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Friday, February 27, 2009

Vector -VS- Bitmap: A basic breakdown

When creating signs with images or logos, designers prefer what is known as a vectored graphic. There are two major types of 2D graphics. These are Vector and Bitmap images.

Bitmap-based images are comprised of pixels in a grid. Each pixel or “bit” in the image contains information about the color to be displayed. Bitmap images have a fixed resolution and cannot be resized without losing image quality. Common bitmap-based formats are JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, PICT, and BMP. Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image and is usually stated as dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch). Bitmap images are displayed on your computer screen at screen resolution: approximately 100 ppi.


Key Points About Bitmap Images:
• pixels in a grid
• resolution dependent
• resizing reduces quality
• easily converted
• restricted to rectangle
• minimal support for transparency

Common bitmap formats include:
• PICT (Macintosh)
• PSD (Adobe Photoshop)

Vector graphics are made up of many individual, scalable objects. Each of these objects can be defined by mathematical statements rather than pixels and has individual properties assigned to it such as color, fill, and outline. Vector graphics are resolution independent because they can be output to the highest quality at any scale. Changing the attributes of a vector object does not effect the object itself. You can freely change any number of object attributes without destroying the basic object. Because they’re scalable, vector-based images are resolution independent. You can increase and decrease the size of vector images to any degree and your lines will remain crisp and sharp, both on screen and in print. Fonts are a type of vector object.


Key Points About Vector Images
• scalable
• resolution independent
• no background
• cartoon-like
• inappropriate for photo-realistic images
• metafiles contain both raster and vector data

Common vector formats include:
• AI (Adobe Illustrator)
• CDR (CorelDRAW)
• CMX (Corel Exchange)
• CGM Computer Graphics Metafile
• WMF Windows Metafile

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