The Difference between Vector and Raster Images in Web Design Context
Choosing the right types of images for use on a website is crucial largely because there are several options available and each has distinct pros and cons. Of late, the trends in web design favor vector images more than raster images and this is expected because these two types of images are very different and each has its own upsides and downsides as we are going to see.
A vector image is basically a combination of millions of dots in a mathematical algorithm. The images are drawn using special software and Wikipedia defines them as a combination of various geometrical elements including curves, shapes, polygons and points.
Vector images have tons of benefits when used in websites, the most notable being that because a vector file does not need to store its color or location of every pixel in a picture, the files are often very small – the smallest compared to all other types of images of the same quality and dimensions. Because of this, websites with vector images load faster and use minimal bandwidth. Secondly, vector images are actually very simple despite the complex creation and this makes it easy to scale them without distortion or loss of quality.
Another reason to use vector images in website design rather than raster images is that the former can easily be customized by the designer without the need of complicated software used to create it. This means that a website will have thematic colors and images created from algorithms rather than static fixed bitmap images.
Just as it has its benefits, vector images has a number of notable downsides including the need for images to remain simple in order for them to be properly rendered by browsers and that the images are rarely free.
Most of the pictures you see on websites and what you have on your phone and computer are raster images. Raster images are basically image files taken on camera, created from an application or drawn. To best define raster images, they are image files made from colored blocks called pixels arranged together.
Because raster images are files you can find on your computer or easily take with a camera, they are easy to find and to use because it only needs to be uploaded and fitted on a frame. They are the most effective image types to use where the images don’t have to be resized or where the type of browser would not hamper the visitor’s view of the page whatsoever. Raster images make the clearest, most life-like images that you see on web pages and are perfect for use when a high resolution image has to be used on the website. The most common raster images include
The right image to use on a website depends on what the image is, what purpose it serves and where it will be placed. To choose between vector and raster images, web designers have to understand the basics about them and know their pros, cons and applications.