Digital designs can be created with Raster files, Vector files, or a combination of each file type. This info explains the difference between raster vs vector.
Raster Digital Files
Raster (or Bitmap) images are made up of pixels or tiny squares of individual colors which come together to form the images you see on your computer screen. They are produced by digital cameras, scanners and pixel editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter or Gimp. Raster files are the best format for photographs or photo-like elements with blends of color. Raster images do not retain their appearance as size increases. For example, when you blow up a photograph it will become blurry or pixilated; it loses image quality. For this reason, you should always create raster images larger than you intend to use them; just in case you need to enlarge them in the future. Raster files can always be reduced in size without diminishing image quality. Raster file types include .tif .jpg .png .gif .bmp .psd (.eps and .pdf can be either raster, vector, or a combo of the two file types.) Vector images can also be easily converted into raster images.
- The use of different color pixels allows for smooth blends of colors
- Represents and edits photo and photo-like elements better than vector programs with the use of continuous tones
- Large and detailed images also equals large file size
- Is bound by the number of pixels in the image and cannot be scaled up without losing quality
Vector Digital Files
All vector files are high-resolution because vector art is created mathematically without the use of pixels. Rather than using fixed pixels to display art, vector files mathematically represent the relationships between points and the paths connecting them together. Vector files are created with programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Inkscape. You can take a raster image and place it into a vector file but this does not make it vector. Vector files must be created with the tools in the vector program. Vector file types include .ai .cdr .svg. (eps. pdf. can be either raster, vector or a combo of the two file types)
- Can be scaled to any size without losing quality
- A large dimension vector graphic can maintain a very small file size
- Not a good format for photographs or photo-like elements with blends of color