There are two major formats you’re going to see in the world of digital graphic imagery. Remembering which is which, and understanding the uses and benefits of one over another are apart of the learning process. If you plan to build art through a computer and eventually send that art to print or publish on the web, it’s imperative that you learn the difference.
Vector graphics are based on mathematical curves with control points. The computer does the math and builds curves and points using a complex formula that all computers and software can read and display. From fonts to logos, to detailed illustrations, vector based graphics will produce a razor sharp set of lines, that can be scaled up and down easily and with no loss in quality. It’s the scale-able property that is the most valuable usage of a vector based graphic. The benefit of razor sharp line work should not be taken lightly. Clarity and precision are a paramount quality of a professional line-based graphic.
Raster graphics are based on pixels, or very small squares set in a measured array. For example, a graphic that is 500 pixels wide and 500 pixels high, has 250,000 little squares next to each other that can be tinted in any color a monitor can spray. If the image needs to be scaled smaller, it will compress the pixels and approximately display a more simplified but still visually sharp display of the image. If the image is sized larger, it will begin to “Pixelate” or display artifacts and cause the pixels to look “Fuzzy”. This is the issue with Raster graphics, in that they can not be scaled up without some loss in quality. When working with Raster graphics, consider starting with the highest quality image you can get your hands on, and then only attempt to scale down.
Vector based graphics are the best, they can be turned to raster art, but also be kept as is when importing or using in your creative software. The trouble with Vector work is finding some one who is good enough to craft accurate and tightly controlled line work with the use of Adobe Illustrator. It’s a learned skill and not really related to your ability to draw. A digital illustrator must understand how to use and manipulate what is called “Bézier curve“, which are the handles and controls of a vector line that let you adjust and create such beautiful and scale-able graphics.
We like to think that our vector illustration work is top level, and we’re always striving to expand the craft toward even higher quality. Check out our vector art gallery to see an example of some completed work.