If you are a graphic designer, I am more than sure, that there have been a lot of situations when you did very hard to explain the difference between vector and bitmap formats to your clients. And you cannot still be sure that they understood it. So, now, instead of trying to explain them all these things, you can just send them the link of this article and I’m sure that after reading this, they will have a sufficient understanding of these terms.
A bitmap graphic is a picture that is made from a lot of small square shapes that have color related info and which are referred to as pixels or dots. The general example of bitmap graphic is a photo and the most used program for this graphic is the Photoshop. In addition, the formats that are most used in bitmap graphics are jpg, png, gif and so on.
Advantages of Bitmap graphics
Details: Have you ever thought what means “dpi”? It means “dots per inch” and shows how much color info a bitmap picture includes. For example, if we have a 1-1 square picture at 300 dpi, it means that we have 300 independent squares of colors that make your image.
Edit options: All the ‘squares’ of color info mentioned above can be changed and edited. So, if you are a professional who wants everything to be perfect, there are many editing options for you in bitmap graphic.
Disadvantages of Bitmap graphics
Unclear: One of the most important disadvantages of bitmap picture is that they are becoming unclear and blurry when they are zoomed in. The reason is that there are many pixels in picture and when you zoom the picture, computer tries to determine which color should be filled in which gap. So, as the computer can’t decide exactly which color should be put, the picture appears to be unclear.
Big size: As I have already mentioned the 1-1 square contains 300 dpi with 300 independent parts of color info, that computer needs to remember. Now imagine that we have 18-24 image with about 129.000 independent parts, which will definitely slow down your computer.
Unlike bitmap graphics, vector graphic utilizes math and with the help of a line, a dot creates some shapes. A bitmap image of 1-1 square contains 300 independent parts; however vector graphic contains only 4 different points in the each corner of the picture. The computers use math and connect with each other these points in order to fill the information inside the picture. The general example of vector graphic is a logo or a font and the most used program for this graphic is the Adobe Illustrator. In addition, the formats that are most used in vector graphics are pdf, eps and ai.
Advantages of Vector graphics
Easily scalable: With the help of math, we can enlarge any vector picture without the lost the desirable quality. In the case of bitmap image, the computer needs to determine the colors of squares when the picture is zoomed, however in vector image, computer uses an equation and creates a desirable shape without quality losing.
Small size: Just because vector images need just 4 points in order to create shapes, it means that the file will be in a small size and the computer will process faster.
Disadvantages of Vector graphics
Less flexibility: Just because the vector images are based on math, it is not practical to use these graphics in more complex pictures, where there is a need for exact colors. Of course, you can create some general and basic colors and shade, but you can’t give the exact colors to each square like in a bitmap images.
Less effect options: As we already know, vector graphics are created by the help of dots and lines. This simply means that it is not possible to apply many effects such as blur or shadow that are possible in bitmap graphics.
In conclusion you should just remember that bitmap graphics are those that are used in photos and have great color details but cannot be zoomed without losing the quality. And the vector graphics are those that are used in fonts and logos and have a chance to be zoomed in without losing the quality; however they have limited coloring options.
Here’s another article you might like: Designers Guide To Getting Started With Sketchnotes