Practically Free Graphics Tools for Image Clipping and Vector Images

Like many social and public sector marketers, you’re probably forced to be your own graphic designer. Maybe you’re lucky enough to occasional access to another department’s designer, or can spend limited funds on freelance help. You have Microsoft PowerPoint on your computer, and while PowerPoint is versatile and useful, it just can’t do some things. Two things it can’t do is clip images from backgrounds and create vector images.

Two low-cost, easy-to-use web services now let you easily clip images from backgrounds and create vector images.

Removing Backgrounds from Images

At times, you want just an image of just a person or object, without any background.

free graphics tools for image clipping and vector images
Image courtesy of Clipping Magic

PowerPoint’s Remove Background command has a very limited capability to remove backgrounds, but really depends on how the original image was constructed.

Clipping Magic lets you easily and instantly remove the background from an image. Simply upload your image, draw a green line on the object and a red line on the background, and Clipping Magic then removes the background.

There are various options for controlling how the image is clipped, but it’s really that easy.

Clipping Magic starts at $3.99 / month for 15 images. That’s more than you’ll probably need in a month, but much less than engaging a graphic designer for this simple task. Believe me, it’s cheap if you only do one or two images in a month. You can easily subscribe, cancel, and then renew the next time you need to clip images.

Converting Bitmap Images to Vector Images

Without getting overly detailed, vector images are built to seamlessly scale to almost any size and resolution. Most computer images such as JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and PNG are bitmap images, which can only scale down, not up. Images for printed collateral, screen printing and embroidery need to scale to look good on paper, vinyl and cloth. Vector images are usually used for illustrations and logos.

If you want a bit more detail, this three-minute video give you a good introduction to vectors and bitmaps.

Vector Magic converts bitmap images to vector images. You can save the vector images in PDF, EPS and SVG formats. Microsoft Office easily uses PDF and EPS files. SVG files are suitable for small, simple online graphics for your website.

Vector Magic costs $7.95 per month for unlimited images. You can also buy tokens if you just need to convert a few images.

I rarely plug paid services on this blog, preferring to focus on free downloads. However, these two services are nearly free, very practical, and high quality. Both services offer a downloadable, desktop version if you’re looking to do a lot of images, need more options, and are willing to pay.

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