Talk:Vector graphics

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Scaling Illustration[edit]

Added an illustration showing the effect of scaling on vector and bitmap images; this illustration demonstrates a key advantage of vector-based graphics (the ability to scale them to any size without degradation).

Agateller 06:21, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Ice cream is not a translucent neon green liquid that comes in bottles. Where did you find an image that suggested it was? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Terms: Vector Graphics vs. Geometric Modeling[edit]

I have edited the first part. I think an explanation of the relationship between vector and bitmap/raster graphics is helpful since many people use tools inefficiently because they simply don't know there is a difference. The fact that vector and raster images might be mixed in particular applications is no reason for people not to get a basic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different file types and software. I would much rather students were taught the advantages of using say, Inkscape for illustrating their work over Paint even if they ended up generating a jpg from each to go on a web page. Ian Lynch (talk) 16:16, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Please see my comments under the "raster graphics" page.

Presenting "raster graphics" and "vector graphics" as two alternative ways of doing 2D computer graphics made sense in the '70s, but that view is no longer valid or useful today. They are not alternative ways but succesive stages of 2D computer graphics.

What this page calls "vector graphics" is better called (2D) "geometric modeling", and what it means by "raster graphics" are nowadays called "digital images" (as mathematical objects) or "frame buffers" (as concrete data structures). Rendering a geometric model produces a digital image, and virtually all output devices today can only print/display digital images. (In fact, I believe that even large format plotters have been largely replaced by raster-based devices -- essentially wide-bodied printers, using inkjet, electrostatic, or laser technology).

Changing the name "vector graphics" to "geometric modeling" would also allow us to unify the 2D and 3D geometric modeling pages. After all, the basic idea is the same, and many primitives (polygons, splines, etc.) are the same.

Moreover, it seems that many traditional applications of 2D graphics, such as commercial artwork, are being taken over by 3D graphics -- which provide effects like shadows and shading. At the very least, the boundary between 2D and 3D graphics seems to be getting blurred.

Rendering is still often called "rasterizing" , both because of the original vector/raster nomenclature, and because the first algorithms did it in real time, by sweeping the "vector" representation with a horizontal line in sync with the CRT electron bean path ("raster"). That solution was imposed by the lack of a frame buffer. Presently, however, scanline-sweep is only one among many methods for converting the geometric description into an image. For instance, the popular Z-buffer method generates the pixels in random order. Thus "rasterizing", while still in wide use, is a rather old-fashioned word.

Recently I wrote Portable_Document_Format#Layers. I wonder how this would translate into your terminology.--Patrick 12:45, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Well, what about this:

A PDF file often combines geometric primitives, text, and digital images. E.g., the general reference map of the US [1] uses:
In the Postscript/PDF imaging model, these graphic primitives are sequentially painted on a "virtual canvas", in the order in which they occur in the file; so one can have arbitrarily many layers of text, geometric shapes, and images, interleaved in any order. Images can also be clipped to a boundary of arbitrary shape.
In zooming in, the outlines of geometric primitives and text remain sharp and smooth; whereas image data breaks up into separate pixels, rendered as uniformly colored rectangles. An example of a PDF map done entirely with geometric primitives is [2]. In map [3], the colors are provided by a single background image, while coastlines are represented as polylines; the mismatch between the two layers is noticeable when the map is highly zoomed in.

