January 2, 2018 10:24 am By: Elisa Ware
Every day, we see images all around us, online, on signs, on clothing, on vehicles, and at every place we visit. Images are at the heart of every marketing and promotional effort, and the clarity of these images is key for conveying your message to your target audience.
Digital images have two categories, bitmap files (or raster images) and vector graphics. Here are some defining characteristics of each, according to Wikipedia and TechTerms.com:
Bitmap images are stored as a series of tiny dots called pixels. Each pixel is a small square that is assigned a color, and then arranged in a pattern to form the image. When you zoom in on a bitmap image you can see the individual pixels that make up that image. Bitmap graphics can be edited by erasing or changing the color of individual pixels using a program such as Adobe Photoshop.
Vector images are not based on pixels, but instead use mathematical formulas to draw lines and curves that can be combined to create images from geometric objects such as circles and polygons. They are comprised of paths, which are defined by start and endpoints, with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape, and can be used to create everything from a simple drawing to a complex diagram. Paths are also used to define the characters of specific typefaces/fonts. Vector images are edited by manipulating the lines and curves that make up the image using programs such as Adobe Illustrator.
Why Does the Printer Ask for my Images in Vector Format?
Vector files are versatile, can be easily manipulated, and offer more creative options:
* Items can be separated from the background and elements can be pulled apart
* Colors can be edited, and will print more consistently
* Can be scaled to any size with no loss of quality or pixilation
* Perfect for detailed images; illustrations will look sharp and clear
* Significantly smaller file size; easier to store and send/transfer to your printer
The biggest advantage of vector graphics over raster images is that vectors are completely scalable. There are no limitations when sizing them, and you will never see any distortion.
Overall, vector graphics are more efficient and produce the sharpest printed results.
The most commonly used formats for raster files are Bitmap (BMP), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG or JPG), Tagged Image Format File (TIFF) and Portable Network Graphics (PNG).
The most commonly used formats for vector files are Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and Portable Document Format (PDF). Adobe’s proprietary Adobe Illustrator (Ai) vector image format is also widely used.
PLEASE NOTE: If your designer sends you images that you cannot open (EPS or AI files), don’t discard them! Most likely these are vector files that you’ll need to send to the printer.
If you’re not sure if you’re using the best images for your project, we can help!
Call (301) 931-0183 today!