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What is Vector Art?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Vector art is one of the two forms of art used by computers, with the other form being bitmap art. Bitmap art is identified as art with file names ending in .GIF, .BMP, .JPEG, .JPG, and .PCX. Vector art, on the other hand, ends in .EPS.

Vector and bitmap art are different in the way they are stored in the art files. Bitmap art utilizes pixels that are saved in a file as a series of numbers. Pixels create several dots of color in order to create the image, which is how the human eye sees pictures. Vector art, on the other hand, saves the image as lines with coordinates of their starting and ending points. This creates simple images, and research has demonstrated that this is the way the human brain sees and stores images.

Vector art is simplistic, and the shapes can be easily edited as necessary later.
Vector art is simplistic, and the shapes can be easily edited as necessary later.

Vector art is easier for a computer to save than bitmap images and takes up less space on a file, which is likely why the brain saves images in the same way. In fact, a poster-sized image saved in this form will only take up a few kilobytes of memory. The same image saved with medium resolution may not even fit on one CD-ROM as a bitmap image.

The images in vector art are basic and simplistic, consisting of lines, points, polygons, and curves. This art is akin to the type of imaging typically used to create cartoon images found in comic strips. In addition, it is typically used to create business logos and signs, making them easy for the brain to remember.

In addition to taking up less computer space to save and to process, there are some other advantages associated with using vector art rather than bitmap art. One of these advantages is the fact that such images can be easily enlarged without distorting the image. Bitmap art, on the other hand, becomes jagged when enlarged, as the squares used to create the image are enlarged.

Another advantage to vector art is the fact that each line within the image is representative of a single object. This makes it easier to re-edit the image as necessary. The same is not true of bitmap art.

Discussion Comments


What about vector art as being an art style with complicated explosive images? (the coca-cola bottle)


@Anon77871: I know what you mean about Art guys leaving. There is a lot of talent out there. I would post a wanted ad on Craigslist and get a bunch of art/graphic design

students to teach you hands on and give them a job. Good luck.


We have three magazines and our art guys keep leaving. We need to be able to do the art work for hot rod magazines, prison magazines, internet website art for the same, t-shirt stuff, stickers, decals etc. Where do I begin to learn and get the software?


I have a question: How can i done vectoring JPEG Images on photoshop 7.0?


Can bitmap images be converted to vector art?


Vector files do not have to end on .EPS.

The prime example being .SVG for "Scalable Vector Graphic", which is also a Web standard for Vector graphics.

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    • Vector art is simplistic, and the shapes can be easily edited as necessary later.
      By: Tasosk
      Vector art is simplistic, and the shapes can be easily edited as necessary later.