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How are Pixel and Vector images different?

Marvah Mushtaq

The basis of nearly every image format worth using, Pixels and Vectors are the broad categories of modern 2D image files. But what are they exactly, and how are they different?

What is a pixel image?

A pixel image is made up of tiny squares that create one larger image. If you zoom in far enough on pixel images, you can begin to see the square forms within the image. Each of these visible squares is a pixel. A pixel image is usually made in Photoshop.

What is a vector image?

Vector file graphics are more mathematical than pixel images. If you were to zoom into a vector image or make it bigger, you would not see pixel squares. This is because the lines and shapes in the image are mapped out mathematically, so they will always readjust to keep their original shape. Vector images are usually made in Adobe Illustrator.

Differences between Vector and Pixel graphics

Pixel Image Vector Image
Composed of Pixels Composed of Paths
Refresh process is independent of complexity of the image Vector displays flicker when the number of primitives in image become too large
Graph primitives are specified in terms of end points and must be scan converted into corresponding pixels Scan conversion is not required
Pixel graphics can draw mathematical curves, polygons and boundaries of curved primitives only by pixel approximation Vector graphics draw continuous and smooth lines
These are cost effective Cost more compare to pixel graphics
They occupy more space which depends on image quality They occupy less space
File extensions are .TIG, .GIF, .JPG File extensions are .SVG, .EPS, .PDF, .AI, .DXG

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Marvah Mushtaq
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