What Is The difference Between Vector And Raster Graphics

Vector graphics are computer graphics images that are defined in terms of points on a Cartesian plane, which are connected by lines and curves to form polygons and other shapes.

What is a vector in graphic design?

Vector artwork is art that’s made up of vector graphics. These graphics are points, lines, curves and shapes that are based on mathematical formulas. When you scale a vector image file, it isn’t low resolution and there’s no loss of quality, so it can be sized to however large or small you need it to be.

What is vector artwork?

Vector artwork is art that’s made up of vector graphics. These graphics are points, lines, curves and shapes that are based on mathematical formulas. When you scale a vector image file, it isn’t low resolution and there’s no loss of quality, so it can be sized to however large or small you need it to be. It’s an excellent tool for putting company logos on business cards, creating poster designs, and when photo-shopping in Adobe Photoshop. Any art made with vector illustration software like Adobe Illustrator is considered vector art.

In comparison, raster art (also referred to as bitmaps or raster images) is created using colorized pixels. When you enlarge a raster file with pixel-based art too much, the edges look jagged and the quality is lost. The resolution independence vector art displays allows it to be used in a variety of forms, from small illustrations to massive billboards.

What is vector graphics used for?

Graphic designers use vector graphics to create graphics that need to be scaled. The nature of vector graphics, where each line, curve, shape, and colour is mathematically defined, lends itself to creating images that can be scaled down for a business card or up for a billboard.

What is a vector graphic example?

Rather than a grid of pixels, a vector graphic consists of shapes, curves, lines, and text which together make a picture. … Examples of vector graphic formats are PICT, EPS, and WMF as well as PostScript and TrueType fonts. These are created with GIS and CAD applications as well as drawing programs like FreeHand.


Vector File Formats

The format of vector graphic is called vector files. There are many kinds of vector files, and sometimes it depends on the software that you use, such as:

  • CDR (format from Corel Draw)
  • AI (format from Adobe Illustration)
  • SVG
  • EPS
  • PDF

Characteristics of Vector Images

By using these characteristics below,  you can identify a vector graphic easily. The characteristics of vector graphics are:

  1. Vector images are formed from a combination of individual objects consisting of points, lines and colors.
  2. Image size does not affect the quality of the displayed image, because it does not depend on image resolution.
  3. Has a relatively small size for the image file
  4. It is scalable so it won’t break when the image is enlarged
  5. The resulting image display is less real and natural, so it cannot be used to produce realistic photo images.
  6. When displayed to the monitor screen requires a longer process.

Pros of Vector Images

Vector images can have some advantages than other image format, such as:

  • The storage space used by drawing objects is more efficient.
  • Can be printed at high resolution using a printer.
  • Images can be resized to any size without fear of deterioration.
  • Vector images are easier to edit.

Disadvantages of Vector Graphics

Although vector graphics appear to have many advantages, this file format is not necessarily perfect. This type of format can also have disadvantages. One example is that If the image is converted to a bitmap, it cannot generate the main vector any more and loses all of its vector characteristics.


In computer graphics and digital photography, a raster graphic is a dot matrix data structure that represents a generally rectangular grid of pixels, viewable via a computer display, paper, or other display medium.

What is raster graphic used for?

Raster graphics are best used for non-line art images; specifically digitized photographs, scanned artwork or detailed graphics. Non-line art images are best represented in raster form because these typically include subtle chromatic gradations, undefined lines and shapes, and complex composition.

What is raster graphics with example?

Raster graphics are digital images created or captured (for example, by scanning in a photo) as a set of samples of a given space. A raster is a grid of x and y coordinates on a display space. … Examples of raster image file types are: BMP, TIFF, GIF, and JPEG files.

Raster Images

Word "Raster" with the letter e magnified to show pixilated and jagged edges.

Raster (or bitmap) images are generally what you think about when thinking of images. These are the types of images that are produced when scanning or photographing an object. Raster images are compiled using pixels, or tiny dots, containing unique color and tonal information that come together to create the image. 

Since raster images are pixel based, they are resolution dependent. The number of pixels that make up an image as well as how many of those pixels are displayed per inch, both determine the quality of an image. As you may have guessed, the more pixels in the image and the higher the resolution is, the higher quality the image will be.

For example, if we scale a raster image to enlarge it, without changing resolution, it will lose quality and look blurry or pixilated. This is because we are stretching the pixels over a larger area, thus making them look less sharp. This is a common problem but can be remedied by using raster image editing programs such as Photoshop to change resolution and properly scale images

How are raster images and vector graphics different?

