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ADO-1003 • Edges are jagged/not smooth on film


My edges are sawtoothed, rough, jagged and I expected them to be smooth. I opened my vector file in a raster program like Photoshop. Can this cause a problem at output?


So many computer users do not understand the differences and abilities between their software programs. There are raster programs and vector programs and they are designed to handle data differently for a good reason.

Users are still opening vector images in raster programs and wondering why edges become sawtooth, blurry or halftone. The effect is called "anti alias" and is there for a good reason.

When working with raster programs such as Adobe Photoshop you want your edges to be slightly blurry so the images combine better in a collage. In real life you don't see cold hard edges, everything has a slight blur on the edge.

When working with a vector program you get a sharp clean hard edges by default. If you want that look then you are better served working in a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw.

However there are those times when you need to work in a vector program to create line art, but then need to open that art into a raster file to take advantage of tools and workflows they offer for special effects.

Here's how:

Create your vector line art file and save it. Open a NEW document in Photoshop selecting all the dimensions and the color mode you need as well as a proper resolution. In order to keep a vector edge as sharp and clean as possible resolution should be set between 300 and 600 dpi.

Most importantly you MUST turn OFF "anti alias". This way your file opens in a raster program with a clean, sharp edge and will print that way.

As you work with new tools you will see in their settings the option to use anti alias. You can use them for airbrush effects and more but do not touch the outer edge of your line art layer.

Other advantages to working this way:

Your magic wand tool will work much better selecting areas that have hard edges. Your line art layer can become a "master" selection layer. Make selections of areas then create new layers to work on special effects.

Conclusion: When possible keep vector art in vector programs for the best quality prints and control, but when you need to mix these style do it right. 

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