I'm writing this journal after an accumulation of things over the past couple of weeks. From the odd comment here and there, a Facebook status, a DD or two and perhaps a couple of pieces I've seen submitted to various websites.
People are getting vexel/vector confused, especially those who use Photoshop. Labelling your work as vexel when it is vector hurts you more than it benefits you.
Photoshop Can Create Vector
Photoshop is more than capable of creating vector art. The Pen Tool and the Shape Tools produce vector shapes.
Photoshop is a raster based program thus it's not made to render vector in real time. As Illustrator is a vector program. When you zoom into an object, it will render in real time... you'll always see those clean edges you associate with vector art and you wont get pixelation*. With Photoshop, it's primary tools are raster - from photo editting to digital painting - it's core users don't require vector capabilities. However this doesn't mean it's not capable of creating vector.
If you're confused on this one, check out this great video tutorial on how Photoshop is capable of creating vector art and why.
To sum up, if you're using the Pen Tool and/or Shape Tools in Adobe Photoshop, UNLESS YOU ARE MERGING YOUR LAYERS, you are creating vector art, not vexel art.
When Are You Creating Vexel Art?
Vexel art is the layering of raster shapes... there is nothing vector/infinitely scalable about it. I've written several articles on what is and isn't vector and vexel art. My most comprehensive you can find over on Vectortuts+.
Now if you are merging/flattening/rasterising your shapes in Photoshop - or even in Illustrator, you are creating vexel art. Although it's a bit of a cop out. Back in the day, there were programs which used the Pen Tool (Paintshop Pro comes to mind) which produced raster shapes, not vector. So although the process was similar to that of vector, the out put was raster/vexel. People who weren't confident with the Pen Tool also used to draw shapes with the Lasso Tool and then fill the shape to create a solid object in pixels. These are your 100% genuine vexels.
Rasterising your vector shapes makes the illustration turn from vector to raster, therefore it's technically a vexel piece... although as you see previously, it's a bit of a cop out.
Confusion Started Here
Sadly a lot of the confusion started on deviantART, by members who didn't know any better and failed to have the insight to what repercussions would happen with misinforming a larger audience. This has since been corrected but sadly the misinformation is still out there. It's sad that due to the mistake of a few people, the miseducation is out there and people are doing more harm than good to their reputation as artists.
Why Not Call Vexel Art, Digital Art or Something Similar?
Vexel art originated from a group of artists who didn't know any better about what vector art was. Labelling our work back then as misc digital art, didn't make you feel as part of a group any more or that you belonged to a specific type of art work. With a big group of artists suddenly being told "no your work isn't in fact vector" - we all wanted to "belong". We were young and used to hang out on forums. This one thing united us and was common ground. So the term vexel was coined by Seth Woolley and balance was then restored. So I understand the need to want to belong to a group based on a definition of your work, however...
Creating Vector Art and Labelling it as Vexel Art, HURTS You!
Controversial statement here but it's true. The fact of the matter is that vector art is much more universally known. Go to a big design studio and say you can create vexel art and they will more than likely look at you and think you're talking a different language. However saying you create vector art is a lot more credible. This is not to say if you create vexel art or any form of digital art and then label it as vector you'll get kudos... vector artists know what is vector... and they would laugh you out the door!
If you're wanting more attention to your work and it is vector art... label it as vector, not vexel.
If you're wanting to some day have a successful career in graphic design and you're creating vector art... declare it as vector art, not vexel art.
*the exception to this rule is when you zoom into some live raster effects which contain blurs and Photoshop Effects (clue is in the name).