Raster vs. Vector: What Does It All Mean?

The Difference Between Raster and Vector images.
There are two kinds of computer graphics: raster (composed of pixels) and vector (composed of paths).
Raster images are more commonly called bitmap images. A bitmap image uses a grid of individual pixels where each pixel can be a different color or shade. I’ve opened up the Stickergiant logo in Adobe Photoshop. From a distance it looks like a smooth and clean image. But as you zoom in you can see it is made of small pixels. This is a raster image. Vector graphics use mathematical relationships between points and paths, connecting them to describe an image. Here is a vectorized Stickergiant logo, opened in Adobe Illustrator. If I click on it. You can see that it is made up of little dot to dots with little paths. this is the big difference between raster and vector art.
Because this graphic is built mathematically with little points and paths, you can resize the image to any size without loosing detail. This is usually the best format to submit if you want great quality artwork.
So here is a side to side just so you can see the difference better. The one on the left is vector and the one on the right is raster. They are both zoomed in around 400% and you can see that the vector image is still smooth. The raster image is only 300 dpi, which is standard for printing, but if you have access to a higher quality image raster is always great because of its photo editing abilities. Now you know the difference between raster and vector art.

Published by John Fischer on