Design insights & tutorials.

Step by Step: Using the Vector Packs

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Step by Step - using Go Media's Vector Packs

We get quite a few people calling every day with trouble opening or using our Vector Packs. I decided to write a tutorial specifically to help out newbies who aren’t exactly sure what they’ve just purchased. It’s amazing to know that people who aren’t designers or even own a piece of design software are buying our vector packs. I never would have expected that. This tutorial is essentially a beginner’s guide to our Vector Packs.

You will learn:
- What are vectors?
- How to open the files
- How to select and use the specific pieces you want
- Adding them to your exisiting design
- Finishing it up

Introduction: What are Vectors?

Before we start, let me explain what Vector means. From the Wikipedia:

“Vector graphics (also called geometric modeling or object-oriented graphics) is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and polygons, which are all based upon mathematical equations to represent images in computer graphics. It is used in contrast to the term raster graphics, which is the representation of images as a collection of pixels, and used as the sole graphic type for actual photographic images.”

Basically, a vector image can be scaled infinitely to any size. It can be enlarged to put on a billboard or the side of a building. It can be used on apparel and even on the web. Raster images (such as jpg, gif, tif, etc) cannot be enlarged without losing quality. So when buying design elements, you want the most versatile elements that can suit any application. Vector graphics are the way to go because they can customized however you like. That’s why we call them Vector Packs!

What’s the purpose of the Vector Packs?
The main purpose of the vector packs is to have a library or archive of commonly used vector elements that you can quickly access and implement into your designs. These are especially helpful if you are on a tight deadline and need to quickly add some flair or artistic elements. Some people buy them and simply use ONLY elements from different packs to create artwork that they never would have imagined they could create beforehand.

1) Opening your Vector Packs

When you first download our vector packs, you’ll either be downloading a big zip file (a complete set) or an EPS. An EPS file actually means Encapsulated Post Script. I could go into a lot of technical jargon (which I actually don’t know by the way) but I’ll just say this: It’s a file that can be opened in vector editing software or rasterized at any resolution in Photoshop (not recommended for our Vector Packs because the files are too large and it’s not optimal). If you download a ZIP file, you must first unzip it. We’ve had some people try to open the ZIP file in Illustrator, which I’m afraid to say will not work. To unzip the file, you can use the free utility 7-Zip. After you unzip the file, you’ll see the EPS files.

So how do you open the EPS file? What software will open it? We use Adobe Illustrator CS3. We recommend using any version of Illustrator newer than version 10. If you have a really old version of Illustrator, chances are that it won’t work and we suggest you upgrade. You can also open these files with Corel Draw or Macromedia Freehand. But since we aren’t actively creating our artwork in those programs, we cannot guarantee perfect compatibility. We use Adobe Illustrator and that’s your BEST BET when working with vector graphics. The concept is the same throughout, but there may be differences in other software applications.

2) Open your vector editing software (Adobe Illustrator)

Adobe Illustrator

If you already have an illustration or design you are working on, open that up if it’s not already. Ideally, these vector pack elements are made to “enhance” your already existing designs. You can certainly make your own design out of nothing but Vector Pack elements, but we will use an existing illustration that our designer Dave did:

Original Illustration:
Dave's original illustration

Now we want to add some cool “accents” in the background. I’m going to look into the “Ornate Pack” from Set 7 and see what I can find. I think they’ll compliment this existing illustration quite well. I already have my centerpiece, I just need to “fill it out” so to speak.

2) Select File > Open

File Open

3) Pick the EPS file you want to use (ornate.eps)

Select your EPS file

While opening the EPS file, Illustrator might warn you about text that was created in a previous version of Illustrator. In this case, just click the button that says “update.” And if you’re missing fonts, it doesn’t matter in this case because any text in our vector packs can be substituted with the default font. It’s ok. So while you have it open, choose the piece you think will work with your design the best:

4) Choose your piece

Ornate chosen

I chose the one that reminds me of seaweed or some underwater plant thing. The theme of the illustration happens to be a girl with octopus tentacles wrapped around her, so I think it will fit well. After you’ve selected your piece by clicking on it, just press Ctrl+C to copy it. Now go back into your original design.