The PDF page still has plenty of room for improvement. The Postscript language and its imaging model certainly deserve a separate page and a better description, and part of this information belongs there. Also, for instance, images are not merely plopped down on to the canvas, but can be dithered according to a "dithering screen" -- which may be either the printer's default or a client-provided one. The Postscript model also allowed one to treat each pixel as a geometric object, and (e.g.) paint each pixel as a tiny hexagon rathr than a square. I don't know how much of that freedom is retained in the PDF model. I am not sure, but I bellieve that Postscript also could perform smooth interpolation of a given image; in that case your remark about zoomingin, above, would have to be qualified. Jorge Stolfi 21:38, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

[[-- (talk) 19:17, 1 February 2017 (UTC)|thumbعلنؤمؤوءت بءتبااالاللتلنعتءىتت]]


Someone make a vector equivalent of this:


Show that it still holds the same shape at larger sizes, and somehow demonstrate the presence of discrete objects instead of pixels. - Omegatron 00:39, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

Why do you want this done? --InvaderJim42 00:58, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Omegatron, judging by your user page. I'm completely convinced that this is something you're capable of doing yourself. So, what's this about? Whether you've posted this comment rhetorically or not, your point is impenetrable either way. 21:13, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree more examples like this one should be used. Making vector graphics out of photos is mostly pretty useless (it isn't done in Wikipedia for example), but for smilies, arrows, flags and stuff like that, it's very useful (and this is done in Wikipedia). Cristan 15:47, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Useless? See the caption on the photo. Oicumayberight 17:31, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Yellowfaceexpand.svg How's this? Althepal 07:29, 7 March 2007 (UTC)


How the "brain" and "eye" work?[edit]

The second paragraph relates vector/bitmap graphics to the way a human "brain" or "eye" works. Is there any source for this information? It certainly seems intriguing but I wonder exactly how much solid research it's based on. Especially when it refers to ""recent studies," which I don't see any link to.--Eraboin 03:52, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I looked around on Google a bit, and found this, which may or may not be of help to you: 'Does the brain know the physics of specular reflection? A Blake, H Buelthoff - Nature, 1990' Homtail 21:49, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

The eye works around the rod and cone system, so that could be considered roughly equivalent to a raster image. The brain percieves things differently--it tends to take in the entire scene, grouping things together and processing images that way. If you see a 9x9 grid of black dots where the rows are spaced farther apart than the columns, you tend to think "three columns" rather than "nine dots." Also, seeing six dots form a triangle makes you think "triangle" before "six dots." There are several different concepts like that, and these kinds of things make up the psychological study of perception. I'm sorry I can't cite any handy sources; I just have what stuck with me after Intro to Psychology. 20:10, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I have removed this section from the article, since it appears no citations are forthcoming. Wikipedia's verifiability policy prohibits us making claims which are neither supported by citations nor easily verifiable by non-specialist readers.

The text I have removed is as follows:

The human eye works as a bitmap picture: it catches the image in a mosaic raster of photon recipient nerves, a pixel image. But the brain — according to recent studies[citation needed] — handles it as a vector image. Perhaps because — like in computers — this is easier to store. It explains why humans can recognize simple drawings like cartoons with just outlines because this is so close to what the human brain makes of the visual world anyway. It also serves as an explanation for the fact that logos and signs with easy and geometric shapes are more easily remembered and recognized.[citation needed]

Naturally it could be restored to the article if citations are provided for these claims. I would note that should this occur, it should be placed in a subsection, not put back in the article introduction, which is supposed to be a basic overview of the article's subject, not a dumping ground for tangential issues (the nature of human vision is not a fundamental aspect of the nature of vector graphics). — Haeleth Talk 10:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Programs Related[edit]

Rotoshop is the program used to create A_Scanner_Darkly_(film)#Animation. It uses a combination of rotoscope with vector graphics.


I think replacing hyphens with dashes in the second paragraph would be fair.
Vadik wiki 00:19, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

"Vector graphicsaaaa" Is the "aaaa" bit on purpose ? Kristian Joensen 21:26, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

also theres some graffiti or somthing like that on the intro, i was going to fix it but i dont know what words went there

Fixed. You can retrieve what was once there from the page history. Oicumayberight 03:59, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I have removed the external links section. Originally I had intended merely to clean it up by removing the spammier links, but when I looked more closely, I discovered that it contained only three types of link:

