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Vexels are images that are vector-like in appearance, or vectors that have raster elements to support the vector areas.
What programs are commonly used to create Vexels?
Most vexellers work with Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, which are both very good programs yet a little expensive.
A free alternative is The Gimp, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE.
About working in Photoshop
A) You can use the Pen Tool on shape layers in Photoshop. Now, although Photoshop is a raster-based program, you create a VECTOR due to the fact that all your shapes are on shape layers which can be resized infinitely. Don't believe me? Watch this video:
B) You can use the Pen Tool or the Lasso Tool on normal (or raster) layers, so called " path layers". These path layers can not be resized infinitely, hence what you create is a VEXEL.
Now here's the catch though: In effect, A and B will look the same but it is up to you to figure out where to put your deviation. Don't put it in vectors, unless it is a TRUE vector.
On we go.
This is a very common method when vexelling, especially when it comes to vexelling hair, as can be seen in this tutorial:
or in this deviation: :thumb38119452:
It can certainly also be used when making lineart. Sadly this is a purely Photoshop thing. Sorry to everyone using Paint Shop Pro.
2) textures & patterns:
Textures as well as patterns can enhance a vexel, but should not be plastered all over a picture, as they can also take away from the actual clean vector-look. A few good examples:
Gradients are perfectly fine to use, don't mix them up with Gradient Meshes though, as they can only be done in Adobe Illustrator, hence they are vectors. A few good examples:
4) raster effects:
Raster effects such as Outer Glow or Drop Shadows are okay to use. Remember though, there is no need to use these. Similar effects can for instance be achieved with the right use of gradients.
1) blurring, smudging & sharpening:
There is no point in blurring, smudging or sharpening the layers of your vexel. There IS a distinct vector look to them, meaning you can mostly see each and every layer. If you want to blur, smudge or sharpen, digital painting is your sphere.
2) burning & dodging:
Again, there is no point in using these tools when creating a vexel. They are used to lighten or darken a part of a picture. Now if you wanted to do that, simply change the colour of the layer you're working on. These tools are more appropriate in photo editing or digital painting.
3) posterized images:
I have already mentioned those, however people post these over and over again. I can guarantee you that I and every other good vexel artist can tell if what you posted is a true vexel or not. So please, don't even try.
4) any other vexel/vector look imitating effects/filters:
Again, don't even try. Don't post a "vexel" and then say in the description how it took you 10 minutes to make. If it took you 10 minutes then sorry my dear, it's NOT a vexel.
Also I have seen a few deviations posted to the vexel as well as the vector gallery lately, which surely look nice, but they also look like they were run through some filter. To be more precise, they look like this filter has been applied. See, don't even try. It's not worth your time nor mine.
For those kind of pictures, please refer to the Digital Art -> Miscellaneous Gallery.
The same goes for the Cutout filter, Livetrace (which can be found in Adobe Illustrator) and anything the like.
The addition of photos & non-vexel elements (read carefully please)
This is the one thing I'm a little unsure about and it will surely cause a lot of controversy.
Should you have vexelled something, be it a person, an animal or an object, and you find that you would like to add a photo for the background or some other part, PLEASE BY ALL MEANS, be sure that the photo won't take away from the actual vexel.
Now I am aware that this is very subjective. What to my mind may fit better in the Mixed Gallery, others may find suitable in the Vexel Gallery, and vice-versa.
Hence I am going to make it a rule, that if more than one third (33%) of your finished deviation consists of a photo, it belongs in the Mixed Media Section. The same goes for the combination of vexels and any other medium, such as fractals, digital paintings, etc. .
Again, an example:
:thumb28298970: Obviously the background does not take away from the actual vexel, it rather supports the overall atmosphere.
Either way, I would like to encourage all of you to stay away from using photos or anything else not vexel-related in vexels. That way you are always on the safe side.
That also means that you should not post half-finished vexels, i.e. a few layers on the face and the eyes or hair are still a photo underneath or it's a low opacity vexel over the photo. Progressions should be posted to your scraps, thank you.
Why Not Vector?
Well, every vexel artist has a different reason as to why they prefer vexels over vectors. Some of us don't create for print, so resizing is not really an issue. Surely though, when it comes to creating artwork professionally, clients will just about always prefer vectors over vexels.
Another reason is that some of us simply don't feel comfortable working in Illustrator or other vector programs. Photoshop is far more commonly used, not only to create vexels, but also to edit pictures, draw, etc. It's difficult to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, when you're happy with what you got. It is to say though, that vectors can also be created in Photoshop.
Thirdly, and probably most importantly, you have certain freedoms when creating a vexel that you don't have when creating a vector. Vexels are, as we have learned, a combination of elements: you get to work with vector shapes, yet you can incorporate brush strokes or textures.
Last but not least, a few tutorials