design principles What are the differences between vector graphics and raster graphics?
November 24, 2021
Digital photographs are made up of thousands of tiny pixels, and they can lose quality if they’re not saved at a high enough resolution. When you print a digital photograph, the printer uses even smaller dots to recreate the image on paper. The most common raster files are JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or photographs with complex details to be displayed at a specific size. Raster images or graphics are made up of pixels or tiny little squares of color.
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Vectors are points, lines, and polygons
Their infinite scalability and simplified shapes make them perfect for designs like logos that must be adaptable and easily edited for a variety of contexts. While vectors do incorporate math, you can leave your advanced calculus degree at the door when working with them. Native tools in programs like Adobe Illustrator allow designers to create vector graphics quickly and easily. A vector image is an infinitely scalable digital graphic made out of mathematically calculated paths. Vectors are essentially geometric shapes that can be stretched or curved as need be. We’ll look at the nuances between raster vs. vector images and help you decide which format fits your project.
Other popular programs include CorelDraw and Affinity Designer, and vector images can be both created and edited using these programs. The most common file formats for vector graphics are AI, CDR, and SVG, depending on which software you’re using to design vector raster and vector graphics difference images. Raster graphics require a balancing act just to fit within the acceptable file size ranges of most platforms (think social media platforms!). Rasters shot in 4K Ultra HD resolution will look amazing on your TV, but they won’t be a viable option on the web.
What is a Vector Image?
You typically don’t see the individual pixels unless the resolution is poor, or unless you zoom in on a raster image. Zooming in to isolate individual pixels gives you the ability to edit images with a high level of precision using a tool like Adobe Photoshop. Simply erase or change the color of individual pixels until you achieve the effect you’re looking for. Apart from offering flexibility in terms of scalability, vector graphics also provide ease in duplication. This makes them perfect for businesses looking to create material such as logos, brochures, merchandise, and so on.