  1. Advertising for commercial software (AmanithVG, Raster-To-Vector)
  2. Links to sites providing "free" vector graphics files
  3. Links to open-source programs and libraries that handle vector graphics (Inkscape, Cairo)

(1) is classic linkspam, to be scourged with fire wherever encountered. (2) is less offensive, but still advertising; this is an encyclopedia, not a link directory, and our mission in this article is to help people understand vector graphics as such, not to help people find free clipart. (3) then falls to the same issue. Moreover, the internal links to pages like List of vector graphics editors already provide better and more complete information about what software is available to edit vector graphics; it is useless to duplicate this effort badly with an incomplete set of external links.

Since therefore none of the links in the article actually fall into the scope for external links defined in our guidelines, I think we are better off without the section. It can be recreated easily enough if anybody finds a link that is actually appropriate for inclusion. — Haeleth Talk 16:21, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Example photos[edit]

I think both examples should remain. Readers should know that vector graphics are useful for more than information graphics. Oicumayberight 01:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

The camera diagram and the hand/tool picture are clearly useful, but I'm not convinced of the usefulness of the train example. In my experience pictures like that are normally produced by an illustrator drawing them from scratch, probably using raster graphics anyway, so vector graphics will (normally) not be involved. As for reducing bandwidth, note that the vectorised version is actually 1 kb larger in this case. Bandwidth reduction is normally accomplished using JPEG compression, not by converting photos to vectors.
Your experience is not the norm. Most modern illustrations for computer graphics are not from scratch, especially when realistic proportions are the goal. Adobe illustrator is the most popular vector graphic editing program. It allows vector tracing of photos either manually or automatically. The file size of the photo used in the caption is not relevant to the point about file sizes mentioned in the caption. That photo is a bit-mapped version of a vector file. The actual vector file would be much smaller, most-likely by a factor of 10. I don't have the original file. But anyone who uses vector graphics would tell you that this is the case. Oicumayberight 23:56, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Personally I'd prefer to see it replaced with a real-world example of vector graphics -- perhaps a screenshot of an iconic game like Asteroids or something. Or with an example of the kind of thing that is nearly always done with vectors rather than pixels, like a map. But I won't change anything unilaterally. :) — Haeleth Talk 22:42, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
Asteroids? That was an example of vector graphics 30 years ago. There are plenty of examples of more complex uses of vector graphics today. Since wikipedia only displays bitmap graphics, a PDF file would need to be attached. The problem I have is with this whole premise that vector graphics are the exception and yet they are being used more and more since the advent of Macromedia Flash and Adobe PDFs. Vector graphics are used for aesthetic art much more than what is shown in the examples. Oicumayberight 23:56, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

More than one vector graphic example[edit]

This page IS about vector graphics, right? Then, should there not be more than one ACTUAL vector graphic on it? 17:31, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

SVG is the only vector graphic format that can be displayed in wikipedia. There only needs to be one example of a vector graphic per format. Unless you are looking for downloadable links or links on external HTML pages, the other vector formats (PDF, EPS, Flash, WMF, DXF, X3D, etc) cannot be displayed without converting them to a bitmap on this page. Oicumayberight 22:01, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Vector display[edit]

Vector display redirects here, but unless I'm much mistaken, nothing on this page discusses vector displays. What's with that? Rawling4851 00:14, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

All modern current computer video displays translate vector representations of an image to a raster format. The raster image, containing a value for every pixel on the screen, is stored in memory.

Starting in the earliest days of computing in the 1950s and into the 1980s, a different type of display, the vector graphics system, was used. In these systems the electron beam of the CRT display monitor was steered directly to trace out the shapes required, line segment by line segment, with the rest of the screen remaining black. This process was repeated many times a second to achieve a flicker-free or near flicker-free picture. These systems allowed very high-resolution line art and moving images to be displayed without the (for that time) unthinkably huge amounts of memory that an equivalent-resolution raster system would have needed. These vector-based monitors were also known as X-Y displays.

