Products & Services Resources & Support Company Info Search Our Site Contact Us
Customer Service Center
Quick Reference

Raster Images vs. Vector Graphics

Raster Images vs. Vector Graphics

Computer graphics can be created as either raster or vector images. Raster images are bitmaps. A bitmap is a grid of individual pixels that collectively compose an image. Raster images render as a collection of countless tiny squares.

Raster images are best used for non-line art images; specifically photographs or scanned artwork.

However, because raster images are pixel-based, just like photographic images, when blown up they get blurry, jagged and rough.

To maximize the quality of a raster image, you must keep in mind that the raster format is resolution-specific -- meaning that raster images are defined and displayed at one specific resolution. Resolution in raster images is measured in dpi, or dots per inch. The higher the dpi, the better the resolution.

A rule to remember: resolution and size are inversely proportional to each other. If you enlarge an image you lower its resolution; if you reduce an image, you increase its resolution.

Common raster formats include: TIFF, JPEG, BMP, and GIF files.

Unlike pixel-based raster images, vector graphics are defined geometric forms such as polygons, lines, curves, circles and rectangles. Because vector graphics are composed of true geometric forms, they are best used to represent more structured images, like line-art graphics with flat, uniform colors. Created images, such as logos, letterheads, and fonts, meet these specifications.

Vector-based graphics are much more versatile, flexible and easier to use than raster images. The most obvious advantage of vector graphics over raster images is that vector graphics are quickly and perfectly scalable. Further, unlike raster images, vector graphics are not resolution-dependent.

Common vector formats include: AI, EPS, CDR, and FH.

In This Section

Precision Color Digital Imaging
4475 W. Sunset Road • Las Vegas, NV 89118
Phone: 702-498-4281 • Phone 702-498-4281