People Talking Clip Art
People talking clip art, as the name suggests, is a collection of images, either digitized or not, with the potential to be used in many forms. One way it has been utilized is in desktop publishing, where it is often inserted into documents. A related phenomenon is the use of the clip art in computers’ word processing programs, where it is included in the form of a built-in feature.
There are several different types of images, ranging from high-resolution, fine art pieces to low-resolution photographs. Most clip art is provided in bitmap or vector format, with the latter being the preferred choice. This is due to the ability of Macintosh computers to create and edit vector files. Using this type of file format, you can scale the image to any size and colorize it in virtually any way you choose.
The first electronic clip art came in the form of simple line arts. However, with the advent of desktop publishing in the mid-1980s, a need for ready-to-use pre-made electronic images emerged. To meet this need, Adobe Systems created the first commercially available software that allowed users to create and manipulate vector graphics in their home computer’s graphic user interface. It was the Adobe Illustrator for the Macintosh that made higher-resolution vector art a reality.
The first commercially produced, “serious” clip art, a sort of business card sized image, was designed by Dennis Fregger. The image is still available for use, and the license is royalty free. Also, the first library of professionally drawn clip art for the IBM PC was marketed under the VCN ExecuVision brand.
In the early 1990s, the first graphical user interface (GUI) was developed for Apple Computer’s Macintosh. As the market for PCs grew, a variety of clip art companies began offering digital clipart. T/Maker was one of these. Their first vector based clip art images were released in 1987. They are currently marketed through the Broderbund division of Riverdeep, a Irish company.
Other notable early achievements include a graphical user interface for the personal computer and the first mass-produced, consumer-grade, personal computer. Early electronic clip art was simple line arts, a far cry from the highly complex vector art that is available today.
As with any other product, clip art has undergone a significant evolution over the years. Today, the clip art biz is segmented into data, marketing, and delivery mediums. Interestingly, the biggest change in the past twenty years has been the demise of rights managed clip art. Instead of being sold by various clip art vendors, most are now offered as free downloads.
The two most popular types of clip art are the clip art based on public domain images, and the bitmap or vector based varieties. Although the clip art derived from a digitized copy of a public domain work is not subject to any specific usage restrictions, the same cannot be said of the exact replicas of paintings. Another major trend has been the rise of the Web. The popularity of the internet has led to a large proliferation of pirated, or otherwise unlicensed, clip art.