On these pages, we are introducing you to Inkscape and Gimp. These 2 free software programmes work so well together, like Bangers & Mash!
Keep reading to the end as we show you how you can get access to our free videos on both programmes.
To get the full definition of what a vector graphic is, then do follow the link. In more practical terms here’s our take on it.
So you find an image on the Internet and you download it. You want to change it – maybe increase the size of it because it’s too small. So go ahead and do that.
However, after you’ve done it, can you still recognise the image? Or does it have fuzzy, jagged edges?
Yes, we thought so. Lets see if we can explain why this happened.
Unless stated otherwise, most images that you download from the Internet like this will be raster (bitmap) images. These images are made up of pixels (grids of tiny dots of colour) which are of a definite size.
What you just did was to enlarge every pixel and stretch it, and so you are ‘spreading’ any colour over a larger area and the grid becomes blurry or ‘pixelated’, because there isn’t sufficient colour to go round this larger area..
If you do the same thing using a Vector image (made up of paths and nodes) using vector editing software, the end result will be a crisp, sharp image irrespective how large you increase the image.
Common Vector formats include AI (Adobe Illustrator), CDR (CorelDRAW), DXF AutoCAD. and the most common accepted formats on the web is SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics) and SWF (Shockwave Flash)
Common proprietary programs include Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW or Xara X.
You can download your own free copy of Inkscape at this link.
Second up, has to be Gimp, the free Open Source image editing software
Gimp is a raster editor, which means that it performs operations directly on to the pixels (squares of colour) that make up the image. The smaller and closer together the squares are, the better the quality (resolution) of the image. By the way Raster = Bitmap. They are one and the same thing.
So if you increase the size of the image and stretch these pixels, you will lose quality.
Can you convert raster images to a vector image? Yes, you can and the process is called Rasterizing.
Here’s the technical bit:
GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”
Common Bitmap formats include BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, PICT (Macintosh), PSD (Adobe Photoshop)
Common proprietary raster editors include Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paintshop Pro and the humble Microsoft Paint.
You can download your own free copy of Gimp at this link.
You can find a more pictorial explanation on the differences between a bitmap and a vector image by clicking on the link.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel here, where you will find playlists of of videos for beginners to both Inkscape and Gimp