Understanding Raster & Vector Graphics

Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics. File formats include; .ai, .svg, .dxf, .eps. (Pazzles Standard Software handles all but .svg, Pro Software now Imports .svg)

Vector graphics files store the lines, shapes and colours that make up an image as mathematical formulae. A vector graphics program uses these mathematical formulae to construct the screen image, building the best quality image possible, given the screen resolution. The mathematical formulae determine where the dots that make up the image should be placed for the best results when displaying the image. Since these formulae can produce an image scalable to any size and detail, the quality of the image is limited only by the resolution of the display, and the file size of vector data generating the image stays the same. Printing the image to paper will usually give a sharper, higher resolution output than printing it to the screen but can use exactly the same vector data file.

Raster graphics is the representation of images as an array of pixels and are often represented using dots or squares. File formats include; .bmp, .jpg or .jpeg, .gif, .png.

As the number of pixels is kept constant, the size of each pixel will grow and the image becomes grainy (pixellated) when magnified, as the resolution of the eye enables it to pick out individual pixels.

.pdf file format can be either or both Vector and Raster – Pazzles Pro software can handle .pdf vector but not .pdf raster files. To be able to use .pdf raster files you will need to convert them to .jpg files and then import and vectorise them or create a contour cut. You can convert them using  ReaConverter – click here this works in the trial version (converts 5 files at a time for 15days and then 1 file at a time after that).

Tip from Klo – The easiest way to tell the difference is to zoom in VERY close. If it is a Raster you will be able to see the ‘bits’. If it is a Vector, the line will be clear and easy to see.

Pazzles requires a vector file to be able to cut our image.

Pazzles standard software can import vector files with little if any clean up required (this depends on the original vector image).

Pazzles software can vectorise raster images, however the better the quality/resolution or greater number of pixels the image is made up of the better the vectorised image will be. There is always some clean up required of vectorised images.

Some tips on preparing Raster Images in the Pazzles software.

Use the Colour Transformation tools that can be found under the Image drop down menu to increase the contrast of your image. This usually entails decreasing the Gamma and increasing the values of the other elements.

In the Auto Trace menu try each of the conversion types to see which gives you the best result – do them all and put them side by side to see which is best for you.

Some images do not auto trace vectorise well and you may be able to get a better result by manually tracing the image.

The Pazzles Pro Software imports more types of vector files and vectorises raster files a whole lot better than the Standard Software.