What are Raster Graphics?
Raster graphics are made of pixels. Pixels are tiny little grid squares that are filled with color. These little grid squares are packed tightly together to create an image. Sometimes raster graphics can become pixelated when they are enlarged, that is you can begin to see the blank spaces between the little squares of color, and the image begins to visually ‘fall apart.
Because of this, raster graphics are resolution-dependent. The higher the number of pixels per inch (PPI), the higher the resolution of the image, and the greater the enlargement potential of the image. PPI describes the screen resolution of your computer, whereas DPI or dots per inch is used to describe print resolution, or how closely your printer deposits the little dots of ink or the printed page in order to show the printed image. In either case, an image looks “pixelated” when the image is below the required PPI or DPI for optimal resolution.
What are Vector Graphics?
Vector graphics are composed of mathematically drawn lines, points, and fills. Because of this, a vector image can be scaled up or down, and I mean, way up and way down, without losing resolution like a raster image will. You can take a vector image and size it to an 8 ½ by 11-inch paper or smaller as well as you can size it to a huge sign that is 70 by 91 feet or more and it will still be true to the image that you’ve designed. For this reason, a vector image is not resolution-dependent.
Determining The Conversion
Raster to vector format conversion can vary dramatically. There are multiple methods of conversion and there is no single software that makes it possible to convert automatically 100% of the time. Some kind of human intervention is often required – and understanding this will ensure that you have the high-quality format conversion that is required for your individual needs.
Common Problems in the Conversion Process
There are many common problems that you will experience during a conversion. Particularly when you have a raster file, lines will often touch each other, and automatic programs cannot decipher properly. This requires CAD experts to make hand-drawn adjustments.
The integrity of your format needs to be considered at all times and therefore the raster to vector conversion needs to be taken into consideration as well. Lines, hatch patterns, and more can cause issues.
Whatever you choose to perform a conversion, it is important to select a company that understands the common problems and knows how to overcome them. This is the only way to get the quality vector drawing that you require for your project.