Bitmap vs Vector: What is the Difference?

There are two major 2D graphic types, Bitmap and Vector. If you work with graphics, it’s important to understand the difference.

Bitmap or Raster Images

Bitmap Images (also called Raster Images) are made up of a grid of pixels and dots. The smaller and closer together the dots, the clearer the image will appear. As that image is enlarged, the size of each pixel grows. Enlarge the image enough and it will become grainy and each individual pixel can become visible.

  • Adobe Photoshop creates Raster images.
  • Photographs are typically Raster images.

Vector Images

Vector Images are mathematical equations which form shapes by creating a series of points connected with straight lines or curves. Vector graphics can be enlarged or reduced indefinitely while retaining perfect lines. Moving, scaling, rotating or filling does not degrade image quality. Vector images also take up less disk space.

  • Adobe Illustrator creates Vector Graphics files.
  • True Type fonts are Vector images.
bitmap vs vector comparison illustration

What does it mean to rasterize?

Rasterization takes text or an image described in vector graphics format and converts it into a raster or bitmap image.

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