Battle of the Files: Bitmap vs. Vector

Battle of the Files: Bitmap vs. Vector

In the blue corner, weighing in with the power of almost limitless fine editability, we have “Bitmap.” In the red corner, bringing to the table infinite scalability, we find “Vector” gearing up for battle.

But what specific talents does each contestant bring to the table? We’ll dive deeper to show you.

Bitmap files, also sometimes referred to as raster files, are made of individual pixels. A pixel is a minute area of illumination on a screen. These pixels can be individually edited and allow for rich detail. This is why bitmap files tend to be larger files and are very commonly seen as photographs.

The largest con of pixels is that when you attempt to scale the image, the computer can only guess at what color pixel should be inserted and this leads to blurry, or pixelated, images.

Example of Pixels

Example of Pixels

Vector files, on the other hand, are made up of mathematical points and paths. This is what allows these files to be infinitely scalable. By the dark and mysterious forces of math, computers calculate the distance between the points and fills in the appropriate color.

Vector files are also editable but in a different way. These files are individually layered, allowing you to edit specific objects without affecting the others. (Bitmap files do not possess this capability.)

Vector files do have their drawbacks, however. Because of their simplistic nature, they have limited capabilities when it comes to complex effects or exact coloring.

As the final bell rings on the “Battle of the Files,” neither challenger can be declared champion as each one has their own perfect medium. Bitmap files dominate the photo scene, and vector files command the logo spotlight.
Comment what your favorite file type to work with is and why.

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  1. Pingback: Anatomy of a Logo — Inforgraphic | Argyle Octopus Press – Argyle Octopus Press

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