We’ve covered the key differences, advantages, and disadvantages between raster and vector graphics in their respective explanations; now, let’s break them down for comparison purposes. Here are the three most important differences between raster and vector.

1. Pixels versus math

Since raster images are comprised of colored pixels arranged to form an image, they cannot be scaled without sacrificing quality. If you enlarge a raster, it will pixelate, or become blurry. The lower its resolution (pixels-per-inch), the smaller the image must be to maintain quality.

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In contrast, the mathematical equations that form the foundations for vectors recalculate when they’re resized; thus, you can infinitely scale a vector graphic and maintain crisp, sharp edges.

The difference is easy to see when you zoom on in a raster versus a vector; you can see individual pixels in the raster file, but the vector is still smooth. With vectors, resolution is not a concern.

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Raster images are capable of displaying a myriad of colors in a single image and allow for color editing beyond that of a vector image. They can display finer nuances in light and shading at the right resolution. Vector images are scalable, so that the same image can be designed once and resized infinitely for any size application – from business card to billboard.

2. True-to-life graphics

Though it’s possible to make a vector resemble a photograph, the minute nuances of blended colors, shading, shadows, and gradient make it impossible to get a true-to-life representation of a photograph with vectors. Even if it were possible, the process would be excruciatingly tedious, as every color change would require a new shape to be created.

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Rasterized effects can be added to vectors, but it’s not the same as a true vector and things like scalability and resolution become factors to consider.

Rasterized images, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of rendering true-to-life graphics: visually-perfect color blends, shades, gradients, and shadows. Of course, unlike vectors, they’re still limited by dimensional size and resolution.

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3.File type and size

The most common raster file types include JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, BMP, and PSD. The most common vector file types are AI, CDR, and SVG. Both rasters and vectors can be rendered in EPS and PDF format, where the software that created the file dictates whether it’s a raster or vector file.

Common vector creation and editing programs include Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and InkScape. The most popular raster editors are Photoshop (which has limited vector capabilities) and GIMP.

Because rasterized images must contain all the information necessary to render the image (pixels, colors, arrangement of pixels, etc.), they can have large file sizes – and the higher resolution and dimensional size, the larger the file.

Compression can help minimize those file sizes, but compared to vectors, rasters take up a lot of space. Why? Since vectors rely on calculations to be performed by the programs that load them, the only information they need to contain are their mathematical formulas.

This table compares some of the differences, advantage (pros), and disadvantages (cons) between raster and vector images.

Comprised of pixels, arranged to form an imageComprised of paths, dictated by mathematical formulas
Constrained by resolution and dimensionsInfinitely scalable
Capable of rich, complex color blendsDifficult to blend colors without rasterizing
Large file sizes (but can be compressed)Small file sizes
File types include .jpg, .gif, .png, .tif, .bmp, .psd; plus .eps and .pdf when created by raster programsFile types include .ai, .cdr, .svg; plus .eps and .pdf when created by vector programs
Raster software includes Photoshop and GIMPVector software includes Illustrator, CorelDraw, and InkScape
Perfect for “painting”Perfect for “drawing”
Capable of detailed editingLess detailed, but offers precise paths

3 When should you use raster or vector?

Raster images are best for photos, while vectors are best for logos, illustrations, engravings, etchings, product artwork, signage, and embroidery. Some liken raster images to paintings and vectors to drawing; if your project requires complex color blends, such as in painting, raster is the preferred format; if your project requires scalable shapes and solid colors, such as in drawing, vector is the best choice.

Many projects combine raster and vector images together: a brochure, for example, might include a corporate logo (vector) and a photo of happy customers (raster) – often coupled in layout software such as InDesign or QuarkXpress (though Illustrator and Photoshop can also be used to pair raster and vector images).

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Other examples include printing postcards that feature an illustrated background (vector) with a foreground photo (raster), online catalogue printing that features scalable product information tables vector) alongside product images (raster), and business greeting card printing that combines corporate logos (vectors) with photos (rasters).

Ultimately, it boils down to what you’re creating and its intended use. If you need a brand logo that will be used time and again in multiple media – print, digital, television, product etching, signage, etc. – you should create a vector that can be scaled as-needed, then output in whichever format you need at any given time. If you want to edit a photo or make a sweet digital painting, you should create a raster that’s capable of rendering complex color blends and mimicking the natural qualities of light.

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Author: refuge_2020

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