As laser cutting and 3D-printing projects piled up, I was spending more time slinging points and paths -- aka vectors.

Inkscape, the open source vector program, was giving me a tenuous grip on the concept of vectors. But I decided I needed to get friendlier with vectors. So I switched my Adobe subscription from Premiere to Illustrator -- Adobe's vector program. 

Vectors versus Pixels is a common topic on the Web. It must come up a lot as people try to push pixel-based images -- .jpg's and .png's -- into vector jobs. Like laser cutting, or large, high resolution imagery. 

The difference is that vector images consist of mathematically defined paths. Pixel-based images, frequently called "raster" or "bitmap" images, consist of an array of pixels, which together create an image. Many comparisons emphasize that vector images don't lose resolution when you make them bigger; raster images tend to fall apart. This is related to my interest: that vector images are more precisely defined. I'm starting to like points and paths over splashes of dots. You can do more with them, like use a line to laser-cut a shape. 

I started with a photo I took outside of Fab@CIC. I used Illustrator to convert it to a vector image. It's now the lead image on this post. A larger, uncropped version of the image is below. (Of course, both had to be exported to .pngs to display here on the web, but you get the idea).

CIC - full
A vector image of CIC Boston exterior. 

Next, I'm going to try to vectorize some images of snags. (If you're unfamiliar with this forest ecology term, a "snag," according to Wikipedia, "refers to a standing, dead or dying tree, often missing a top or most of the smaller branches. In freshwater ecology it refers to trees, branches, and other pieces of naturally occurring wood found sunken in rivers and streams; it is also known as coarse woody debris.")