Raster and vector are two popular image formats. While the two formats may be used to represent images, these are fundamentally much different from each other.
When it comes to raster images, these consist of individual pixels (think of pixels as the smallest individual unit for an image). Each pixel individually in a raster image looks like nothing more than a colored dot, however, together these colored dots completes a colorful, lively, and detailed image. Raster images are highly popular because of their ability to display complex visuals easily. The best example of raster images are images taken by our smartphone cameras, which are represented by MegaPixel (MP), essentially representing the number of pixels in an image.
Contrary to raster images, the vector images are defined by the sequential commands that display the lines or shapes (polygons) in 2D or 3D. Vector images are essentially made up of these mathematical lines and polygons, which define the shape, color, and path of the image. And since vector images are defined by the mathematical formulae, these can be designed infinitely. Vector images are highly preferred for simple designs with solid colors. Whereas, vector graphics are highly suited for printing since these can be stretched or compressed as much as possible without the fear of pixelation (image blurring).
Difference between Vector Art and Raster Image
- Vector images are independent of resolution since these are designed based on the lines/shapes defined by mathematical formulae. This means that the vector images can be stretched or compressed as desired, without affecting the quality and details of the design. Contrarily, since raster images are based on pixels (which have a definite size), stretching or compression may result in pixelation/blurring of the image; thus reducing its quality.
- As mentioned earlier, raster images are based on the pixels, which means these images are dependent on the number of pixels that makes up the image. Now, a low number of pixels will result in lower image resolution, and alternatively, such an image can’t be resized or used professionally. Contrarily, vector images can be resized as designed without affecting the quality/resolution of the image
- Since vector images are made of mathematical formulae and lines, these are also device-independent. This means that the quality of vector images won’t be affected irrespective of the device on which it is shown. Also, vector images don’t lose quality when printed through any printer, since they are not made up of pixels.
- Raster images consist of a number of pixels. An increase in pixel density also increases the sharpness and size of the image. However, any large change in the size of the image (stretch, or compress) will disrupt the sharpness of the image. For instance, a high-resolution (one with a large number of pixels) will not carry the same details if printed at a small size, since it will cause cramming of pixels together.
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