KostyART

Logo - KostyART.

Raster and vector graphics

approx. reading time: 3 mins

Raster and vector graphics - introduction

Raster images and vector illustrations are the main image formats of today’s printed materials. To understand how to work with these formats, it is first necessary to know their main differences and their advantages and disadvantages. On this page you will learn some basic information about their use and the most commonly used formats.

1. Basic differences between raster (bitmap) and vector graphic

Raster graphics is any image composed of image elements (or pixels) used to reproduce detailed tonal images such as photographs.

Vector graphics use precisely defined shapes such as points, lines, and curves to describe images, making it capable of easily describing almost any shape without compromising image quality at any magnification.

2. Their advantages and disadvantages

The advantage of raster graphics is its easy modification in any graphic program and the ease of capturing a more complex image using a scanning device (camera, mobile phone, scanner, etc.).

The disadvantage of raster graphics is that they do not contain enough information to produce a clear image when enlarged, in which case the pixels are considered unwanted artefacts (pixelation) that make them lose quality and sharpness.

This, on the other hand, is an advantage of vector graphics, which remain sharp regardless of the degree of magnification because they are based on path rendering.

But again, it is not suitable for writing larger colour areas and its use can be more memory and CPU intensive in some cases.

3. Most used formats

JOINT PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERTS GROUP (JPEG),

PORTABLE NETWORK GRAPHICS (PNG),

TAGGED IMAGE FILE FORMAT (TIFF),

WINDOWS BITMAP (BMP),

GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT (GIF),

PHOTOSHOP DOCUMENT (PSD),

AFFINITY PHOTO DOCUMENT (AFPHOTO)

SCALABLE VECTOR GRAPHICS (SVG),

ENCAPSULATED POSTSCRIPT (EPS),

PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT (PDF),

CORELDRAW IMAGE FILES (CDR),

ZONER CALLISTO (ZMF),

ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR (AI),

AFFINITY DESIGNER (AFDESIGN)

4. Where to use

Raster format is suitable for photo processing and editing and also for many artists who use bitmap graphics for their work.

Vector format is suitable for sending files to CNC (computer numerical control) or for car paintings to be cut on a plotter. Its other suitable use is in technical illustrations where care must be taken to ensure the accuracy and sharpness of the graphics at any magnification.