Vectoraster 3 review

How useful could a standalone tool that creates halftone images possibly be? The answer comes while using Vectoraster 3, as you experiment with a small yet highly configurable set of effects. Make no mistake – this is an application with narrow appeal. Professional graphic designers are the target market, though amateur photographers and web designers might get a bit of mileage from it too.

Vectoraster takes bitmap images and re-renders them with vector lines or dots – the choice is yours. You can select several “point” types, from configurable shapes to editable text. The package analyses the light and shade in your image and replaces it with your chosen raster. The arrangement of points is up to you too. You can select random seeding, radial and grid settings. Colour, contrast and point shapes can all be edited.

It sounds very simple, but the visual results vary from halftone and ancient printing process emulation to highly contemporary graphic effects. And we haven’t even covered the best part. Images filtered in Vectoraster can be exported as vector EPS files – making them editable in tools like Adobe Illustrator or the open-source drawing package Inkspace (www.inkspace.org). That means you can add gradients, resize without loss of resolution and manually change paths in your Vectoraster processed images.

Improvements over earlier versions are mainly tweaks rather than new features. There are improvements to random seeding, rotation control and a more consistent interface than that found in previous editions.

OUR VERDICT

At just under £14 for the standalone download, Vectoraster is keenly priced to compete with Photoshop plug-ins – like Andromeda’s Cutlline filter (www.andremeda.com) – without the need for Photoshop at all. There’s a trial version so it’s well worth grabbing the demo and giving it a go.

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