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Art Files 101 | What Graphic Files Work and Why?

Raster Artwork

Raster refers to any piece of art made from individual pixels. While raster art looks good at the size it was made at if you zoom in you can begin to see the individual pixels.

This is what is referred to as “pixelation”.  Pixelation is when you can begin to see the individual pixels in an image.

When the art is at the size it was created at our eyes cannot see the divisions between the pixels. When you enlarge the art, however, the program attempts to stretch a finite amount of color across a larger area.

This is why raster art cannot be easily enlarged. The number of pixels in the image is set in stone when it was created. Enlarge it and you lose quality.

File types that are guaranteed to be raster
.jpg .gif .psd .psb .tif

Vector Artwork

Unlike raster artwork, vector artwork is not made of pixels. Instead, vector art is made of points on a grid. These points (seen in red below) are what the program keeps track of and uses to draw the artwork in real time.

Vector art is essentially a complex game of connect the dots.

When you enlarge vector art the program merely moves where the points are located then redraws the lines connecting them. This is why there is no quality loss when enlarging vector art; because nothing is set in stone.

File types that can be vector
.pdf .ai .eps .svg

Please Note: These file types merely CAN be vector. It’s very possible to paste an image into these files.

Can you match an RGB Color with CMYK?

Short answer: you can’t.
Technical answer: (below)

RGB is additive. The more color (made of light) you add, the closer you get to white. This is why RGB is capable of neon colors; the more color you add, the brighter the color becomes.

CMYK is subtractive. The more color (made of ink, which is reflective, which subtracts light) you add, the closer you get to black.

CMYK has a smaller range, or gamut, of colors it can reproduce than RGB does.

Image PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

PPI is simply as it states: the number of pixels in a 1” x 1” section of the image.

In this example you can see that we have a 4” by 4” image @ 150ppi.

When an image is 150ppi our eyes cannot see the individual pixels at print size.






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