Bitmap and Vector Graphics; A Simple Explanation
By John Potter
|A bitmap image|
|Closeup of the same image|
Bitmap graphics; sometimes called raster graphics, are made up of a bunch of different colored pixels placed into a pattern that appears as an image when seen at a resolution where the pixels are small. Each pixel is defined by the amount of three colors that it has in it, which are red, green and blue. This is the RGB value you may hear about from time to time. The computer reads three sets of numbers that describes these color values and then displays a pixel with the described characteristics on the screen. This works well for photos and things like that since it can show subtle variations in color and value (light to dark). In print this kind of image is sometimes referred to as continuous tone image. The term “rasterizing” means to taking an image that is not a bitmap and turning it into one.