Introduction to vector graphics

Vector-graphic shapes are characterized by their being defined with mathematical vectors. The example below shows a vector-graphic image:

Vector graphics has the following advantages over bitmap graphics:

  • Scalability: with vector graphics, the quality stays the same however much the image is enlarged
  • Precision: when drawing vector graphics, it is easy to define the exact size of the images (e.g. a table exactly 130 cm x 80 cm)
  • Small storage size: vector graphics does not require much storage space

File formats and programs for vector graphics

There are several programs for making vector graphics, and the images can be stored in several file formats. The format is often determined by which program has been used for creating the graphics. Some programs that are widely used for vector graphics are Corel Draw (the program’s own file format is cdr), Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand. Freeware for creating vector graphics include e.g. Inkscape.

The workstations in the UH computer facilities usually contain the vector graphics program Corel Draw.

Since there are so many different programs, there are many different file formats for storing vector graphics, such as:

  • EPS (Encapsulated Post Script).
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
  • PS (Post Script)
  • CDR (the file format of Corel Draw). 

Different vector graphics programs can usually convert vector graphics that have been created with another program to the program’s own file format. Sometimes the conversion is not completely successful, so be careful when changing the file format of vector graphics.