Vector Vs Raster: What Do I use?
When there are two very effective methods to carry out a task that you can choose from, you might waver between the two. This always happens. The Beatles or the Stones? Let us look at the two graphics that are widely used: Raster and Vector. While both are equally good and not every argument favoring either could be considered final, the final decision is left to the designer.
Vector utilizes computer programs that are based on mathematical calculations. The software constructs images by using lines which are also called paths. Resolution has nothing to do with vector paths because there are no dots or bitmap dots. The program facilitates determination of color, size and shape of each line. The combination of all these parameters goes to make up a very graphic image in deed.
Programs like Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator that make use of the mathematical precision of vector paths can make impressive images. You can resize the images as per your requirement without worrying about the quality of the image getting scaled down. You can perceive no difference between the crisp edges in the enlarged image and the original.
Strengths of Vector Graphics
Unlike Raster files that are generally large, vector graphic files are significantly smaller. Storing or sharing is easily accomplished if you design your images using Vector.
Vector can also accommodate its rival Raster: You can easily convert a vector image to raster one.
Limitations of Vector Graphics
However, like any other “perfect” system, vector has its limitations too. Raster handles photographs with finesse which cannot be said of vector.
Use of Vector Graphics
Large scale images used in banners, vehicle wraps or signage can be created with remarkable clarity by putting vector to good use. Promotional posters and logos can be given immaculate look if you use vector.
The most common vector formats you can choose from are:
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), WMF (Windows Metafile, PLT (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language Plot File), DXF (AutoCAD), CDR (CorelDraw) and AI (Adobe Illustrator) and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript),
Raster image usually brings to mind photographs and not any other images. People think that raster is good only for photographs. This is not entirely correct. Graphic programs such as Adobe Photoshop can be used by designers to create other images than photographs. Unlike vector which uses lines, the raster is based on dots or a series of pixels. An illusion of a crisp image can be created easily by packing numerous dots, each of which has been assigned a colour, into a small space. The raster image resolution is determined by the ratio of dots per inch (dpi).
However, the very fact that the images in raster are created by countless dots works against it; Images do not sport the same clarity in a scaled-up environment. Sharpness is almost lost from the enlarged picture. Printers always take to using the standard 300 dpi as the most apt resolution in raster operations. Lesser resolutions will make the graphics unprofessional and unappealing.
Strengths of Raster Graphics
The intricacy and the delicately subtle aspects of a photograph are handled very graphically when you use raster. Adding textures or blurring the sharpness in a particular area can be done with discernment.
Limitations of Raster Graphics
Accurate reproduction depends on image resolution. Pixellation in raster causes the images to break up and so the result is no very satisfactory when enlarging is carried out.
As mentioned earlier, raster files are very large when a fairly large image has to be created. This makes it difficult to store and share the images.
While conversion from vector to raster is easy, the opposite is true when the vice versa procedure is to be done.
Using Raster Graphics
If photography is needed, raster graphic is ideal. Web designers should utilize raster in the normal course. When alterations like blurring or sharpening is needed, images designed in raster can be easily manipulated.
Common Raster File Formats
Common raster image formats include BMP (Windows Bitmap), JPEG (Joint Photographics Expert Group), PNG (Portable Network Graphic), PSD (Adobe PhotoShop) GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) and CPT (Corel PhotoPAINT). PCX (Paintbrush), TIFF (Tag Interleave Format)
Which is better? You can see from the above that it is the designer who has to decide depending upon the specific needs. She/he has to weigh the pros and cons of each software and go for the one most suitable. Like, who is better; the Beatles or the Stones?
Jenny Corteza is an online reputation strategist and a blogger. Her extreme interest in web development and marketing are well defined by her most running blog which is on issues like website directory theme in the web and the best money-making powerhouse.