Design & Publishing . / . WEB . / . Pixelsmith . / .Vector vs Pixel in the Browser-Safe Colors?

Web Design & Review with Pixelsmith, teaching the finer art of graphics for the web.

"When it arrives in Photoshop, all the colors have gone south..."

Vector vs Pixel image programs*...
A slew of inquiries on the subject of "Browser Safe Colors" followed our Pixelsmith column last month. Either people are becoming more conscious of optimized color, or else new software or a new book has hit the shelf. This one is typical of several over the past month.

“Greetings, love the publication... Help me... I followed the instructions and used the FreeHand CLUT for vectored artwork, but when it arrives in Photoshop all the colors have gone south. And, it's impossible to force it back with Diffusion Dither off or on. (Which looks terrible)”

Okay folks. I'll say it one more time... this time with pictures and step by step... Read my lips:
Forget what you hear. Forget what you read.
Believe what you experience.

Vector programs nearly never generate browser-safe colors in their rasterized counterparts once running them through a second program. Period. If you find one that proves the following wrong, please generate two files, 75 x 75 pixels, and email them to me so I can see for myself.
__ If you're using FreeHand 5.0, don't count on it working FreeHand 7. This is a question mark for us too, because we don't have the program, and don't plan to purchase it. If they'd like to send us a comp copy we'll gladly test it and report on our findings. Some say it works, but have not seen the results.
__ Our testing has shown that anytime a program rasterizes the file from another program of a differing format, the colors will change. If you rasterize a vector file in Illustrator or Freehand and find the results accurate, don't re-rasterize in another program.

Browser-Safe colors illustrated with RGB vs Vector converted colors.  Web Design & Review with Pixelsmith, teaching the finer art of graphics for the web....

With the following method we can guarantee color fidelity no matter what program generated the art.

At left we see a simple comparison.

The logo was imported using the “browser safe” method, but when it arrives the colors are slightly off.

(Go ahead. Capture the gif file and test it in your image processing software. It probably won't even be the colors we show here! They'll probably shift yet another time upon import into your program!)

Now, let's take a closer look ...

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