5) Go back to your original design and paste the piece in

vector pack pasted

I liked how they were fitting in, but I thought it needs something more. I went to our trusty “Radials” pack from Set 6 which I know I can always throw behind a centerpiece illustration like this and it will funnel the attention to the center of the image.

6) Open up another Vector Pack and grab some more elements

Open radial vector pack

Once you have it open, have a look around and decide which piece would work best for you. Select it and edit>copy or press Ctrl+C to copy it. I chose the following traditional radial because it accomplishes my goal of “funneling” the attention to my centerpiece. Almost always, radials can be used for this purpose as additional “filler” behind your design.

Select which radial vector you want to use

7) Add some more elements and arrange them how you like.

Added radials and other elements

I went back to my design and pasted the radials and sent it to the back. I also gave it an “overlay” blending mode. Just do your typical tweaking to suit your own needs. I also added some bubbles to complete the “underwater” theme.

You’re Done!

That’s all that’s needed to get the Vector Packs opened and implemented into your designs. There are tons of things you can do with them, but I wanted to give beginners a head start and hopefully this can help solve some of the common problems people are having. Most of the problems are caused because the person doesn’t have any design software on the computer and are confused thinking that when they buy the Vector Packs, they can just run an installer and start magically creating designs out of nowhere. This tutorial should at least get those completely oblivious on the same page as the rest of us!

Final image with Vector Packs

About the Author, Jeff Finley

I'm a partner at Go Media, a Cleveland web design and development firm. We also specialize in print design and branding. I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and wrote the book Thread's Not Dead, teaching artists and designers how to start a clothing company. In my spare time, I write songs and play drums in Campfire Conspiracy. I'm a happy husband and an aspiring b-boy and lucid dreamer.
Discover More by Jeff Finley

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • [ beast ]

    sweet!

    Thanks again, Jeff – tell Haley to toss us a few AE toots. I’m jones’n big time…

    [m]

  • [ beast ]

    sweet!

    Thanks again, Jeff – tell Haley to toss us a few AE toots. I’m jones’n big time…

    [m]

  • http://bogul.digart.pl Bogul

    Toutorials on this site rocks, thanks

  • http://bogul.digart.pl Bogul

    Toutorials on this site rocks, thanks

  • http://www.elasticillusion.com brit

    god damn you guys are amazing… i want you to know it’s supremely inspiring your level of output and your understanding of the principle that by assisting others, you will be assisted in turn…

    cuz you are SERIOUSLY assisting me :)

    i’m excited to get some projects out there to make you guys proud!

    hey if you get a second, check out britwolfson.com on the design section and take a look at the picture i did of myself (it’s also scaled all wrong on the front page)… any criticism would be much appreciated, as i have absolutely no idea what i’m doing, just kind of winging it!

    either way, say word!

  • http://www.elasticillusion.com brit

    god damn you guys are amazing… i want you to know it’s supremely inspiring your level of output and your understanding of the principle that by assisting others, you will be assisted in turn…

    cuz you are SERIOUSLY assisting me :)

    i’m excited to get some projects out there to make you guys proud!

    hey if you get a second, check out britwolfson.com on the design section and take a look at the picture i did of myself (it’s also scaled all wrong on the front page)… any criticism would be much appreciated, as i have absolutely no idea what i’m doing, just kind of winging it!

    either way, say word!

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Brit,

    Thanks so much! On your piece, I like the idea of using the pattern for your skin tone. The execution could be better, it looks a little rough. But it’s a good start for winging it.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Jeff

    Brit,

    Thanks so much! On your piece, I like the idea of using the pattern for your skin tone. The execution could be better, it looks a little rough. But it’s a good start for winging it.

