What is the difference between Vector based imaging and Raster based imaging?
Raster files tend to be things like photographs and is based strictly on pixels. For this reason, the larger you make a raster image, the more the quality decreases/the more ‘pixelated’ it becomes in appearance. To determine the raster images quality, check its dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pizels per inch). A “hi-res” or “high resolution” file for print is 300dpi/ppi.
Take a look at the two AG globes below. The smaller image is the original and has a good resolution for its size. However, if you enlarge the image, like the globe on the right, the resolution isn’t as good. Instead, it is blurry and ‘pixelated’. This is a very common issue in the printing industry. Often enough, art work is sent as smaller sizes then what the requested finished size is. Be sure to check your images resolution before deciding a final size.
A couple of popular raster editing/design programs from adobe are Photoshop and Lightroom. Gimp is a example of a free raster design program.
Common file types for raster images are .jpeg/.jpg, .gif, .png, and .tif.
For logos, it is best to use a vector. Unlike a raster image, vector images are based on math. As a matter of fact, expanding a vector to any size will not become ‘pixelated’ in appearance. In other words, a vector logo will have the same quality on a banner as it would on a business card.
The images below are an example of what it would look like to enlarge a vector image. The quality of both images stay the same even though they are different sizes.
A couple of popular vector editing/design programs from Adobe are Illustrator and InDesign. One example of a free vector editing/design program is Inkscape.
Common file types for vector images are .ai, .eps, .pdf and.svg.
In conclusion, raster images are based on pixels and a vector is based on math. It is better to use raster based images for photography and vectors for logos. It is important to note that saving a raster image as one of the vector file types does not automatically make it a vector. Create vector images in a program with the correct capabilities.
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