The following post was originally featured on the blog of our parent company Shutterstock, on Tuesday July 21, 2015. As this change in its auto-trace policy also pertains to Bigstock contributors, it is being shared here.

Vectors are a powerful type of content. They are editable, adaptable, and scalable without loss of resolution. Our vector collection is one of the most diverse on the market. At their best, vectors are simple, clean, well constructed and easily editable in clearly labeled layered files. Well constructed vectors are a result of using tools within vector editing software such as the pen tool, gradients, fills and blends.

Up until now, images converted into vectors solely using auto trace or live trace have been accepted into our library of content. While an auto traced image is technically a vector, the result of the tracing process drastically diminishes the quality of the original image and severely limits the capability of the vector beyond scalability. We see beautiful watercolor paintings and gorgeous photos converted into vectors simply for the sake of making these pixel based images into scalable vectors, but the end result is a poorly executed vector version of what was previously a beautiful image.

We have received feedback from customers who have expressed frustration when downloading auto traced paintings, photos or textures. They find that while the vector is scalable, the image quality has been completely lost when viewed in a magnified form and is far too complex and time consuming to edit within an acceptable time frame. Vectors containing thousands of poorly constructed paths are not only extremely large files, but they are also nearly impossible to edit. The usefulness and power of a vector is severely diminished when burdened by excessive amounts of auto traced elements.
Based on our analysis of content performance and customer feedback, moving forward we will only accept auto traced one-color line art and flat art. Auto-traced full color photos and illustrations will now be rejected with the following reason: Unacceptable Auto Trace – We are no longer accepting this type of content. (Continue reading on Shutterstock’s blog …)

Top image: Abstract colorful splash background. Watercolor background illustration by Shutterstock contributor HAKKI ARSLAN.

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