What is a vector and how is it different from other image types?
Vector images are path-based mathematical equations which allow unlimited resizing without degradation of image quality, or to put it simply, the image remains smooth without pixelation or jagged edges.
These differ from Raster or Bitmap images which are made up of pixels and are resolution-dependent. This means enlarging the image will increase the size of the pixels making the image look grainy or blotchy with jagged lines and edges.
There are good reason for having these two different styles of image file as some images aren’t practical as a vector. Photographs, as an example, don’t work well as vectors due to their complexity. The different shades, gradients, colors and irregular shapes make it difficult or impractical to be saved as a vector.
Vector images are best suited for images or designs with smooth lines, curves, and shapes with solid colors. Typically this includes logos, graphic art, line drawings and illustrations.
Converting an Image to a Vector
The conversion of bitmap or raster graphics to vector art is called ‘Vectorizing’, and can be done a number of ways. There are programs that can be used to convert bitmap images into vector images automatically such as Gravit Designer, Vector Magic, and Vectorizer.io
You can automatically convert your image to a vector in Gravit Designer for free by importing your image and selecting Modify > Path > Vectorize Image from the App menu.
The other way to convert is through a method called tracing. Not unlike using tracing paper to create an illustration from a photograph, you would import your image into a vector design program (such as Gravit Designer or Adobe Illustrator) and use paths to trace the lines and elements you wish to reproduce.
Examples of Bitmap or Raster filetypes:
- .jpeg and .jpg
Examples of Vector filetypes: