Difference between bitmap images and vector graphics

A first basic difference between images refers to whether they are bitmap or vector.

When we work with bitmap images, they are defined by a mesh of small squares called pixels, each of which must have information about its position within the mesh and its color. Therefore, creating a bitmap image requires a fairly large amount of information, which generally requires a large amount of memory.


Vector images, on the other hand, are made up of mathematical instructions. For example, if we want to draw a blue circle with a thickness of one millimeter, we need to provide only four pieces of information: the center of the circle, the radius, the color and the thickness of the line. With these four data the computer can draw the circle and its definition will be perfect.


What are one or the other used for?

Vector images are indicated for infographics, graphics, maps, diagrams and other types of illustrations. In addition, they are easily editable, they can be deformed, rotated, widened, stretched, changed color, thicken the lines, label ... and the size can be adjusted exactly to the destination we want, without loss of quality. Being defined by mathematical instructions, it is the same to the computer that the final image occupies a centimeter or 20 meters. The following image shows the difference between a vector circle and one made in a bitmap (that is, using pixels):


Bitmap images, on the other hand, are more difficult to edit, but have the advantage that they faithfully represent images of reality, such as photographs, charts, drawings, etc. With a vector image it would be impossible, for example, to show a landscape or a portrait with the fidelity that a bitmap image does. In any case, vector graphics supports the import of bitmap images, with which we can combine the advantages of each type of image in a single project.

We will see all this throughout the course.

Last modified: Friday, 22 May 2020, 6:22 PM