Both raster and vector graphics are commonplace on modern computers. Vectors may not be as widespread as rasters, but they are vital in fields like web design and graphic art.
So, what exactly is a vector? How can a vector file be recognized quickly?
What you need to know is below.
What Is A Vector File?
It’s worth repeating that raster (or bitmap) and vector images are the two most common types of digital graphics used on the web and in apps.
Though the differentiation may appear convoluted, it is in fact extremely elementary. To create a raster image, a grid of pixels is used, and each pixel is given a certain color. However, vectors are constructed using only geometrical shapes that have been explicitly described in mathematics.
Since vector drawings may be scaled indefinitely without compromising on resolution or color accuracy, they are ideal for use in situations where high-resolution images are required.
Even though vectors and rasters appear identical at low resolutions, rasters degrade significantly at higher zoom levels.
However, how do you easily recognize a vector file? It’s not hard to tell vectors apart because they typically only appear in a handful of file extensions.
Some Common Vector Formats
Similar to how there are many various raster file types (.JPG,.PNG, etc.), there are also many different vector file formats, each of which serves a specific purpose. The most widely used vector formats currently are as follows:
Commonly Used Vector Formats
- AI: The AI Extension denotes the original format used by Adobe Illustrator. When it comes to developing magazines, apps, logos, and illustrations, Adobe Illustrator is the go-to vector graphics editing program.
If you’re looking for a high-quality vector design program, Adobe Illustrator [AI] is a top contender.
- EPS: EPS is an abbreviation for “Encapsulated Postscript” and is a type of graphic file. It has been around for quite some time and is considered an established vector graphic format. The lack of transparency capability is its biggest drawback, but the fact that it can easily hold a page that has both vector and raster pictures means that it is still widely used.
- PDF: Another very old file format, the Portable Document Format (PDF) is also possibly the most well-known. PDFs are universally compatible documents that maintain their format and appearance regardless of the device or operating system being used to view them. Created and viewed initially in Adobe Reader, PDF files are now supported by a wide variety of software.
- SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG, is a more recent format that is also more user-friendly than many others. These files are often utilized online due to their portability and high quality across a variety of screen sizes and devices.
You can choose the output format for your vectors in several programs.
How To Open A Vector File?
A vector graphics file’s required software for opening is conditional on its intended use. Your choices are as follows:
- Even if the application is meant for raster images, it should be possible to open a vector graphics file and examine or print the contents. For instance, Adobe Photoshop can read AI, EPS, PDF, and SVG files, but it will open the image as a raster with a predetermined resolution. The vector itself can’t be modified and kept in vector form.
- Most vector graphics files can be viewed and printed (but not edited) in a web browser; simply drag and drop the file into the browser to see it.
- If you want to make changes to a vector graphics file without compromising the file’s scalability or resolution independence, you’ll need to open it with a vector graphics editor like Adobe Illustrator. Consider CorelDRAW (the most popular alternative to Illustrator) or Inkscape (a free and open-source alternative) if you’d prefer not to use Illustrator.