I know it oxymoron but I have a pretty unique situation. We have LED panels with 32x32 resolution. To display an image on these LED panels, I have to run BMP format file through a special program to regenerate HEX matrix.

I'm struggling on how to generate these BMP images so that they don't look like crap. And the images aren't even that complex... For example, a walking man and a hand (walk/stop signs you see at traffic lights).

I have AI and Photoshop so I think I have the right tools and just don't know the best way. So far I tried creating 32x32 in AI and saving in BMP format but pixels don't translate well. Tried creating 32x32 in Photoshop but it's so hard to work in this resolution that I almost have to do it one pixel at a time. Also tried going highest res possible in AI and the resizing to 32x32 in Photoshop.

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    It might help us to help you if you can share some images of your work so far, but I suspect that anything on a 32x32 LED panel is going to look pretty poor.
    – Westside
    Oct 20, 2016 at 14:49
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    Presumably this is something like "Adafruit 1484"? Or is it one-color? what is the software called that makes the hex code conversion? For 32 x 32 grid, pencil and graph paper is probably a good way to start and then just make the BMP pixel-perfect. This is a case where AI and scalability just aren't needed. One pixel at a time is probably the right answer.
    – Yorik
    Oct 20, 2016 at 15:23
  • This is what I have at the moment. drive.google.com/open?id=0Bwgu6jYVrAKieVFlUFFwZFI1bHM We have our own bmp-hex converter. Oct 20, 2016 at 16:09
  • What's interesting is that "broncos.bmp" actually looks pretty good but I did not make that one so no idea how it was achieved Oct 20, 2016 at 16:13
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    You can open a document twice. go to window > arrange > new window for (document name)
    – Luciano
    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


The most precise way you will achieve a quality 32px² picture is really making it pixel by pixel. The very origins of pixel art came from the need to convey visual information in absurdly limited resolution space.

making it in illustrator and downscaling it may result in arbitrary antialiasing that may not look good, mainly in LED panels. the finest way to make it look good at this resolution is to either make it from scratch at pixel-level. or procedurally fixing a downscaled picture at pixel-level.

  • Yea that's what I'm beginning to realize after so many experiments. Oct 20, 2016 at 16:12

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