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Rasterbator (2005)

For the Online Image Management Platform of my employer futureLAB, I've been looking for creative ways of manipulating images. One thing I've found was the Rasterbator. We decided to build something similar, with some special features added, that would blend well into the platform. We called it the "Rasterizer". If you would like a closer look, check out snapmania. You can register for a free 3 month account and then use the Rasterizer.

The Rasterizer is supposed to work as an effect filter as well as a multi page pdf creator. A black - and - white raster image can be calculated "correctly", meaning, the luminosity levels are reproduced correctly. It is not that trivial however, because of the overlapping of the larger circles. A color raster image on the other hand cannot be reproduced correctly, because the white inbetween the circles decreases the color saturation. So the colorspace of the raster image is smaller than the one of the original image. Some heuristics are needed for acceptable results.

The Rasterizer analyzes the source image, calculates the appropriate circle diameters and color values and generates an SVG document (Scalable Vector Graphics) describing the image. In a second step, this SVG in rendered into the desired output format, be it a JPEG or PNG image, a PDF or PS document or whatever. Watch the results below, theres a few JPEGs, two PDF documents and a source SVG available.

Fishing Boat in Pemba (Tanzania)

A fishing boat I photographed during a scuba diving safari trip in Pemba. The original Photo was rasterized with 40 and 100 dots in widht. The black - and - white rasterization was done with 80 dots.

Tiger in the zoo in Zürich (Switzerland)

Marc Liyanage ( took this picture at a visit in the zoo of Zürich. The first rasterization was done with 80 dots on the x-axis, the second with 120 dots, the black - and - white image with 100 dots.

Me on a nice winter's day

The first raster image has a horizontal resolution of only 25 dots. Isn't it amazing, that I am still sort of recognizable? The second image is rastered at 60 dots, the black - and - white one at 80 dots.

Sunset over the Street of Mozambique

That's how a sunset looks like from the shore of Pemba, looking over the Street of Mozambique. The first raster image has 60 dots, the second one 120. The black - and - white 80 dots.

Piper Arrow flying over the Engadin (Switzerland)

The Piper Arrow after take-off from Samedan, 1707 meters above sea level. The first raster image was done with 80, the second one with 180 and the black - and - white one with 80 dots.

SVG and PDF Patch Collection

  • RasterTiger100.svgThe tiger image from above has been rasterized with 100 dots width. The resulting SVG file is available here. Most browsers can display such an image as well as many drawing programs.560 K
  • RasterTiger100Large.pdfFrom that SVG a sample PDF patch collection has been rendered, covering 9 A4 pages. Download it, print it out and stitch it together.510 K
  • RasterTiger100Small.pdfA second PDF patch collection has been rendered, this time with 4 A4 pages only, for those of you who don't like to print and stitch that much ;-)456 K