Vector graphics

Vector graphics are stored as a list of attributes.

Rather than storing the data for each pixel of an image, the computer will generate an object by looking at its attributes.

Rectangle created as a vector graphic with related attributes shown  as code

The attributes are shown in bold, their values come immediately after the = sign.

It is easy to scale vector graphics without having to worry about the resolution. To alter the size of the rectangle a designer would just need to change the values for height and width.

This would often happen by simply increasing the size of the image by using the pointer within a graphics package. It is also possible to layer objects on top of one another without losing the data that is underneath (as would be the case in bit-mapped graphics).

Bitmap packages use several bitmaps to allow the user to create separate layers as part of an image, however these will always be combined into a single bitmap when the file is saved.

Changing the complexity of a vector graphic image will change its file size because of the additional information which needs to be stored.

  • Vector graphics are stored as a list of attributes
  • Vector graphics are resolution independent, meaning scaling is possible without loss in quality
  • Resolution independence can make best use of high-resolution output devices
  • Layering is possible when using vector graphics
  • Each object and its attributes can be edited independently of the others
  • Generally file size is smaller than that of bit-mapped images unless the graphic contains lots of layers or many complex objects
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a common file format used for vector graphics
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