Updated Aug 22,2023
Photo Editing

What is Raster and Vector Graphics?

Raster images and vector images are two different types of image files in graphic design. So, they are two simple but complex forms used in computer graphics. What is the definition of raster and vector images? I think you have seen artwork both in paint and illustrator. Raster programs are something like painting and vector programs are like illustrator drawing. When you are using a raster program, it results in dipping a brush in paint and painting. Unlike the raster program, when you are using a vector program, it will result in you drawing the outline of shapes, which means the vector program works with lines and shapes. Want to know more about this? Ok, I am describing all about raster to vector graphics in detail, let’s look into it,

What is A Raster Image?

Raster graphics also known as bitmaps is a grid of individual pixels of color. You can find a raster image with so many pixels square (like a mosaic) and they are arranged to create raster images. You might be familiar with the word resolution, high resolution, etc. do you want to realize ever what is that resolution? Resolutions are also pixels and pixels are a set grid of dots, so when we say high-resolution images that means, the image contains a greater number of pixels per unit. For example, an image with 500×700 px means that the picture contains 500 pixels vertically and 700 pixels horizontally. Resolutions of raster images are measured on the scale of dpi (dots per inch).

The higher the dpi, the better the resolution.  Humans won't be able to notice pixels while you can see them by zooming in on a picture on the screen. Changing the size of a raster image is something shrinking or stretching the pixels themselves. Raster graphics are highly used for photographs, scanned artwork, or detailed graphics. Raster the program uses adobe photoshop and GIMP and one can use this program in designing and developing websites, app design, icon design, banner design, advertisements design, and other purposes.

Scalability of the Raster Image

We know that the quality of raster images depends on PPI (pixel per inch). A printed raster image quality depends on 2 major things,

  1.    The pixel dimension of the image.

  2.    The pixel resolution is required by a particular printer.

When you are detecting resolution in any output device, what do you think is that the files own eternal specifications? No, it’s not, it is the output capacity of the device. Imagine that you are going to print a brochure that needs a background image including size of 8.5” ×11” inch. Then the image should be at least 2550 pixels in width and 3300 pixels tall with a resolution of 300 PPI. Above all, raster images can’t be scaled to a larger size and if they are scaled, it loses quality and becomes blurry because the entire pixels become larger but they can be scaled down.

Resolution of the Raster Image

Raster image comes and is displayed with a specific resolution. Resolution is nothing but millions of square pixels. The higher the resolution is the greater the number of pixels that have been contributed to form that. So, the size of the raster image has been always at a fixed value. Although, images with high resolution should only be used in the device that can display them. The file size of the raster image comes with different file types like,

  • PNG

  • JPEG

  • GIP

  • TIFF

  • PSD

How to Determine the Best Printing Size for Your Raster Image?

what is raster and vector graphics

If a printer requires a minimum of 300 dpi and you want to print an image in an area that is 5 inches wide, multiply 300pixels × 5 inches = 1500. Your image must be at least 1500 pixels wide.

What is A Vector Image?

Vector graphics is the opposite form of raster graphics. We know about raster images and their structure from the above discussion, now we would know about the vector image. The type of vector image work is almost different from the raster image. While raster images are arranged with pixels or dots, vector images are based on mathematical formulas that define points, lines, curves, and paths. The vector image used a mathematical calculation from one point to another to take shape and also color in an image. zooming in a vector image doesn’t cause cracked feelings because they are composed of true geometric primitives so that they can represent a more structured image.

Generally, vector graphics are less detailed, they contain fewer gradients and less diversity of photo color. Vector graphics are highly used to create such kinds of image versions that are needed to be used in different sizes. In vector graphics, one can easily maintain crisp, sharp edges of an image even if it is enlarged significantly. Without losing quality vectors can be infinitely scaled and it is best to use them for logo design, illustration, engraving, etching, product artwork, etc.

Scalability of Vector Image

No matter how much you scale up or down or how many times you change their size, vector images don't lose their quality and sharpness. Vector images are quickly and perfectly scalable and much more versatile and flexible than a raster image. Since vector images form with mathematical equations, you can resize them by simply recalculating the equation and maintaining crisp, sharp edges.

Mathematical Formula

When raster images are built upon resolution, vector images don’t have any relation to that. It comes with a variety of geometric and mathematical formulas and shapes that calculate the measurement of the image. vector graphics are not resolution-dependent. File size of vector image common vector file types are,

  • EPS

  • AI

  • PDF

  • SVG


Vector programs include Adobe illustrator, sketch, and CorelDRAW.

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Difference Between Raster and Vector Graphics

what is raster and vector graphics

Raster and vector are two different sides of graphic design. Their structure and type of work are almost different from each other. Here I tried to focus on some major differences advantages and disadvantages.


  • Raster is pixel-based

  • Best for photographs, photo editing, and scanned artwork

  • Cannot be scaled up

  • Raster includes large files

  • Raster images are the most common image formats like PNG, JPG, PSD, etc

  • Suitable for painting and detailed editing

  • Some processes are unable to use the raster program


  • Vector is a mathematical formula based

  • Best for creating logos, artwork, illustrations, etc

  • Can be scaled to any size without losing quality

  • Vector images can be printed in any size or resolution

  • Vector graphics include small files

  • Vector art can be used for all processes

  • Vector images file types include eps, ai, pdf, SVG, etc

  • Suitable for drawing

  • Can be easily converted to a raster

Finally, it's time to make the end of the discussion. images whether it is raster or vector, both have their unique qualities and purposes. but it is important to know when you should choose raster and vice versa. raster images are best for photos and vectors are best for logos, illustrations, engravings, etchings, artworks, etc.

But at a large amount, raster and vector services are now commonly used to restore images, logos, and banners that are faded by used after years and years. The vector program is so effective in this issue and can turn old and lifeless images into glowing ones. I used to clarify both of them in this article and now, it’s your time to use them to your advantage.

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