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Example showing effect of vector graphics versus raster graphics

Vector graphics are computer graphics images that are defined in terms of points on a Cartesian plane, which are connected by lines and curves to form polygons and other shapes. Vector graphics have the unique advantage over raster graphics in that the points, lines, and curves may be scaled up or down to any resolution with no aliasing. The points determine the direction of the vector path; each path may have various properties including values for stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill.[1][2]

Instead of sectioning off a large region of computer memory and mapping that to the display device, vector display devices use a variable number of lines to create images—hence the term "vector graphics." Since vector display devices can define a line by dealing with just two points (that is, the coordinates of each end of the line), the device can reduce the total amount of data it must deal with by organizing the image in terms of pairs of points.[3]

Vector graphics are commonly found today in the SVG, EPS, PDF or AI types of graphic file formats, and are intrinsically different from the more common raster graphics file formats such as JPEG, PNG, APNG, GIF, and MPEG4.

Overview[Vector graphics are computer graphics images that are defined in terms of points on a Cartesian plane, which are connected by lines and curves to form polygons and other shapes. Vector graphics have the unique advantage over raster graphics in that the points, lines, and curves may be scaled up or down to any resolution with no aliasing. The points determine the direction of the vector path; each path may have various properties including values for stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill.[1][2]

Instead of sectioning off a large region of computer memory and mapping that to the display device, vector display devices use a variable number of lines to create images—hence the term "vector graphics." Since vector display devices can define a line by dealing with just two points (that is, the coordinates of each end of the line), the device can reduce the total amount of data it must deal with by organizing the image in terms of pairs of points.[3]

Vector graphics are commonly found today in the SVG, EPS, PDF or AI types of graphic file formats, and are intrinsically different from the more common raster graphics file formats such as JPEG, PNG, APNG, GIF, and Instead of sectioning off a large region of computer memory and mapping that to the display device, vector display devices use a variable number of lines to create images—hence the term "vector graphics." Since vector display devices can define a line by dealing with just two points (that is, the coordinates of each end of the line), the device can reduce the total amount of data it must deal with by organizing the image in terms of pairs of points.[3]

Vector graphics are commonly found today in the SVG, EPS, PDF or AI types of graphic file formats, and are intrinsically different from the more common raster graphics file formats such as JPEG, PNG, APNG, GIF, and MPEG4.

Vector graphic displays were first used in 1958 by the US SAGE air defense system.[4] Vector graphics systems were retired from the U.S. en route air traffic control in 1999.[citation needed] Vector graphics were also used on the TX-2 at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory by computer graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland to run his program Sketchpad in 1963.[5]

Subsequent vector graphics systems, most of which iterated through dynamically modifiable stored lists of drawing instructions, include the IBM 2250, Imlac PDS-1, and DEC GT40. There was a video game console that used vector graphics called Vectrex as well as various arcade games like Asteroids, Space Wars and many cinematronics titles such as Rip-Off, and Tail Gunner using vector monitors.[6] Storage scope displays, such as the Tektronix 4014, could display vector images but not modify them without first erasing the display.

Modern vector graphics displays can sometimes be found at laser light shows, where two fast-moving X-Y mirrors position the beam to rapidly draw shapes and text as straight and curved strokes on a screen.

Vector graphics can be created in a form using a pen plotter, a special type of printer that uses a series of ballpoint and felt-tip pens on a servo-driven mount that moves horizontally across the paper, with the plotter moving the paper back and forth through its paper path for vertical movement. Although a typical plot might easily require a few thousand paper motions, back and forth, the paper doesn't slip. In a tiny roll-fed plotter made by Alps in Japan, teeth on thin sprockets indented the paper near its edges on the first pass and maintained registration on subsequent passes.

Some Hewlett-Packard pen plotters had two-axis pen carriers and stationery paper (plot size was limited). However, the moving-paper H-P plotters had grit wheels (akin to machine-shop grinding wheels) which, on the first pass, indented the paper surface, and collectively maintained registration.

