Bitmap vs. Vector Based Graphics

It’s almost impossible to discuss graphics software without first establishing an understanding of the differences between the two major graphic types: bitmap and vector images.

The following “fill in the blank” activities will test your understanding of the characteristics of both types of graphics.

Bitmap/Raster GraphicsVector Based Graphics

Bitmap/Raster Graphics

tiny dots
8 mega pixels
bitmap-pixelsBitmap images (also known as images) are made up of in a grid. Pixels are picture elements; of individual colour that make up what you see on your screen. Pixels are defined by 2 properties: their position on the picture/grid and their colour value. These properties are stored in a bitmap file for every single pixel in the picture.

The colour value of each pixel is determined by the RGB colour code. (Red Blue). Each colour is made of a mix of these 3 primary colours. Each of these 3 colour have a value between 0 and 256. Hence a bitmap can have up to 256* 256 * 256 = 16 possible shades.

Red: (255, 0, 0) Purple: (85,0,85)
Yellow: (255,255,0) White: (255,255,255)
Cyan: Black:

When you use a camera or a or a graphic tablet you create bitmap pictures.

Bitmap pictures come under different file extensions: BMP, GIF, JPEG, , TIFF.

The quality of a bitmap file is determined by its which tells you how many pixels the bitmap is made of. For instance a digital camera can have an resolution.

Pixel art graphics used in retro arcade games are a good example of bitmap pictures. You can create your own pixel art online using

Vector Based Graphics

geometric shapes
CAD drawings
Vector Based graphics (also known as object-orientated graphics) are made up of many individual . Each of these shapes can be defined by mathematical/geometric statements and has individual properties assigned to it such as colour, fill, and size, , ...

All these geometric based data is saved in a vector based graphics as instructions such as:
DrawLine Red, 1 pixel wide, 10 pixels long From position x=20 y=40

When editing a vector based graphics each object can be edited individually. Objects can also be to be moved/resized/rotated together.

Cliparts from the clipart tend to be vector based. are also vector based.

Vector based graphics do not loose quality or pixelate when they are resized as opposed to bitmap graphics which do or become blurry when they are enlarged or resized. Vector based cannot be as opposed to bitmap files which can be compressed (by loosing some quality)

Vector based files tend to take up less disk space than bitmaps. However Vector based graphics requires more power to be displayed on the screen.

pen-vectorCreate your own vector graphics online using

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