What is the Difference Between Vectors and Pixels?

When it comes to images and their graphics, not many people take the structure of the image into consideration. It is essential to understand the difference as it can greatly affect the way that your design or image is printed.

Pixel based graphics are made from pixels which can be seen when you zoom in on your image. The quality of these images is based on the resolution of the image. When you are expanding the size of your graphics, it is important that when they are pixel based, they are set to a high resolution. While this means that your image size will be large, it means that it has less chance of looking blurry when enlarging the image to your desired size.

Vector graphics on the other hand are measured out using mathematical equations where the edges of the shaped are calculated to sit in relation to one another. This also includes the colour, type of line and the fill of the graphics. Due to this factor, it means that no matter how you resize them, they will always maintain their shape and so no pixels show when you zoom in. The quality of the image will remain, no matter how large you require the design.

How Will I Know If the Graphic Is Pixel or Vector Based?

Typically, vector graphics are made using Adobe Illustrator and have one of the following file extensions; .ai, .esp or .pdf. Although, not all files under these extensions are vectors. Pixel graphics are made on software such as Adobe Photoshop and have these file extensions; .jpg, .tiff, .psd or .bmp.

Here at Wotton Printers, we would recommend that any of your graphics or design work are sent to us in the format of a vector image, as this will mean that design will not change or lose its quality; whether it be for a phone case or a billboard. In most cases, a pixel-based image will print to a high standard, if the image has been saved to a high resolution, though it is not recommended for large scale printing.

You can tell that a graphic is pixel-based or a vector image, by zooming in a considerable amount. By doing this, you can tell that the image is pixel based if it started to become blurry and pixelated. A vector image will still look the same quality when zoomed in substantially.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pixels are great for images that have a lot of detail and blends of colour. With a high-resolution pixel image, you can get an image printed onto a variety of platforms, although you are limited on the size of print that you want doing. Vector images, in contrast, are amazing for up scaling and resizing the design to whatever proportions you want. The only downfall is that you are limited on the shapes, colours and blends due to the nature of the structured formats. Vector images are great for typography and logo design as you are not limited on the sizing and can get a high quality print at any size.