One of the first uses of vector graphic displays was the US SAGE air defense system. Vector graphics systems were only retired from U.S. en route air traffic control in 1999, and are likely still in use in military and specialized systems. 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.

Subsequent vector graphics systems include Digital's GT40 [1]. There was a home gaming system that used vector graphics called Vectrex as well as various arcade games like Asteroids and Space Wars. The Tektronix 4014 also deserves a mention even though the display was static.
What were you expecting besides this? Oicumayberight 01:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
... ok, shoot me. How dumb do I feel right now? Rawling4851 10:58, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

What was wrong with the original camera example?[edit]

I thought the original camera example showed a better contrast of pixelation than the bottle.

VectorGraphicsExample.jpg VectorBitmapExample.png

The bottle only shows a good contrast of the difference when the user looks at the larger version. The thumbnail is only "7x magnified" at the full 1000 × 1125 pixel size. If nobody bothers to click and enlarge the image, the point gets lost. Oicumayberight 03:33, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I can make it more obvious smaller - soon. But the pixelation is still very obvious even as a thumbnail. The reason for the replacement is two-fold: One, the example with the camera is in jpeg, and that is not a good format for this type of picture. Two, the camera picture is fair use, and should not be used when there is a free alternative. Althepal 05:08, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Understood. Oicumayberight 05:10, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion. It would be more obvious with angular part of the bottle than the straight horizontal or vertical lines. There just isn't much close up detail in the bottle. Maybe us the bottle cap. Oicumayberight 05:13, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I replaced the file with a smaller one, showing more magnification, and added text for detail. Althepal 05:29, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Let me know if you think the magnification is too high, and if the sample area is too small, to show the raster up-sizing. Althepal 05:32, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
Looks good. Get's the point across. Oicumayberight 07:46, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I like the bottle the best, but there is a problem with it, the black and white label elements aren't placed correctly, vector is only as good as the placement of the nodes, zoom in far enough with incorrectly placed nodes like in that picture and you see how it's off a little. Gigith (talk) 05:07, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Why is it a bottle of ice cream, by the way? Who thinks up something like that? An0nymous

What's wrong?[edit]

How come Wikipedia has so many problems with vector graphics? When downsized, they are not as smooth as pngs. In some pictures, the elements don't show up when a certain size. I've also noticed that Hebrew letters don't show up unless converted to path. Althepal 20:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


This article is all about how great vector graphics are. It says that, special for vector graphics, you have control over color and elements in the image, and how you can zoom in without pixelation loss. However, this is not what it should say, because: You also have control on colors and inclusion of elements in raster graphics. And it doesn't say how you can't really show a photograph in vector graphics without vectorizing it, and vectorization removes much of the original details. This article focus should change. It should actually focus on how vector graphics work. Althepal 04:43, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

You do have better control over color, you can change a color by simply changing a single value or a few values in gradient(s), the AA is applied for you so it is lossless.
With raster you have to pick a threshold to change colors and it's lossy, or not have any AA, but that'd look horrible. As far as raster goes objects in an image are just a bunch of random pixels, the program doesn't know which pixels are a part of an object and which are the AA, you could layer an image but it still won't really know, and you can't AA a raster image, you can give an illusion of AA but it's not mathematically correct AA and the eye can tell.
You do have more control over elements in vector, you can change any vector in an SVG image with Javascript. You might be able to set up a program where you can smudge around raster graphics but once again that is lossy.
You don't have to lose any detail when vectorizing a photo, you can remake a photo in vector and once converted back to raster have the same pixel color values, it can be done, the problem is more in the power of computers. [1]
I don't think vector and raster are in some kind of completion, most people don't know about vector, so for anyone to care it makes sense to explain it in how it's different from raster.
But what I pointed out above isn't very obvious in this article, and if it isn't explained it's possible somebody would get the wrong impression on how raster works compared to vector. Gigith (talk) 04:59, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

what's in a name?[edit]

