Digital Artwork for Sandcarving: Vector versus bitmap graphics

What's the difference between the two formats?

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Digital graphic files usually fall into two categories: vector and bitmap. Each file format has its own merits in specific situations.

Vector is an ideal format for line art. In this type of file, the artwork is made of paths. Each path is a connected series of points. Path construction allows for the easy alteration of lines in the image as well as easy scaling of images without loss of image quality. Vector art requires software that allows for the editing of paths as well as user proficiency in working with paths. Common programs for creating and editing vector art include Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. There may be some compatibility issues when importing vector art files into some programs in a PC or non-postscript enabled device. Some common file formats that retain vectors are Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, .eps, and .wmf.

Bitmap formats are most common in scanned art. In these files, the artwork is comprised of a large number of dots or pixels. The assignment and number of these pixels is directly related to the resolution of the artwork. Because of this, when resizing bitmap images (enlarging in particular), the edges will become jagged. With this format, it is imperative to scan at a proper resolution. For line art, 1200 dpi is the ideal resolution. Low resolution will lead to poor image quality and a large amount of clean-up time to fix the image to make it workable. This format is highly compatible among software and cross platform. If created at a proper resolution, this format can provide excellent image quality. Common formats include Photoshop, .tiff, .bmp, .jpg, and .gif.

-Darin Jones & Wes Barton, IKONICS Imaging

Darin Jones & Wes Barton

With over 12 years of education experience with IKONICS, Darin Jones is the technical training sales specialist for IKONICS Imaging. As a sandcarving expert, he serves customers in the Midwest region while also training and teaching customers and prospective clients from all over the world. Wes Baron is the national sales coordinator for IKONICS Imaging in addition to serving as the West Coast sales representative. He assists the director of sales with daily operations of the sales department and helps other territory representatives with individual training, education, and trade shows. 

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