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Design Illustrator Foundations Introduction to Adobe Illustrator Vector vs. Raster Graphics

Shan W.
Shan W.
4,910 Points

Why use raster (or Photoshop) at all, when vector graphics seem so much better?

After watching the Vector vs. Raster graphics video, I'm just wondering, what are the pros and cons of each? Why use Raster at all?

5 Answers

Pixels are the primary unit of measurement in the digital world. When working with raster images, you can be certain that your device can read and perform well with a relatively small file size. Raster based images are more standardized than vector based images. For example, every element on this web page has a specific pixel location, regardless of whether it's vector or raster based. In terms of the web, I don't see a need to decided whether or not a vector or raster should be used. Most users won't be using a site zoomed to an extent where content (excluding photos) will be distorted by expansion or compression. The only use I see for vectors is for something being used for print, or used across multiple platforms (not limited to digital).

Nick Ocamp, vectors are very precise. They do not logically fill in gaps of content by sampling surrounding area they way rasters do. With this being said, you could expect a vector photo to lose a lot of the information in a scene when taking a poto. I'm sure there'll be something like this soon; but I doubt it could be 100% vector. It would be great to blow up a photo without it being completely distorted.

Long story short, pixels are here to stay.

Ben Attenborough
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Ben Attenborough
Front End Web Development Techdegree Graduate 32,769 Points

Vectors are very useful, especially for type and symbols where there is a need for a flexible system for resizing. I think it is a case of deciding which type is best for the job at hand. Raster is generally best for photos, vector for icons and type. However there will always be exceptions.

Actual pictures taken with a camera are all raster images, because that's how cameras work. Until cameras are able to map out vector paths (which would be awesome), we're stuck with raster images in that respect. Also, until not very long ago, browser support wasn't very strong for vector graphics, so we're still on a transition period where things are moving from raster to vector, but change is slow.

Note: I'm no expert in graphic design by any means, but that's what I understand to be the case.

Konrad Pilch
Konrad Pilch
2,435 Points

I would also add that Vector images are used for games more likely . If you build a gam for mobile , lets say iOS system then you have pretty different sizes . If you use a vesctor image, it will be perfect in any size.

While in photoshop, the picture will get lury and pixelated which will made it odd for the user .

Photoshop more for editing real photos .

Like they all mentioned above . A few more examples : p

It depends on the use. While vector images are scalable, they may loose detail on very complex designs and have limited colors. Raster images have infinate color gradients. All photos are crated as raster images and computers display as raster images. Converting to vector images is an unnecessary step in most cases. Vector images are more when output is going to print.

You use raster tools, like Photoshop, to manipulate photos. You can use it for vector graphics, but it's best for photo editing. For instance, you might use Photoshop to enhance a product photo, or a photograph of a person or a landscape, such as making a dessert look like tastier, or a person look slimmer, or landscape look more inviting. Then, if you were building a layout or a some other composite work, you might take that photo and bring it into Illustrator or another program (such as After Effects), where the focus of the work is not on photo editing. Or, you might output directly from Photoshop, if your output really needs to be an image.