Uh, does this have anything to do with Vector#In mathematics?
Thanks in advance. --Jerome Potts (talk) 05:13, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

a vector graphic is painted using object(s). An object is defined using geometry vectors(shapes).
the simplest example is a fractal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:38, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
NO! The so called (2D) vector graphics are usually high-order polynomials! I'll try to find a source to clarify this in the article. (talk) 11:10, 11 August 2014 (UTC)


Article needs an image of CAD software. On Autocad I can zoom in indefinitely and letters, like, symbols, arrows and other stuff are getting larger without losing detail. It's clearly vector graphics technology, if we consider a larger family. --AaThinker (talk) 10:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

What? No one is denying CAD software uses vector graphics. Indeed the CAD article says it Nil Einne (talk) 04:55, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Yet not a single mention here. --AaThinker (talk) 09:43, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Im sure many programs use vector graphics. They dont all have to be listed. -- (talk) 04:21, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

See also[edit]

See also includes some product names. It also includes a link to List of vector graphics editors. Rather than add further products and duplicate the list, I suggest the removal of all product names from See also (after copying any to the list, if they're missing). This proposal will improve ease of page maintenance. --trevj (talk) 11:09, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Object-oriented graphics and vector graphics[edit]

Are both represented by the same mathematical formulas?

What is the explanation for calling object-oriented graphics vector graphics? --Christopher Forster (talk) 21:25, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Not 100% sure what you mean. There were some older devices, called "vector" at the time (such as Tektronix 4010 etc.) which could only display straight line segments, but nowadays curves are considered to be part of basic vector graphics. It's not the 1970s anymore! AnonMoos (talk) 14:18, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi AnonMoos,
Scroll down to: Here's what the Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary (3rd ed. 1997) has to say...
Talk:Raster graphics
--Regards--Christopher Forster (talk) 19:17, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Some people have found the term "vector graphics" to be confusing because not all and in fact not most of the primitives used in "vector graphics" are vectors but rather they are poly-Bezier curves ("poly" as in polyline, also called a path in this context). I'll add a referenced comment in the article about that. So they proposed "object-oriented graphics" as more accurate, but the term as not caught in general. More recently Nvidia's Mark Kilgard has coined the term "path rendering" for the same reason. JMP EAX (talk) 12:09, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

"more than a straight line toward align."?[edit]

The lead says "Vector", in this context, implies more than a straight line toward align. I can't understand this sentence...-- Brainy J ~~ (talk) 19:40, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Neither can I. Can someone explain, please? Rumiton (talk) 15:10, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I took it out. Anyone who can explain what it meant is welcome to restore it. Rumiton (talk) 12:18, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Vector Based Video[edit]

There has recently been a technical article in Red Shark (a video forum associated with the Lightworks Editing program) suggesting that at some future point Vector Based Video will become possible or even inevitable. The Article is; Video Without Pixels-the debate by David Shapton. URL: This is Star Wars as far as current computing power is concerned but Moore's Law has held for decades now & we can anticipate that at some point the computers will be powerful enough to execute such a video technology. The primary advantage will be scalability. With Vector Based Video anything from a wristwatch screen to a giant outdoor screen could be driven by the same video file. Today's video has 2K as the standard High Definition video with 4K beginning to be used on major productions such as "Oblivion." There are usable 8K systems at the leading edge. All these are of course Raster or Bitmap based. There are some experiments in Vector Video being done now. The final point being that once the computers are powerful enough; Why bother with the limitations of the current standard. To be truly current this development in Vector Graphics should at least have a paragraph in the Vector Graphics article. Perhaps Mr Shapton would be good enough to write this for Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tvsterling (talkcontribs) 17:01, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

So I don't forget[edit]

We need a diagram like this. JMP EAX (talk) 10:41, 18 August 2014 (UTC)