Research Post #4- What are Vector Graphics?

In class we keep talking about “vectors” and “vector graphics” and I have been confused as to the difference between this type of graphic design and other images. So this research post aims to address this!

Vector graphics are created using shapes and lines derived from mathematical equations or commands. They are sometimes referred to as geometric designs, owing to the manipulation of shapes and lines to create icons and identifiable images.

Unlike the pixels which raster images are composed of, the many shapes and lines that make up vector images mean they are infinitely scalable without losing quality.

You can see in this comparrason, the pixels of the raster image distort when the image is resized beyond its original creation:


Vector graphics hold their smooth lines and polished look upon resizing, making them ideal for big billboards, posters and similar uses.

Vectors are unable to create photo-real images. However technology advancements mean vector drawing has become easier, with programs like Adobe Illustrator (which is used for this assignment). Also, more photo-realistic looks can be achieved by applying bit-mapped textures to vector objects.

This image created using vectors comes pretty close to photoreal!

This image created using vectors comes pretty close to photo-real!

Bitmapped texture

Bit-mapped texture

Vector images can also to be turned into raster images for used on websites (rasterizing). Here you are able to specify the size of the rasterized image to best suit its intended use.

This research has been important for my project because I now understand the benefits of using vector images in my infographic as opposed to using photographs. I have created all my icons and images using vectors so that they are easily to resize and manipulate. This also means the infographic could be used on many different platforms without losing its quality.

Some of the tools I have become familiar with include the pen tool (used to create lines and objects) and the shape tools. The pathfinder tools allow these shapes and lines to be manipulated in relation to each other- joined together, subtracted from each other, etc…



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