Vector Realism: Cactus Cologne

Vector Realism: Cactus Cologne

Do a double take on this one!

This piece is not a photograph, but instead, a hand illustration in vector art. 

One of my goals of 2019 is to master as many Adobe Illustrator concepts as possible by setting aside a couple hours on Sunday mornings to watch tutorials and explore new techniques. This past week, I discovered ‘vector realism’, or vector based graphics that mimic a raster photograph. This process relies heavily on gradients and subtle details to make a series of flat shapes and lines appear three-dimensional. 

The only question is: why?

Unlike raster graphics which are made up of pixels (photographs with file types like JPEG and PNG), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) are built from mathematical points, shapes, and lines. The key advantage to this format is infinite scaling up or down without quality degradation. A vector based graphic will look the same blown up on a billboard or as small as a postage stamp. Corporate business might use vector realism for incredibly large print applications where pixels just won’t cut it. 

My takeaway: vector realism is a plausible technique with incredible power for large application; however, the process is time consuming and outside the budget for most. A majority of creatives will instead use high quality photography mock-ups manipulated in Photoshop.