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What is Vector Graphics?

Updated on October 1, 2010

Another word for vector is “line”. Vector graphics is made of mathematical and geometrically defined objects such as points, lines, curves, and shapes. Compilation of all these objects represents images in computer graphics.


How Vector Graphics Work

Vector images abide by a very distinct scheme to create an image. It will take note of directions to draw an image. It will take note of the points placed in addition to the lines and curves which join the points.

So if you want to draw a line, you will just have to specify the first and the ending point of the line and vector graphics will automatically compute the distance between these points and draw a line which would join these two points. This quality of raster graphics is very useful compared to raster graphics since in raster graphics we would have to save position of each dot between the two points to create a line.

For instance a square can be drawn by drawing 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines of definite width which would unite at their end points and then fill this shape with a particular color.

This feature of vector graphics is very useful for the reason that, images created in this way are very small in size as you do not need to save location of each and every point but simply save starting and end points to create any shape. Because of this feature, generally logos are created in vector format so that smooth lines and curves can be created with a small file size.

Scaling or Resizing Vector Graphics

Vector Images can be scaled easily and show really great results with no loss in quality of the image. The image will not become blocky when zoomed or while printing as the equation is computed again in accordance with new instructions and image file will only need to instruct the printer to print the image, larger or smaller than the original and not scale each and every point of the image as it is done with raster graphics.

If you want a 4 inch small logo or a logo for a huge banner, the file size will not increase because the only change would be a number that would define the size of the file. If same had to be done in raster format, the file would have to take note of all the additional pixels as file increases in size.

Coloring Vector Images

Coloring Vector images is fairly easy, for the reason that these images are produced by making use of points, lines and curves and not pixels which assists us to easily color an individual shape without being bothered about each and every pixel. One important point to be kept in mind is, to be able to color a vector object, for example a square you will have to make sure that all the points of the square are closed. If the object is not closed, the program will not color the solid space between the points.


Printing Vector Images

While printing vector images, the printer will not be able to make out the number of dots that needs to be printed but the printer will get instructions about the points, curves, shape, angle etc of the components that puts the image together.

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    • Vector design profile image

      Saim 4 years ago from California

      Interesting post. You share some good points about vectors in this hub. i really like this info.