The main difference between bitmaps and vector objects is how they are constructed. Bitmaps are blocks of colors assembled in a grid format; vectors are shapes and colors built on mathematical formulas. Each has benefits and restrictions, making one more suitable for printing photographs and the other better for illustrations or logos.
Bitmap (raster) images
The most common image files are bitmap or raster images, which are composed of little blocks of color called pixels organized in rows and columns. Each pixel is assigned a color code and a location, and when mapped together, they form a picture. When you zoom in on a bitmap image, you can see the individual pixels, so there’s a loss of quality. This is often referred to as resolution-dependent since the quality or sharpness of the image depends on the resolution.
Common bitmap image file types include:
- .jpeg (or .jpg)
Vector images are based on geometrical formulas (mathematical equations) based on paths, instead of pixels, to represent images. Because of that, you can edit it, resizing and changing colors without any loss of resolution. This makes them ideal for illustrations, icons, and logos. Vector images are resolution-independent because image quality isn’t affected by size or resolution settings. Made up entirely of shapes like rectangles, circles, curves and lines, vectors are drawn and then filled or stroked with color to create a vector image. Individual components of the image (or paths) can also be modified, edited, and resized without impacting the image quality.
Commonly used for illustrations, line art, logos and icons, vector images are computer-generated and cannot be practically used for photographs or photo-realistic images, which are better suited for bitmaps.
Common vector image file types include:
Corel Vector is primarily a vector-editing tool, but basic image editing is also possible. Learn more about how to create and edit vector images with our tutorials.