Friday, March 28, 2014

Graphic Design 101: Vector and Raster Images

Are you wondering why your company logo image doesn't look right when you enlarge it for use on a big banner? When speaking to a graphic design professional, do you get confused by her use of the words "vector" and "raster"? If these circumstances sound familiar to you, then the explanation below should clear things up.
What Is a Vector Image?
Vector images are made up of points, lines, and curves which are represented as mathematical equations. When a device displays a vector image, it makes graphs of the equations of the points, lines, and curves. When you view these, your brain sees this as a picture. Vector images can be scaled as much as you like without distortion or loss in quality.
What Is a Raster Image?
Raster images are made up of lots of colored squares that when viewed from a distance, appear to look like an image of something. The pictures produced by your digital camera are raster images. The colored squares, however, are extremely small and can't be seen individually. They are perceived together as a picture by your brain. If you magnify the image enough though, you will be able to see the squares.
When Should a Vector Image Be Used?
Vector images should be used for anything that will be scaled up, such as banners and signs. It is also used for logos, icons, drawings, and promotional posters. Because of their flexibility and versatility, vector images are used in a wide variety of applications. They are not used for photo realistic images, however.
When Should a Raster Image Be Used?
Raster images should be used when you are dealing with photography or are depicting an image with a lot of subtle detail and color shading. They should be used if there are subtle effects such as blurring, or subtle textures. The same is true if you intend to add such effects to the image. Raster images are also used to publish a final design onto a website. The popular web browsers support raster image file types but have very limited support for vector file types.
Raster images have two main disadvantages. One, is that they can't be scaled to any size you want because the small squares or pixels will become noticeable, and edges will lose their distinctness. The other disadvantage, is that big raster images with high resolutions require very large files.
If you have questions about graphic design and its marketing uses for your business, please contact us.

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