Some insight into Digital imaging- Why vector images?
The conventional form of imaging is the raster/pixel form of images. These images are made up of a set grid of dots called pixels, where each pixel is assigned a specific color value. Raster images are particularly resolution dependent which means that if when you change the size (say if you zoom in) the pixels themselves are shrunk and stretched. Now this can result in significant loss of clarity producing pixilated or blurry images. Common pixel editors are Photoshop and GIMP.
On the other hand, Vector images are made up of basic geometric shapes such as points, lines and curves. All the shapes created in a vector package like Illustrator are based upon mathematical equations and use points, lines and curves to define a shape. And therefore it allows the image to scale up or down in size without affecting the quality of the image. You can identify a vector image by looking at its edges — a vector image will always appear smooth no matter how much you expand it or how close you zoom it in. Text is one of the most common types of a vector image. Almost all sophisticated graphics systems such as CADD systems and animation software, use vector graphics.
Advantages of vector based graphics over raster based ones-
1. The first and fore-most point being vector based images provide more flexibility purely because they can be resized and stretched. Above this they still retain the original quality of the picture before resizing. Have a look at the following pictures; one is a vector image and the other raster based.
2. Vector images are more web friendly-Vector image files are small and hence they allow easy upload on to the web. These files are based on complexity rather than size or colors hence are small in size making it easy for transfers too.
3. Re-editing vector images are easier- If you wish to change certain small components of the design, these can easily be selected for modification. This even includes changing a particular objects colour.Any component within vector images can be modified separately without affecting rest of the images.
4. Vector graphics are print friendly- Due to the flexibility in vector images in terms of resizing ( vector graphics can be re-sized to the size of a small stamp or even a huge football pitch) they work perfectly within print design; are clean and sharp for creating posters or business card designs which are suitable to be printed.
5. Vector graphics are drawn using the smallest number of points. Hence even complex artwork can keep a relatively low file size.
6. Vector images are ideal for detailed illustrations. Since vectors use lines, it makes it easy to work on detailed images. These detailed illustrations also appear sharp. These serve better purpose than even high resolution photographs especially when you need to use this for presentations, demonstrations etc. It would be a lot clearer and easier to understand such images.
7. Vector images are not restricted to a rectangular shape like bitmaps. Vector objects can be placed over other objects, and the object below will still show through. The vector image and the bitmap image appear to be exactly the same when seen on a white background. But then when you place the bitmap circle over another color, it tends to have a rectangular box around it, from the white pixels in the image.
The role of HTML5 in SVG (Scalable vector graphics)–
Scalable Vector Graphics (or SVG) was conceived as a tool for a vector illustration format for the web in the year 1999. Using the mark up HTML5, SVG can be directly coded into the web page with access to DOM elements for scripting, styling and formatting by default. Its scalability and open source availability has made it especially popular to build applications on mobile platforms. Vector images play an important role in responsive design as well.
However the format has never really made into the transition of desktop imagery. With HTML5 making the underlying code transparent for developers to tweak and transform that may well change.
Choosing the right type of imagery you want to incorporate in your website is a crucial factor because most often it is these images that are a standout in an otherwise monotonous content display.
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