Bitmap images and vector graphics are both used for computer graphics. Bitmap images, also called raster images are created from a grid of colors called pixels. Each pixels are assigned a specific color value and location within the grid. When working with bitmap images, groups of pixels are edited instead of shapes or objects. Bitmap graphics display subtle gradations of shades, color, and display continuous tones best for photographs, paintings, and art works created from painting programs. The drawback of bitmap images is that the number of pixels are fixed within the grid. Therefore, when the image is scaled up onscreen or zoomed in, the image looks jagged and looses detail. The same result is found when the image is printed at a lower resolution than the original.
Vector graphics are created from lines and curves defined by mathematical objects or geometric characteristics called vectors. The graphic can be moved freely and edited without losing detail or clarity, because they are resolution independent. Whether they are resized, printed to a PostScript printer, saved in a PDF file, or imported into a vector based graphic application, the graphic always maintains its shape. For artworks such as Illustrator types and logos, vector graphics are the best choice for rendering sizes and output media.
Both bitmap images and vector graphics can be created in Photoshop. Any shape tools, pen tool or the freeform pen tool can create vector shapes and paths. Vector arts can be copied and pasted between the creative suite applications. To create bitmap shapes, the pencil tool and the brush tool can be used. To compare the bitmap and vector art, use Photoshop to zoom in or scale the image up and see the difference. Vector and bitmap graphics serve different purposes for projects.
Anna W. is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CS3. She received her bachelor of arts in studio art from the Wheaton College, a master degree in art education from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her teaching experience include: CDIA, New Horizons, Newton Community Education, and free Photoshop CS3 lessons online. For more information, please visit: http://designersbookmark.com
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