We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Vectorized Image?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are basically two ways of representing visual data on a computer: through dots and through geometry. The method using dots, in which each pixel is told where to go, is sometimes known as bitmap imaging, and more commonly known as raster graphics. The method using geometrical formulas is known as vector or vectorized graphics.

Historically, vectorized images were frequently used because they required much less memory than raster images. Most of the oldest graphical computers used graphics that were characterized by long arcs, circles, and other simple geometrical shapes, because they could be represented with only a few lines of mathematics, rather than a detailed description of where each pixel had to appear. As computers advanced and memory became less of an issue, vectorized images became less commonly used in most applications, where they were replaced by raster images. Vectorized graphics still remain, however, and are seeing something of a resurgence in popularity, for a number of reasons.

Vectorized images describe every aspect of their shape in terms of a mathematical formula. To see how beneficial this can be, imagine a simple shape, such as a circle. In a raster image, a circle that is 100 pixels wide will have to store where each of the pixels in that 1,000 pixel area is placed. If one were to zoom in on that image, one would start to see pixelization, since only those 1,000 pixels were described.

By contrast, on a vectorized image, a simple mathematical formula would describe the radius of the circle and the fact that it is a true circle, and the processor could calculate the rest. Not only is this a lot less information to deal with, but if one were to zoom in on the image, it would continue to have a smooth line, since the processor would just keep calculating the arc of the circle. This allows vectorized images to be manipulated much more easily – grown or shrunk, twisted and bent – without any distortion or loss of quality. It also means that higher-resolution monitors will display the vectorized images as higher-resolution graphics, while a raster graphic has a set maximum resolution at which it can be viewed, beyond which point no increase is noticeable.

Vectorized images are commonly used in computer assisted design, in many rendered images for movie special effects, and increasingly for computer animation. The popular Flash format makes use of vectorized images, allowing a much higher resolution in much smaller files than traditional raster graphics, making the images ideal for Internet applications and movies.

A constantly evolving field of computer intelligence is automated raster to vector conversion. Many programs attempt to automate the process of transforming a raster graphic – such as a painting or photograph – into a vectorized version, which can then be more easily manipulated, and in many cases may be much smaller in file size. Many vector-image programs, such as Freehand, include a Trace tool that automates this process, and a number of specialized applications exist, each with its own pros and cons.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By anon157769 — On Mar 04, 2011

this site is awesome and so so so helpful, especially this article. thank you so much.

By Techn0madgrl — On Mar 14, 2008

I just discovered this website and Specifically this article….BIG help!!! I just started a new job and know nothing about how signs are created… so now I am learning with the help of this website. Thank you

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.