Devon H. O'Dell
dodell at sitetronics.com
Thu Feb 10 06:03:19 PST 2005
[In reply to the huge number of misguided messages that have been
rolling into my Inbox through last night and all of today.]
I don't understand why you people are still battling on the subject.
Some less-than-smart person has also started up an online petition which
has gotten tons of people who DO NOT understand the situation to sign
First: this is about PRINTING. What happens when you print any of the
currently available FreeBSD logos? I'll tell you.
Before going into this, I think I should explain a couple things about
the press and about computer art. I'm sure some of you know this, but it
is very apparent that some of you couldn't identify a raster image from
a hole in the ground. When printing _any_ sort of art, there are certain
things that need to be kept in mind. I'm keeping this simple. Do not get
pedantic on me about this.
First, I'd like to explain how things get printed on large media (large
posters, signs, etc). Even some T-Shirt companies print their shirts
this way. When printing on such media, you work with silk screens,
conveniently named ``silkscreens.'' When printing, these screens are
used to layer colors. Only one color can be printed at a time. When you
print a Beastie that has 5 colors (using the EPS version as an example
-- 5 colors because you don't have to print white), each color has to be
pressed through the screen in a separate process. You can re-use screens
Thus, if you want to print 1,000 posters with the EPS of Beastie, you
need to have 5 screens, and some poor worker (believe me, this is still
hand-done in most places) has to print various parts of Beastie 5,000
What's the difference between raster and vector art? Raster art is what
you usually see on the web. Files in GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP and other
similar formats are all raster graphics. This basically means that the
image is defined based on color values at certain pixels. Various
formats have various ways to compress this, but that's basically how
they all work.
Vector art makes use of (unsurprisingly) vectors to determine how the
image should be shown. The image is stored as mathematical data which
describes where and how bezier curves should be formed, where lines are.
Color can be added simply by giving these vectors a color property. If a
shape is closed, you can even give it a fill. Indeed, you can even fill
non-closed shapes by inferring their area based upon various different
The difference between raster and vector art is that rasterized images
are generally only good for viewing on-screen. Unless your rasterized
image is at a high quality with a high DPI, you can't do very much
resizing without losing substantial quality (usually you can make them
smaller and maintain a good quality, but making them larger usually
removes quality directly). This is why you can't really enlarge digital
photos and why when taking good pictures with a digital camera requires
a camera with a high resolution. On the other hand, vector art can be
resized to any size and maintain its original quality.
So, when you get down to it, you really need to realize the problems:
o The number of colors. The more colors an image has, the more it costs
to print, for obvious reasons. The current FreeBSD logo not only makes
use of a rasterized version of Beastie that is difficult to print at a
high resolution, the text is beveled. There are tons of colors that
would have to be removed or changed to print this on large media.
Additionally, the raster would have to be traced, since I know of no
raster version of Beastie that's larger than about 1200px wide. Printing
the current logo is too expensive.
o The ability to be resized. Even if this was traced by a program such
as Inkscape (which makes use of some other tracing program, so I'm
giving credit to the wrong place, sorry), there would be a substantial
amount of quality lost. I know, because tracing even a small image
(320x240) with a high number of scans (say 50) eats up about 500 MB RAM
and comes close to hanging my dual P3 800. It might be doable at a
reasonable speed on a AMD64 machine with 2 gigs of RAM; I wouldnt' be
surprised if it wasn't. Converting the logo to something printable is
too much of a PITA.
o If we use the current vector version (the EPS version available
in /usr/share/examples/BSD_daemon), we're losing a lot. It's not very
detailed, it's not very pretty, and it still uses 5 colors, which is
pretty expensive to print.
o If we use either, you have to understand that either version is a
bitch to print at a small size (for letterhead). The EPS is not well
detailed, and the raster version still uses a lot of red ink :). The
raster isn't very clear when printed in black and white, and the EPS
still isn't pretty.
This isn't about removing Beastie from FreeBSD. This is about a
professional logo that can be easily printed on a wide variety of media
including your computer screen, the head of your legal pads / A4s, a t-
shirt, or a light tube for the side of a building.
The fact that the accepted logo should be designed to not depict
subjects which might be construed as harassing to another's beliefs,
etc. is a perk. Not a pitfall.
I plan to contribute.
Devon H. O'Dell
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