  • http://avskyggene.deviantart.com Josef

    Now I learn how they blend things with the BG color – using the blend modes. Being a primarily Photoshop user I should have already known this! Doh!

  • http://avskyggene.deviantart.com Josef

    Now I learn how they blend things with the BG color – using the blend modes. Being a primarily Photoshop user I should have already known this! Doh!

  • Amir

    hi

    thanx

    It’s a very useful tutorial for me az dummy ;)

  • Amir

    hi

    thanx

    It’s a very useful tutorial for me az dummy ;)

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  • Jason

    I’ve imported Illustrator vector files into After Effects on a solid but I can’t seem to get the growing effect quite as well as yours do on the motion packs. The stroke effect makes them grow but not in the right order; any suggestions?

  • Jason

    I’ve imported Illustrator vector files into After Effects on a solid but I can’t seem to get the growing effect quite as well as yours do on the motion packs. The stroke effect makes them grow but not in the right order; any suggestions?

  • http://how-2-do.blogspot.com sachinKT

    wow.. very nice tutorial for noobs..thanks

  • http://how-2-do.blogspot.com sachinKT

    wow.. very nice tutorial for noobs..thanks

  • prs

    Your set of tutorials is amazing!

  • prs

    Your set of tutorials is amazing!

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  • sheyi

    how do i load/use vectors escpecially the ones in eps format

  • sheyi

    how do i load/use vectors escpecially the ones in eps format

  • Terran

    I need to send you guys some GREAT california micro brewed beer for the incredible site. You guys have literally opened my eyes to Illustrator… Can’t wait to learn enough so i can take off with the program. U GUYS ROCK!!! thanks once again

  • Terran

    I need to send you guys some GREAT california micro brewed beer for the incredible site. You guys have literally opened my eyes to Illustrator… Can’t wait to learn enough so i can take off with the program. U GUYS ROCK!!! thanks once again

  • http://missmurder1818.deviantart.com/ Jacqui

    Thank you so much.
    I am completley new at this whole thing! I loved the work people did using vectors and brushes so i wanted to have a crack at it. I didn’t even know what a brush was, and i hadn’t heard of vectors before! So as you can imagne, i’m having a fairly hard time getting my head around all this! I bought PhotoPlus 9.0 a while back and i’ve been playing with that.
    This tutorial helped me so much! Thank you so much for putting a noob thing on here! I thik there are a suprising large number of people like me! Mabye you should do some more???
    Anyways, This was great. Sorry for rambling!!! I will play around with the free vector pack i download from this website and then i will(I’ll leave a note here when it’s ready) put it on my website(http://missmurder1818.deviantart.com/)for you to look at. i am trying to download a trail verson of Adrobe Illistrator but it won’t work on the work computer! I have downloaded Inkscape, so i will try on that.
    Thank you so much agian, anything like this tutorial is much appricated!!
    Cheers, keep up the good effort, and well done on a great site. It rocks!
    Jacqui
    :) :) :)

  • http://missmurder1818.deviantart.com/ Jacqui

    Thank you so much.
    I am completley new at this whole thing! I loved the work people did using vectors and brushes so i wanted to have a crack at it. I didn’t even know what a brush was, and i hadn’t heard of vectors before! So as you can imagne, i’m having a fairly hard time getting my head around all this! I bought PhotoPlus 9.0 a while back and i’ve been playing with that.
    This tutorial helped me so much! Thank you so much for putting a noob thing on here! I thik there are a suprising large number of people like me! Mabye you should do some more???
    Anyways, This was great. Sorry for rambling!!! I will play around with the free vector pack i download from this website and then i will(I’ll leave a note here when it’s ready) put it on my website(http://missmurder1818.deviantart.com/)for you to look at. i am trying to download a trail verson of Adrobe Illistrator but it won’t work on the work computer! I have downloaded Inkscape, so i will try on that.
    Thank you so much agian, anything like this tutorial is much appricated!!
    Cheers, keep up the good effort, and well done on a great site. It rocks!
    Jacqui
    :) :) :)

