Use Vector Illustrations And Vector Graphics For Great Images
Computers over the past 25 years have opened up a world of publishing that once was available only to skilled printers. Unfortunately, many computer users don’t make the most of their desktop publishing opportunities because they fail to use vector illustrations and vector graphics to make better pictures.
Donald Duck may have used a pool table to learn his geometry, but we have computers to thank for the way we use vectors in today’s illustrations. Everything from a club newsletter done in a word processing program to the most sophisticated forms of computer-aided drafting and design (to say nothing of those stunning video game graphics) can employ pictures made from lines and curves.
That’s right. Vector graphics are geometry translated into the marvelous world of computers. No matter how we try, we can’t get away from mathematics. In fact, while humans may work their designs using an interface that people can understand, computers understand only mathematics, also known as “machine language”. One of the reasons that computers have revolutionized life on earth over the past quarter of a century is because some very bright people learned how to translate machine language into images and terms that people could easily understand.
However, behind those easy buttons and icons, there’s still a computer that doesn’t speak English, or any other human language for that matter. Computers still need mathematics to perform their functions. When the function is to produce a pretty picture, an image created from geometric formulas for lines and curves really fills the bill.
At the same time, illustrations made with lines and curves work better for humans, too. Besides line-and-curve pictures, the other form of computer pictures is made using a series of dots. This type of picture is known as a “bit map”, or a “raster” image. Unlike visuals created using curves and lines that scale easily, graphics made with dots don’t shrink or enlarge very well. Instead of getting a pretty picture, you often see just bigger dots.
The clarity of their image, the smaller size of their files and their ability to be scaled easily are just some of the reasons that pictures made with vectors have become the preferred form for both print and online publishing today.
Jeff Lee is an expert on vector graphics and has many years of practical knowledge producing and selling vector illustrations to clients throughout multiple continents. He is a staff member of the Creartist board.