Raster vs. Vector Graphics
Chances are, if you've ever worked with a designer, at some point they've asked you for a "vector version" of your logo. The conversation generally goes something like this:
Client: Hey Designer - Attached you'll find a copy of our company logo. Looking forward to seeing those proofs!
Designer: Thanks Client, but the image you provided is a low resolution copy of your logo. This image will not reproduce well on the brochure you'd like printed. Can you please forward me a vector version of your artwork?
Client: Sure... Let me see what I can find.
Client: What's a vector?
This post is designed to answer that question.
There are two kinds graphics:
- Raster - A collection of dots or pixels
- Vector - A collection of paths
Raster graphics use a grid of individually colored pixels to represent an image, whereas vector graphics use a mathematical equation between paths to represent an image. Vector graphics, because of their mathematical composition, can scale up without distortion. In contrast, the larger you scale a raster graphic, the more pixelated the image appears. This concept is illustrated in the example below.
When we magnify the sushi graphic above to 1000% it's easier to see the distortion/pixelation that occurs in a raster image.
|Composition||Collection of individually colored dots or pixels||Collection of paths that form a shape|
Concentration of visual information within a given area
|Defined by a mathematical equation, not by dots or pixels
Photographs and images with highlights and shading
|Graphics of uniform color, layouts, type/text, and illustrations|
|File Size||Larger - Keeps track of individual pixel info||Smaller - Keeps track of mathematical equation|
.BMP - Windows Bitmap
|.EPS - Encapsulated PostScript
.WMF - Windows Metafile
.AI - Adobe Illustrator
.CDR - CorelDraw
.DXF - AutoCAD
.SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics