing by hand is really the only way to go.

08-20-2010, 02:44 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 81
i see vectify, yes when your talking about low res images i agree. the examples you posted would indeed need recreating from scratch. i was thinking more inked artwork or psds etc. good luck on your venture.

@mellonsinteractive! why in a million years would you try to create vector paths from a iphone size screencap rofl! you realise any artwork begins as a sketch on paper then an inked drawing or maybe a psd file. im talking about livetrace that, line art ink on paper hence the scan obviously, livetrace works perfectly when tracing a decent res image lineart, eg any inked/line drawing or photoshop file. why do you think it was implemented in adobe illustrator. because it works. simple.

for the record mellons i work freelance as an illustrator, i use photoshop and illustrator every day, have a ba hons degree in fine art and a masters in contemporary arts research. to assume that someone is uneducated from 1 quick forum post from a iphone screen, really shows your stupidity.

also mellons i might just mention that once vector paths are created they are easy to edit in future no matter how low res the original image was, or how crappy the image looks. that has no bearing on being able to edit the image in future. learn! before jumping head first in the shallow end or you could resurface looking very stupid! you could livetrace a wet tbag it would still be easy to edit in future.

Last edited by jaze; 08-20-2010 at 02:46 PM.
08-21-2010, 05:04 AM

First off, I know I should I apologize for the tone of my post - I took more offense to your original comments than I should have, simply because in what I do on a day-to-day basis I hear too often how "easy" something is because there's a button for it in the software. That fact, coupled with the complete lack of capitalization and the poor spelling in your post automatically brought the word "uneducated" to mind but I guess I should have bitten my tongue.

You may be right, that for scanned artwork where you're trying to retain the rough details of the inked or penciled sketch itself, LiveTrace may be the best option. However, I stand by my thoughts that for redrawing existing digital artwork, or to make a clean version of scanned artwork, there's no real alternative to doing it by hand.

When I mention ease of edit-ability, I'm not referring to the basic ease offered by any vector software in the sense that points can be moved around, and colours swapped quickly. If you look at any accurate LiveTrace, there are many, many more points than are really required - if you needed to change the shape of a character for instance, trying to neatly move those points would be an extremely frustrating exercise. It becomes even worse on a trace from a low-resolution source, where the software essentially traces individual pixels. I know there are settings to reduce the points that are used, but it also reduces the accuracy of the final image. It may work well for some things, but LiveTrace cannot interpret low-resolution sources in the same way the human eye can.

A good vector artist can accomplish the same shape in a fraction of the points, therefore making revisions like a shape change far less time-comsuming.

Now, in your career as a freelance illustrator, you may not have come across the need to recreate a logo/drawing from a low-resolution source. In my professional career as an illustrator/designer for print, this comes up far more often than you'd think. Technology has given everyone the ability to scan or create their own artwork, but it hasn't taught them how to do it properly, so often times the low-resolution logo on a website, or the low-resolution sprites from an iPhone game, are the highest resolution a customer has.

My suggestion to run a screenshot though LiveTrace was simply to show how these low-resolution sources are handled by software vectorization, and wasn't meant to imply that it's something you'd do on a regular basis. I could have easily said "grab the TA logo at the top of this page and run it through LiveTrace" - try it, and you'll see what I mean. There's no way that any result you get from LiveTrace would be better than what a skilled vector artist could create.