Bitmap vs Vector Graphics

Bitmap vs Vector Graphics

Bitmap vs vector graphics is discussed in this article.

Computer-synthesized images are classified in one of the two categories.

Bitmap Graphics

  • Bitmap graphics is also known as raster graphics. In bitmap graphics, an image is stored using tiny dots, called pixels. The screen is divided into two-dimensional arrays. Each array position corresponds to one pixel. Manipulating bitmap images is simple. We can edit the picture by changing the intensity value of specific pixel locations.
  • Bitmap images are resolution-dependent. Image size is determined by its resolution.
  • Bitmap images preserve the scene by storing individual pixels, whereas vector images are stored using primitive parameters. So vector images are smaller in size than their counterpart.
  • Almost all types of graphics packages (such as paint, photoshop, PowerPoint etc..) support the creation of bitmap images.
  • Bitmap images scale poorly (Refer to Figure (bottom row)).
  • Bitmap images are good at representing realistic images as they allow access and manipulation of individual pixels.

Vector Graphics

  • Vector graphics represent the scene using mathematical formulas and necessary parameters. Typically, such images are displayed using basic primitives like points, lines and curves.
  • Vector-based images are resolution-independent and hence scale well. If we scale bitmap graphics beyond a certain scale and shape border then it begins to convert into a zig-zag pattern. In the vector image, on scaling, the entire image is redrawn with scaled primitive parameters. So vector images can easily sustain the scale change.
  • The scaled image is as smooth as the original one. Unfortunately, vector images are not well suited for web applications.
  • Vector images can be generated in higher-level graphics packages like (Photoshop, Coral Draw, Adobe Illustrator etc.)
  • Bitmap images are well-suited for applications that display a wide range of colours. On the other hand, vector images are better for images having few areas of solid colours. Logos and fonts are often designed as vector graphics.
  • The figure shows the difference between vector and bitmap display. Top and bottom row shows zoom in effect for vector and bitmap images respectively.
bitmap vs vector graphics

Figure: Vector graphics (top row) vs Bitmap graphics (bottom row)

Bitmap vs Vector Graphics

#Bitmap GraphicsVector Graphics
1.Represents scene using pixels.Represents scene using mathematical formulas.
2.Bitmap graphics is resolution dependent.Vector graphics is resolution independent.
3.Bitmap images scale poorly.Vector images are good at scaling.
4.Good for representing realistic scenes.Good for the images having large area of constant colors.
5.On scaling, border starts appearing zigzag.Sustains the change in scale.
6.Such images are suited for web applications.Not suited for web applications.
7.Requires more memory compared to vector graphics.Requires less memory compared to bitmap images.
8.Modification is difficult.Modification is easier.
9.Conversion from bitmap to vector graphics is difficult.Conversion from vector to bitmap graphics is easy.
10.Examples :  JPEG, GIF, BMP etc.Examples : True type fonts, Postscripts, Logo etc.

Additional Reading: Adobe

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