Bitmap And Vector Graphics

Bitmap and Vector graphics are two main types of graphics that can be used to display vivid information to the viewers. Graphic designing has improved very much during a short span of time. Graphic designing task is done with several intentions in several manners. Depend on the place and the time, the designing methods differs. Number of applications and tools has developed to provide the consumer request to the maximum extend.


Bitmap Graphics

A bit map is a map of bits. The bits are stored in well organized arrays where the array elements are called as pixels. Bitmaps are also named as the Raster Artworks. Possibility of making very smooth color gradations makes it easy to apply photographic or artistic effects. Graphic Interchange Format (.GIF), Joint Photographers Expert Group (.JPG, .JPEG), Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF, .TIF), Encapsulated Postscript (.EPS) are some of the famous Bitmap graphic file formats.

Graphic Interchange Format

It was introduced in 1987 and has become a very popular graphic file format since it supports a wider area of the worldwide web. This format can be used to create the animations as well. With available 256 different colors, it supports 8 bits per a pixel. Images with continuous colors will not be well viewed by this format.

Joint Photographers Expert Group

It is a widely used bitmap graphic format that uses lossy compression. The compression ratio is 10:1 and there is a little quality reduction also.

Tagged Image File Format

TIFF formats are very often used in Apple Macintosh computers. This format can use both lossy and lossless compression techniques. The TIFF format is the standard for document management systems and document imaging.

Encapsulated Postscript

EPS can be used as a postscript document that contains additional information about the file formats. In addition this can be used to have a preview on a document containing information.

Bitmap Graphic software

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Corel Paint
  • Paint Shop Pro

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bitmap Graphics

The main advantage of a bitmap is that it can be accessed sooner through the internet when you have the proper size. The accuracy is very high when displaying image information including the shadings and the other complex and smooth places. Another advantage is that it can be used as a universal format. Most of the Bitmap graphics are not proprietary.

There are many disadvantages of using the bitmap images when it comes to professional level. The main disadvantage is that it cannot get the original quality when resizing. The best solution to overcome this is to cut the image in the size which it is needed to use.

Vector Graphics

Lines and curves are the basics of Vector Graphics. The Vectors are defined by the mathematical drawings and calculations. Illustrator (.AI), Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS), PostScript (.PS), Windows Meta File (.WMF) and Flash Movie (.FLA, .SWF) are some of very popular file formats.Vector images do not have the issue of reducing the quality when zoom the images. The mathematical functions that describe the images can resize the images without getting blurred.


Adobe Illustrator Artworks are proprietary file format of Adobe Systems. There is much software that supports Adobe Illustrator file formats. This AI formats supports both PDF and EPS formats.

Windows Meta File

It can be used in Microsoft Windows systems as a graphics file format. As WMF was a 16-bit file format, the new 32-bit Enhanced Meta File format was introduced to support the windows versions after Windows 3.0. Enhanced Metafile Plus extension and compressed formats such as Compressed Windows Meta File and Compressed Windows Enhanced Meta file formats were announced with the Windows XP released.

Flash Movie

This is also a format developed by Adobe Systems with the intention of making the video streaming available over the internet. The SWF format was released first in 2002, with the Flash player version 6. The latest formats of flash movies are much different compared to the previous versions. There are two main video formats named .f4v and .f4p and two audio formats named .f4a and .f4b.

Vector Graphic Software

  • Abobe Illustrator
  • Corel Draw
  • Macromedia Freehand
  • Macromedia Flash
  • Resizing is better in vectors than the bitmaps
  • Vector graphics usually require fewer amounts of data than the bitmaps.
  • Vector graphics are easy to edit than the bitmap graphics.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Vectors

There are some disadvantages over using the vector graphics. The images with complex curves are hard to reproduce. It can be harder to write the code for a particular image. The vector images come relatively slower. The other disadvantage is that the most of the vector formats are proprietary.

When To Use Vector And Bitmap

Vector will be the best option for images with text, many colored graphic objects. Due to its algorithmic functions, it will not be hard to give a quality image. Bitmaps are the best choice for complicated images with shadows and many shades, 3D effects, textures and photographs. The main thing is to consider when choosing a bitmap image is that to choose the same size that is need to be applied on the corresponding place.

Converting Two Types

Bitmaps to Vectors: The edges of the objects are located in a bitmap image and the resulting shapes are converted into vector objects.

Vectors to Bitmaps: There are two main issues when converting vectors to bitmaps. The first step is rasterization. Determining the color of each pixel can be not that perfect. Vectors being the mathematical functions of lines and curves cannot make a perfect contact with the each pixel of the image.


  • (2009). Retrieved May 2010, from
  • Harris, A. (n.d.). Vector Graphics. Retrieved 05 31, 2010, from


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