Vector images are mathematically defined based on geometric characteristics. Basically, vector images are described by geometric primitives which describe lines, points, polygons, and curves which can be attributed with shades and colors. They are very different from raster images which are grids of pixels.
First, let’s look at the advantages:
- Vector images usually require less disk space as compared to bitmap. They are formed mostly by simple gradients or flat colors since they don’t require too much disk space. Hence, they are preferred over other images.
- They don’t lose quality when you scale them. They can be scaled indefinitely. When it comes to matrix images, after a point, the pixels are visible. The quality of vectors is much more.
- They can be modified and saved easily. The process is quite simple. All changes can be managed without much difficulty. Even for modified files, the resultant files don’t occupy too much space.
- The process for creating them is pretty simple too. They make use of simple drawings to get complex vectors too. User-friendly, simple programs like Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Draw can be used for this.
Now, the disadvantages:
- They aren’t too suitable for encoding videos or pictures from the real world. They do support mixed compositions, though.
- The data used for describing them needs to be processed by powerful machines. If the volume of data is high, it slows down image rendering even if the files are small in size.
- One more disadvantage is that even the smallest of errors in the drawings are visible when you enlarge images to an extent. These incidents can affect image quality, especially when used in animation.
Despite these disadvantages, vectors have a number of applications and are implemented in architecture, computer graphics, engineering, and many other fields. This is why they are still so popular.