So explain this Vector stuff - what is a Vector?

Well, to explain what a Vector image is...

You should first understand what a raster image is. All the images you see on the internet are "raster" images. They are made up of "dots" (the technical term is pixels) much like newspaper print. The inherent problem with raster images are that they blur or distort when you enlarge them (this is commonly called pixelation).

Click here to see an example of pixelation (when the "g" is enlarged).

While raster images serve their purpose well on the web, they don't work in the print industry due to this limitation.

When using images in the print industry the image needs to be enlarged to fit the job - for instance; printing your logo on a t-shirt, promotional material, or even an ad for a billboard! This is where vector images come in!

Vector images are not made up of dots - rather, they are made up of geometric shapes and computer instructions. Geometric primitives like points, lines, curves and polygons based on mathematical equations make up the content of a vector image.

Think of a vector image as a list of instructions for the computer to follow. For example, if you had a vector based image of the moon, the computer instructions might go something like this:

  • draw a circle 5 inches in radius, color gray.
  • now draw a smaller circle, 60% smaller than the parent circle, color dark gray (a crater) etc....

So using vector imaging, you can tell the computer to draw the shapes at ANY size. You are NOT enlarging anything, so pixelation does not occur.

Click here to see an example of enlarging a vector image (you can see the "g" is not pixelated).

Raster images that are photographic or very detailed, tend to lose some detail during the conversion process. We make every effort to retain as much detail as possible.

Vectors are often needed for business logos, promotional material, vinyl products, advertising, etc.

Even if you only plan to use your logo or image for the web, it's a great idea to have a "master" copy in vector format. You can use the master copy to create raster images at any size without pixelation - even for the web!

Still have questions? Please feel free to contact us, and we'll do our best to answer your questions!

What software should I use with my Vector Image?

Vector files are very different from "normal" web based images, and thus, require specific software. We recommend (and use) Adobe Illustrator. Other programs may be able to open a vector file, such as Adobe Photoshop, but lose all the benefits of a vector file because Photoshop is meant to work with raster images, so it opens the file in raster form.

Vector Factory converts files from raster to vector form - but you are free to choose whatever vector software you'd like. We do not offer tutorials for working with the vector file after purchase. Many people rely on professional printing services for this if needed.

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