The difference between bitmap graphics and vector graphics

Bitmaps vs Vectors

All computer graphics are based on a series or sequential pixels on a computer screen. The computer stores these pixels in memory using binary (ones and zeros).

For a black and white image, the computer only has to store information about wether a pixel is on or off. For a color image, the computer must also store information about the color of the individual pixel.

Monitors work by turning using red green and blue colors (RGB) in different intensities to produce all the different colors you see on your monitor.

The image information that the computer stores is known as a bitmap...a map of individual pixels.

The computer uses a fixed number of 1 and 0s to represent the colors of an image. We call this Bit-depth. For a black and white image, the computer only has to use one bit on or off (1 or 0) to represent the date.

The computer can choose to use 4 bits (16 colors) 8 bits (256 colors), 16 bits (thousands of colors) or 24 bits (Millions of colors) to save the color data. The more colors are used to store the data, the bigger the file size.

There's essentially two ways of specifying how a graphic looks to a computer. We can describe the graphic to the computer as a series or pixels (bitmap) or describe a mathematical formula for describing the graphic (Vector Graphics).

Vector based graphics are eventually converted to pixels, but because they are calculated, they can be resized without a loss of quality since the graphic is re-drawn at a bigger or smaller size.

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