The Full Wiki

Vexel: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Difference between a Vexel and a Vector. Both are created using Adobe Photoshop or a similar application with the pen tool although the vector is made using the shape layer function of the pen tool whereas the vexel is based on raster layers.

Vexel is a neologism for an entirely pixel-based form of raster art that imitates the vector graphics technique, but is distinguished from normal vector graphics or raster images. The word itself is a portmanteau derived from a combination of "vector" and "pixel."[1] It is an entirely pixel-based raster image that imitates the vector graphics style.



There is no one defined way to create a vexel,[2][3] however, one archetypal way to create a vexel[4] follows. Instead of using vector-based lines, shapes, and polygons to create an image, a vexel is typically created using a raster program's support of transparent layers. Each transparent layer is given a solid (or sometimes gradient[5]) shape and a display ordering that when displayed together with other near shape layers appears to create a stepped-but-gradual color transition. In some cases, for more realism, gradients are used that remove the stepping in the color transitions to create a smoother, photo-realistic image.

The different nature of raster programs over a vector-plotted approach gives some vexel images a unique appearance when compared with traditional rasterized vector graphics, however, the increased flexibility comes with a loss of image scalability for print media, which is often a source of criticism. To compensate for this, most vexels are created at very high resolution.

A vexel may even be composed using vector graphic techniques, however it becomes a vexel when the vector elements are rasterized and further manipulations to the image are done in raster. Sometimes true raster images are placed behind and/or in front of the original vector elements to emphasize the surrealism that the vector elements produce. A vexel is not essentially created with paintbrushes, airbrushes or a freehand tool such as pencil, although some may include these elements if they are not the primary medium. Ben Woolley says "[V]exels were originally meant to involve a vector technique, not any particular aesthetic style."[6]

Style and appearance

Vexels are commonly used to portray a sharpened look of a realistic object, such as a vehicle.

Vexels are often characterized by crisp, clean color and lines (that look nearly vector-graphics style) but is entirely pixel-based, with a variety of color levels, from 2-color outlines to pseudo-realism.


The popularity of vexels stems from the fact that traced vexel requires little drawing ability.

While "vexel" is used and accepted in a relatively narrow, self-described "vexel" community, the art and general worlds have not embraced it as warmly, mostly because it refers to a body of work mostly revolving around DeviantArt[7] and Vexels.Net[8] and because of the workflow by which most vexel art is created.


The term vexel was created by Seth Woolley while he was a technical contributor to the now defunct but once popular teen message board Nova Boards to give it a distinctive name from traditional vector graphics.[1] Seth didn't approve of calling the raster images that looked like vectors the name of "vector". In response to a question of what they would be called, he coined the term "vexel" as a combination of vector and pixel since they were not simply rasters, and those asking needed a name for a new style. He at first suggested calling them rasterized or posterized vector images, but the community took the word "vexel" as an acceptable neologism. Ben Woolley has described its derivation.[6]

References and notes



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address