Raster vs Vector
There are two main type of image files. Raster and vector
. Raster images are created with pixel-based software or captured with a camera or scanner. Consequently they are more common in general such as jpg, gif, png, and are widely used on the web. Therefore, vector graphics are math defined shapes created with vector software and are not as common. Used in CAD/engineering, 3D animation and Graphic Design for processes that reproduce an image onto an object such as engraving, etching, cut stencils.
To clarify, if you use a raster program you paint an image and it’s similar to dipping a brush in paint and painting.
When using a vector program you draw the outline of shapes. And it’s similar to creating an image with tiles of all different shapes and sizes; e.g. an eye shape, a nose shape, a lip shape.
Pixels vs Vectors
On the other hand, raster images are made of pixels
. Firstly a pixel is a single point or the smallest single element in a display device. Secondly. if you zoom in to a raster image you may start to see a lot of little tiny squares.
For instance, ector images are mathematical calculations from one point to another that form lines and shapes. If you zoom into a vector graphic it will always look the same.
Above all a raster image has a specific number of pixels. When you enlarge the image file without changing the number of pixels, the image will look blurry. If you enlarge the file by adding more pixels, the pixels are added randomly throughout the image, rarely producing good results.
But when you enlarge a vector graphic, the math formulas stay the same, rendering the same visual graphic no matter the size. In addition, vector graphics can be scaled to any size without losing quality.