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Chapter 11. Using the Paths Palette > Understanding Vector and Raster Images

Understanding Vector and Raster Images

Photoshop is a hybrid application that gives you great control over photographic (raster) images, and seamlessly combines that with the elegance and form of artistic (vector) shapes. When you work on the raster side of Photoshop, you're dealing with an image that is a visual brick wall with each brick (or pixel) identifying one piece of color information. The reason raster images are considered resolution dependent is that once the image is created or scanned, any enlargement of the image forces Photoshop to enlarge and average the existing color information in the document.

This process, called interpolation, is what causes enlarged raster images to become blurred, or pixilated. Vector images are created using mathematical shapes, not pixels, and that's why vector shapes are considered resolution independent. For example, if you enlarge a vector image to 100 times its original size, Photoshop merely changes the mathematical formulas to coincide with the new size, and since vector shapes are constructed of math not pixels, file sizes are extremely small.


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