Vector- and raster graphics

Basically, digital image files can be divided into two groups. On the one hand there are vector graphics and on the other hand raster graphics.

The main difference is scalability. Vector graphics can be scaled as desired without losing either sharpness or detail. On the other hand, some sharpness and clarity is lost when enlarging raster images.

This difference is due to the way in which the resolution of the respective formats is defined. Raster graphics consist of a certain number of pixels, this resolution always has a certain unchangeable value. It is not possible to enlarge a raster graphic without loss of quality.

Vector graphics are not formed from a certain number of pixels, but they consist of a multitude of paths. These paths are mathematically defined proportions, ratios, widths, heights and other dimensions. Whenever the size of a vector graphic is changed, the image content is recalculated and appears sharp.

Vector graphics can be converted to raster graphics at any time but not vice versa. The creation of vector graphics is reserved for special software. Digital cameras and other recording devices such as scanners can only produce raster graphics.

Due to the scalability, but high complexity in the creation, vector graphics are mainly used for logos and illustrations and raster graphics for digital photographs and reproductions.