The Countdown to Maker Faire Bay Area is On!


New Method for Vectorizing Pixel Art

Craft & Design
New Method for Vectorizing Pixel Art

While algorithms for turning raster images into vector images are nothing new, the usual suspects perform terribly when it comes to sprite-sized pixel-art type images where each pixel matters a lot. Enter this cool project that Johannes Kopf and Dani Lischinski presented at Siggraph 2011. Their paper, which nicely explains the nitty gritty, is freely available (PDF), and there’s also an online gallery where you can see how their method stacks up against a bunch of other algorithms when it comes to scaling up some classic sprites. I especially like the new streamlined Space Invader shapes. I always wondered what they really looked like. [via O’Reilly Radar]

Depixelizing Pixel Art

Image deblurring using inertial measurement sensors

20 thoughts on “New Method for Vectorizing Pixel Art

  1. fire115 says:


  2. MP says:

    This was from Siggraph 2011. Has anything changed in the last year?

  3. DD says:

    did anyone notice that for Invader 1 on :
    Vector magic turns a Space invader into an Enterprise crew member ?

  4. MarkkuA says:

    When will we have this as a plugin for illustrator?

  5. Idgarad says:

    You do realize this is just someone trying to rip off the Sai and Eagle depix algos that have been used in NESSNES emulators for over 15 years right? Check out ZSNES as a quick example.

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      No, it isn’t. The algorithms you refer to are image scaling algorithms; they output larger raster images that are smoother than those produced by naive nearest-neighbor upsampling. This algorithm outputs vector graphics. If you’ll actually click through to the gallery linked, above, you can do side-by-side comparisons and see the difference between this new method and the Sai and Eagle algorithms you mention explicitly. The new method is clearly superior, and works by a very different mathematical process.

  6. rinf says:

    Idea: Integrate this algorithm into an NES/SNES emulator and make Super Mario Bros. a vector graphic game. I really wonder what it might look like.

  7. johney says:

    Mind blowing,now if only also the colors will be dithered,then it will look much smoother with no flatty colors anymore,the reason why those sprites still does,nt look complete such as bowser missing some lines on the edges and in the contours such as his right teaf and sharp amps,was because when nintendo have converted their drawings into low_res sprites,some details were lost and cannot be recovered when vectorizing,so some manual intervention isrequired to correct this,
    or they shut future enhance the algorithm wich may be able to follow the directions of colors inside and on the edges of these sprites and inserts thin lines in between each color and thick lines on the edges of those sprites to make it look much more complete,sure it will very complex to create such interpolator and that will require more horse power,but once done,those backgrounds and sprites will look more better then ever before!!!!

  8. 픽셀 그림을 벡터로 변환하는 새로운 방법 | Make: Korea says:

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).