To Vector Or Not To Vector -- That is the Question!

We love to create big murals. The bigger, the better, and frankly we do a better job of enlarging murals than our wanna-be competitors. Fourteen years of doing nautical chart murals does have its advantages.

  Longing for Long Island? A BIG mural will help!  We LOVE to create giant murals!

Longing for Long Island? A BIG mural will help!  We LOVE to create giant murals!

But enlarging murals from NOAA charts into a nautical chart wallpaper mural sometimes has it's problems. Can a chart be enlarged so much that it becomes too jagged with pixels? Well, yes! And when that happens, the solution is to use a vectored file, which we can also create.

Vector - Raster.PNG

To begin the discussion, consider the following two images. This is from an actual job we did for a client in the Boston area.

They wanted a fairly small part of the chart to be enlarged to nearly 15 feet in height.

These images demonstrate that a rasterized image (first image shown) may appear too jagged when one or two conditions exist.

1. When too small of an area is desired to be enlarged to mural size

2. When the mural wall is so large that the image will be jagged no matter what we do.

Vector - Vector.PNG

But there is a price to be paid for vectoring an image such as the second image demonstrates. Numbers tend to be tapered at the ends. The image isn't quite like it appears on a NOAA Chart. A vectored image is composed of tiny triangles of image which allow enlargement without significant loss of quality. If your wall is gigantic, vectoring is likely the only option.

So how do you know if you need to go with a rasterized image or a vectored one? Well there is a way you can check. Or we can do it for you if you like.

Let's say that you have a chart that you like but only want a portion of that chart on your mural. So you crop the chart to the approximate image you want on your wall in your favorite graphics program.

Next, be sure your program's rulers are displayed, especially the vertical ruler.

In this example, your newly cropped image is 5 3/4 inches high in your program, or 5.75 inches.

Vector 1.PNG

Your challenge is to see if the mural will look good on your mural wall happens to be 8 feet in height.

Is that too much to enlarge? Let's find out. Because your wall is 8 feet high, let's divide your chart image that is 5.75" high by 8. So 5.75 ÷ 8 = 0.71875 which is between 11/16ths of an inch and 3/4 of an inch.

Crop your image down to 0.719 in your graphics program. We are doing this to yield an area that will equal one foot in height of your mural.

Now enlarge the resulting image until it measures exactly 12 inches high on your screen. You can check it with a 12-inch ruler as the illustration shows. Tweak your graphic's program magnification until it matches the ruler. On my program in this example, the magnification was 220% to get the screen image to match my 12-inch ruler.

Vector 2.PNG

At this point, back up from your screen about 18 to 24 inches. Do you like what you see? If so, then you don't need to vector your image.  But if the image appears too jagged, well, you need a vectored file and that's what we're here for!

We'll vector your file, change colors and do whatever is need to give you the nautical chart mural of your dreams!

Just call us a 801-367-7945 and tell us about your project. We'll tell you what it will take to make your custom mural dreams a reality!