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Image Type

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All computer images fall into two types; Raster images and Vector images. This will give you brief understanding of both and help you make better decisions in your images or artwork.

Raster Images

Each raster image, sometimes called bitmap images, is made up of tiny dots called pixels. Much like a computer monitor or a TV, the more dots you have, the more detailed the image. This is called resolution. It is set up in a grid pattern of little squares. Web images are generally 72 pixels per inch.  Adobe PhotoShop® is a raster based program. Photos are raster based images.


This is a typical web image



If you zoom in, you can start to see the pixels. This is the same result if you make a raster image larger that the original

Raster image don’t increase image size very well. This just makes the pixels larger and appear chunky to the overall image.

Common file extensions are .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png, .psd,  and .pdf depending on how it was saved

Vector Images

Designers create graphics in vector format. This is the preferred method for any artwork because it uses points and lines to create the image. A vector image the size of a business card can be increased to a bus without any distortion because there is no resolution, just a few points and lines.

The tradeoff is that vector images have to be simple. Signs, lines, and some simple artwork that have solid, clearly defined lines can be vector images. The Mona Lisa cannot.

Adobe Illustrator® is a vector image program.  Common file extensions are .ai, .eps, .dwg, .dxf and .pdf depending on how it was saved

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