“Wow. That looks amazing! How did you do that?”
– GUNNEL LUNDBERG, Head Sculptor, The Laughing Museum
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The Difference Between Vectors & Rasters
The two main types of graphics creation explained.
Digital graphic files will generally fall into one of two categories—vector or raster. Vector graphics, such as logo files, use intricate paths made up of points and lines to create an image. Raster graphics, such as digital photographs, are created using a grid of tiny pixels. Here we’ll further explain the difference between these file types and to help determine which type is required for a variety of purposes.
Vector files, made up of points and lines to create paths, can be scaled up and down without losing quality. This makes vector files the best format for graphic assets such as illustrations, icons and company logos, as the same file can be used for designs ranging from a mobile app to a large billboard without sacrificing quality or increasing file size.
Probably the most common example of vector-based files that we use daily without even realizing it are font files. Each letter that you type is a vector graphic. You can increase the text size or zoom in as much as you want and fonts will still remain clear when viewed online or in standard editable formats such as Word documents.
Although most online graphics are still raster-based, the introduction of vector-based SVG files allows elements like logos, illustrations and icons to be used in apps and web development. This will be an important factor moving forward with responsive site designs, as layouts and design elements are adjusted to fit various screen sizes and resolutions like retina displays.
Raster images are made up of many tiny squares called pixels and are often referred to as ‘bitmap’ images. When zoomed in closely, the individual pixels can be observed. The resolution of a raster file is referred to as DPI (dots per inch) or PPI (points per inch) and is the main determining factor for increasing file size.
Essentially, all digital photography is raster-based. Most graphic files found online are also raster-based and saved for a screen resolution of 72 DPI, a larger file size is usually required for use in printed material where the standard resolution is 300 DPI.
See them in action Vector/Raster Mix
This brochure was designed to be a high quality physical brochure, a PDF to email to potential clients (or for them to download), and a slideshow on a web page (as it is here). The online version is made up of a mix of rasters and vectors. If you download it, you can zoom in on the vectors in your PDF viewer and will see no loss in resolution. All that, and they tend to have very small file sizes since they’re mainly made up of geometric equations and easily coded colours. That’s why they’re great.
DIFFERENT BY DESIGN.
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