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Vector versus Raster (Bitmap) Graphics

Modern engraving technologies require that engraving layout and text are created as vector graphics.

Computer graphics are divided into two types: raster (or bitmap) images and vector images. The major difference is that vector image is independent of size - it can be scaled to any size without compromising image quality. This is not true for raster or bitmap graphics. The edges of bitmaps often appear jagged when resized. In addition vector images can be easily manipulated in terms of color conversion and color substitution and again the quality is going to be 100% sharp.

Raster images are composed of girds of pixels. Vector images are composed of mathematical statements that describe points and connecting paths. Example below illustrates the visual differences between bitmap and raster when images are scaled up.

Vector Graphics (smooth edges)
crystal trophiescrystal awards

Raster Graphics (jagged edges)
engravingcrystal
Vector files can be created with Adobe application. Adobe vector formats are .AI , .EPS or .PDF files.
It isnot enough to paste your bitmap image into Adobe Application and save it as an .EPS or .AI file.
Raster images can be saved as a vector image - but first they have to undergo aconversion process. Each cluster of pixels has to be converted to a vector object. Only then these vector objects can be grouped together and saved under a vector file extension. Sometimes images can be converted by using automated processes, other times they need to be redrawn from scratch as a series of vector objects.

Recently Adobe Illustrator introduced "e;Live Trace"e; functionality to help with raster-vector conversion process. This feature works great if your original raster image is has sharp edges and high contrast colors. We recommend customers to print vector images prior to submission.

Wherever possible use the vector format for all your type, line art and illustrations and only use bitmaps for photos or images with complex or non-uniform shading. PostScript and TrueType® fonts always appear smooth - they are vector-based.
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