Present-day vector graphic files such as engineering drawings are typically printed as bitmaps, after vector-to-raster conversion.

The term "vector graphics" is mainly used today in the context of two-dimensional computer graphics. It is one of several modes an artist can use to create an image on a raster display. Vector graphics can be uploaded to online databases for other designers to download and manipulate, speeding up the creative process. Other modes include text, multimedia, and 3D rendering. Virtually all modern 3D rendering is done using extensions of 2D vector graphics techniques. Plotters used in technical drawing still draw vectors directly to paper.

IBM 2250, Imlac PDS-1, and DEC GT40. There was a video game console that used vector graphics called Vectrex as well as various arcade games like Asteroids, Space Wars and many cinematronics titles such as Rip-Off, and Tail Gunner using vector monitors.[6] Storage scope displays, such as the Tektronix 4014, could display vector images but not modify them without first erasing the display.

Modern vector graphics displays can sometimes be found at laser light shows, where two fast-moving X-Y mirrors position the beam to rapidly draw shapes and text as straight and curved strokes on a screen.

Vector graphics can be created in a form using a pen plotter, a special type of printer that uses a series of ballpoint and felt-tip pens on a servo-driven mount that moves horizontally across the paper, with the plotter moving the paper back and forth through its paper path for vertical movement. Although a typical plot might easily require a few thousand paper motions, back and forth, the paper doesn't slip. In a tiny roll-fed plotter made by Alps in Japan, teeth on thin sprockets indented the paper near its edges on the first pass and maintained registration on subsequent passes.

Some Hewlett-Packard pen plotters had two-axis pen carriers and stationery paper (plot size was limited). However, the moving-paper H-P plotters had grit wheels (akin to machine-shop grinding wheels) which, on the first pass, indented the paper surface, and collectively maintained registration.

Present-day vector graphic files such as engineering drawings are typically printed as bitmaps, after vector-to-raster conversion.

The term "vector graphics" is mainly used today in the context of two-dimensional computer graphics. It is one of several modes an artist can use to create an image on a raster display. Vector graphics can be uploaded to online databases for other designers to download and manipulate, speeding up the creative process. Other modes include text, multimedia, and 3D rendering. Virtually all modern 3D rendering is done using extensions of 2D vector graphics techniques. Plotters used in technical drawing still draw vectors directly to paper.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for vector graphics is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). The standard is complex and has been relatively slow to be established at least in part owing to commercial interests. Many web browsers now have some support for rendering SVG data but full implementations of the standard are still comparatively rare.

In recent years, SVG has become a significant format that is completely independent of the resolution of the rendering device, typically a printer or display monitor. SVG files are essentially printable text that describes both straight and curved paths, as well as other attributes. Wikipedia prefers SVG for images such as simple maps, line illustrations, coats of arms, and flags, which generally are not like photographs or other continuous-tone images. Rendering SVG requires conversion to raster format at a resolution appropriate for the current task. SVG is also a format for animated graphics.

There is also a version of SVG for mobile phones. In particular, the specific format for mobile phones is called SVGT (SVG Tiny version). These images can count links and also exploit anti-aliasing. They can also be displayed as wallpaper.

Conversion

The list of image file formats covers proprietary and public vector formats.
raster devices; vector formats have to be converted to raster format (bitmaps – pixel arrays) before they can be rendered (displayed or printed).[7] The size of the bitmap/raster-format file generated by the conversion will depend on the resolution required, but the size of the vector file generating the bitmap/raster file will always remain the same. Thus, it is easy to convert from a vector file to a range of bitmap/raster file formats but it is much more difficult to go in the opposite direction, especially if subsequent editing of the vector picture is required. It might be an advantage to save an image created from a vector source file as a bitmap/raster format, because different systems have different (and incompatible) vector formats, and some might not support vector graphics at all. However, once a file is converted from the vector format, it is likely to be bigger, and it loses the advantage of scalability without loss of resolution. It will also no longer be possible to edit individual parts of the image as discrete objects. The file size of a vector graphic image depends on the number of graphic elements it contains; it is a list of descriptions.

From raster