Sign & Digital Graphics

June '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • June 2017 • 57 French automobile company, Renault, in the nineteen sixties developing com- puter modeling software for CAD/CAM systems. Paths can take the form of any combination of straight, curved or scal- lops and can be open-ended or closed. Vector tools are found in several graphics-based software programs to create 2 D shapes and dynamic 3D objects and clean, crisp text (see Figure 3). Vector tool techniques are gener- ally similar from one program to the next. Some of the most popular soft- ware that supports vectors are: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop (to a lim- ited extent), Adobe InDesign, Adobe Flash, CorelDraw, and 3 D software like Maya, and Autodesk among many others. Structure Vector objects consist of a path out- line for two-dimensional objects, or wire frames for three dimensional objects. And there lies the first answer to Salina's question. These skeletal structures can be manipulated—bent, moved, twisted, rotated—to easily transform the shape of the object as shown in Figure 4. Since paths are stacked into independent sub layers, the shape can be transformed without affecting its neighboring paths. Vector Aesthetic By its nature, vector software pro- duces sharp, clean, colorful graphics with crisp edges, seamless solid colors and smooth gradients that are resolution- independent. This kind of software is perfect for creating technical drawings, cutaways (see Figure 5) and hyper-real illustrations. And so, to answer Salina's question again, effects that are easily achievable with vector software might elude the user of pixel-based programs. Resolution independence means that an object can be resized from postage stamp to billboard without compromis- ing the integrity of its appearance. It will retain the crisp quality of its lines and colors. Furthermore, object files can be exported to raster-based software (like Photoshop) as Smart Objects and still retain their vector-based data. They can be manipulated, resized, rotated or distorted in Illustrator, for example, linked and upgraded automatically in Photoshop. Raster-Vector Objects The best way to understand how soft- ware manages vector objects is to look closely at a combination of techniques. If a shape is generated in Illustrator, with one of the Pen or Shape tools it can be altered to convert the shape into a temporary "unexpanded" state. The Figure 3: Vector tools are found in several graphics-based software programs to create 2D shapes and dynamic 3D objects. Figure 4: The skeletal structure of a vector object can be bent, moved, twisted or rotated to transform its shape. Figure 5: Vector-based software is perfect for creating technical drawings and cutaways.

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