Broadly speaking there are two types of computer image files. They are Bitmap and Vector. Graphic types of images tend to be Vector and images with texture like photos tend to be Bitmap.
Vector: A vector image is a computer image that uses a Wire Frame or Outlines to define a shapes area. This is made up of mathematical descriptions of paths and fills to define the graphic. A vector image is drawn in shapes and lines called paths. There are various types of Vector Images:
This is a Shape drawn in Flash with the Paintbrush Tool:
Standard shape created in Flash.
If you switch on the Show Layer as Outlines: View > Preview Mode > Outlines (Ctrl Alt Shift O)
Outline or Vector of the Shape.
Note: The Outline shape can be edited with the Sub Selection Tool:
Editing a Shape with the Sub Selection Tool.
Tip: Don't forget to turn Outline Mode off: View > Preview Mode > Anti-Alias (Ctrl Alt Shift A)
Vector Images tend to have a small electronic file size (KB or MB). Flash uses vectors because of the files sizes are small so the files download quickly. Because the image is stored mathematically the width and height size of an image is not important. You can enlarge a vector image and there is no loss of image quality. Even though an image may look bigger in width and height the electronic file size (in KB) remains unchanged!!
Vector images are commonly used in:
Clip Art is usually made of Vector type images.
Fonts are sets of electronic letters and each letter has a shape. These Fonts are normally vector images.
Flash stores images as vector shapes. So when you draw or paint shapes in Flash they are made up of vectors.
Logos are usually made of Vector files can be enlarged to any size without loss of image quality.
3D Rendering programs use Wire Frame or Vector type of images.
To create Vector images you would use programs like Adobe Freehand, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. Most 3D programs would use Vectors.
Definition: Because Vector images are made up of shapes with outlines they are not good at handling images that have textures such as Photos. For this you use Bitmap type images: Bitmap Image
Cross Ref: Tutorial - Pictures for the web
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