Difference Between Raster and Vector Graphics

Raster vs Vector Graphics

Those who have even a little interest in computer graphics know that graphics cannot be drawn using applications such word processors and spreadsheet, and special applications are required for drawing graphics. Two popular techniques of graphics presentation are Raster and Vector. Though these techniques have similarities, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article.

Vector Graphics

These are generated with the help of drawings or illustration programs such as Adobe illustrator. These graphics are composed of lines, objects and fills that are mathematically defined. These are called vector because length represents magnitude and orientation in space represents direction. A vector file contains information on various shapes such as where they start and also the curve of paths. Reading this information, software draws vector graphics. Some of the popular vector image formats are .ai, .cdr, .cmx, and .wmf. Corel draw and Adobe Illustrator are most popular software that are used for the purpose.

Raster Graphics

These are bitmap images arranged in a grid containing pixels. These small pixels have color information and when they are joined together, an image is formed. Popular raster formats are .bmp, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .png, and .pict. Software that are commonly used to draw raster graphics are Microsoft paint, Adobe Photoshop and The GIMP.

 Difference between Raster and Vector Graphics

• Raster graphics are resolution dependent. This means it is not possible to make changes in size without compromising with image quality. On the other hand, vector graphics are not dependent upon resolution. You can increase or decrease the size without affecting the image quality.

• Raster graphics are always rectangular in shape. This means that when you see these graphics in any other shape, it simply means that the rest of the pixels have same color as the background of the image. On the other hand, vector graphics can take any shape.

• Vector graphics can’t be used to make realistic images, which is possible with raster graphics. Vector graphics seem to have a cartoon like appearance. However, vector graphics technology is advancing fast and soon we may be able to have realistic images just as in raster graphics.