What's a vexel?


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Difference between a Vexel and a Vector. Both are created using Adobe Photoshop, with the pen tool although the vector is made using the shape layer function of the pen tool whereas the vexel is based on raster layers.

A vexel is an entirely pixel-based raster image that imitates the vector graphics style. The word derives from a combination of "vector" and "pixel".[1]

Colloquially, vexels are vector-like images created in a raster-based graphics program (such as Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or the GIMP), that imitates the style of vector graphic images, although the increased flexibility of raster lines over a vector-plotted approach gives vexel images a unique appearance when compared with traditional rasterized vector graphics.
It should be noted that some raster graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro can produce vector-like images using a pen or lasso tool. Such images are referred to as vexel images, unless it involves the use of shape layers. However, programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Freehand or Xara Xtreme produce true vectors.

A vexel is characterized by crisp, clean color and lines (that look nearly vector-graphics style) but is entirely pixel-based (picture); and a variety of levels, from 2-color outlines to pseudo-realism. A vexel does not use paintbrushes, airbrushes or a freehand tool such as pencil.

Vexels are also commonly used to restore the look of a vehicle.

Most vexels are also based on photographs.

The popularity of vexels stems from the fact that traced vexel requires no drawing ability to create good-looking images. Also, with the advent of the Internet, 300 dpi is no longer considered a must in amateur digital art. 72 dpi is considered sufficient for most vexels, since it will not appear in print in most cases. Indeed, since most vexels are tracings, printed versions would likely constitute copyright infringement, unless the use of the image fell under fair use (in the United States).

While "vexel" is used and accepted in a relatively narrow, self-described "vexel" community, the art and general worlds have not embraced it as warmly, mostly because it refers to a very small body of work and because of the workflow by which most vexel art is created.

The term "vexel" was created by Seth Woolley while he was a technical contributor to the now defunct but once popular teen message board Nova Boards to give it a distinctive name from traditional vector graphics.

Shirley Ann Manson by *carolinabarajas

Verileah 17 years ago
And knowing is half the battle!

I think that definition might be subject to debate, because people don't seem to agree on whether vexel is a method or a style. Some people will call their work vexel even if it is fully scalable, if they traced over a photograph. I've done a few such images, though not for a while. I've always called them photo manips or draw overs, or vectored photos, something like that. I call the images I select 'sources'. In DA I put them under vector and link to the source. Really it could fit in many categories, I was just going by the general look of each gallery and picked the most appropriate spot.

I also (as I'm sure y'all know) disagree with the idea that if you're vexeling it is okay to take your images from just anywhere. For fuck's sake, though, if you're going to trace over a photograph, whatever you call it, the original source deserves credit.
Merreck 17 years ago
I was just looking up information on vexel art this morning and found this web site which seemed to have a lot of info: http://vexels.net/.

I agree with Verileah's last statement. They should be giving credit to the source image, just like photo maniper's and people who simply reference a pose do. It's pretty misleading. I had no idea they were all traced images until I looked it up.
Slovman 17 years ago
Is this what they do for those crazy Charles Schwab commercials, or is that something else entirely?
Verileah 17 years ago
Can you link something Slov? I've no idea what you're talking about.
Slovman 17 years ago
This article has a link to a video of one:
Verileah 17 years ago
Ah, yes, similar concept then - they film people, then draw over each frame. It's called rotoscoping and is pretty cool imo.
Laney 17 years ago
Oh yay, yet another witch hunt against some medium of art. I guess we got bored with the 3D stock debate and we're just moving down the list. Let me know when we get to the pixeling/dolling topic, because I"m sure that will be next, and I'll be sure to stay away from the board. Is TAC turning into a "If you don't do 3d art, you ain't shit" community? I'm just curious, because I'm one of the lone artists on the board that doesn't do 3d and I'm starting to feel ostracized.

Let me add that I find it hilariously ironic that a genre that's fought so hard to be recognized as a legit medium of art, we're talking 3d, is rallying troops for debates against other forms or methods.

Some vexel artists actually use their own images to create vexels and unless you have Illustrator, the shit ain't that easy. Yea, anyone can make a piece of shit vexel but true vexel artists do pour hours into their creations and most credit the person responsible for the original image. So before we go after genres with burning stakes and pitchforks, lets try something first.
Verileah 17 years ago
I like the definition on vexels.net much better. http://vexels.net/what.php. Though I do think they should talk about copyright and crediting. Treating vexels as a style rather than a method makes so much more sense. Meh...there's so much mass confusion about this stuff. Muddy definitions are the problem :\. I think DA should use the vexels.net definition and stop allowing the clusterfuck in the vexels gallery, but then I've always thought their categories were pointless .