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  • Felipe

    HI, I’M NEW WORKING IN ILLUSTRATOR, BUT THIS OF VECTOR PACKS IS EXCELLENT!, I HAVE A QUESTION..PLEASE SOMEBODY TELL ME ¿HOW CAN I APPLY COLORS AND CHANGE THE COLOR OF ANY PIECE OF ANY SET?, I HAVE ILLUSTRATOR 10 AND 11 VECTOR PACKS BUT IN THE FILL AND STROKE WHEN I COPY ANY PIECE AND PASTE ON A NEW ARTWORK APPEARS A QUESTION SIGN.. IN THE FILL APPEARS.. ?…¿WHY???, WHAT I’M DOING WRONG?, PLEASE ANSWER ME!!!
    I WANT KNOW ABOUT MORE TUTORIALS OF VECTOR PACKS PLEASE..

    THANKS!!!!

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      it’s supremely inspiring your level of output and your understanding of the principle that by assisting others

  • Felipe

    HI, I’M NEW WORKING IN ILLUSTRATOR, BUT THIS OF VECTOR PACKS IS EXCELLENT!, I HAVE A QUESTION..PLEASE SOMEBODY TELL ME ¿HOW CAN I APPLY COLORS AND CHANGE THE COLOR OF ANY PIECE OF ANY SET?, I HAVE ILLUSTRATOR 10 AND 11 VECTOR PACKS BUT IN THE FILL AND STROKE WHEN I COPY ANY PIECE AND PASTE ON A NEW ARTWORK APPEARS A QUESTION SIGN.. IN THE FILL APPEARS.. ?…¿WHY???, WHAT I’M DOING WRONG?, PLEASE ANSWER ME!!!
    I WANT KNOW ABOUT MORE TUTORIALS OF VECTOR PACKS PLEASE..

    THANKS!!!!

  • mike

    how can i get the hoodie and tshirt template to design with the vectors

  • mike

    how can i get the hoodie and tshirt template to design with the vectors

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

  • Matt

    Thanks for this nice work!
    dizi izle

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    I like very much the writings and pictures and explanations in your adress so I look forward to see your next writings. I congratulate you.

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    Adobe Illustrator is a very nice vector editing software.

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    This is really great work. Thank you for sharing such a useful piece of information here in the blog.

  • Michael Jackson

    great verctor sir.. thank you

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  • Tora Markotas

    when i open this, and read this vector tutorial..i am very amazed. good job

  • http://cool-wrist-watch.com Michael Philippe

    cool vector tutor

  • Moliva

    I’ve imported Illustrator vector files into After Effects on a solid but I can’t seem to get the growing effect quite as well as yours do on the motion packs. The stroke effect makes them grow but not in the right order; any suggestions?

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    Good article and very valuable information. Keep it up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bettina.evensen.7 Bettina Evensen

    Thanks heaps!! This was amazing learning!

  • Star

    Wow- sigh of relief. Thanks for this article!

    The light went on for many of us in the dark on utilizing these vector packs, so thanks you!

    I never was sure what to do with the vector packs that I got for free.

    I knew to unzip them.

    I saw they often came in various formats and I knew which format to use for my program.

    But once opened(unzipped), a wave of cluelessness just came over me as I viewed the vector pack, excited to use the ones I liked but unable to do so out of ignorance.

    It was easy enough to work with single vectors that are offered for free; but the ones that came with a variety of vectors on one * sheet* so to speak? I was lost. And I felt like a doofus!

    I mean, it seemed obvious to me that maybe I should copy and paste, but I guess the sheer simplicity of the idea made me feel I was wrong in my guess on how to use them.

    (I also had no other feasible idea but that one.)

    Glad to know I am not that dumb- lol.

    Great article.

    Thx for helping out all of the poor and embarrassed newbies who did not know who to turn to ( or) who were too mortified to ask! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.dew.39 Steve Dew

    Maybe in a future tutorial you can teach us how to make vector packs :-D