Vector vs Raster Art: Which is Best for Transfers?

Filed in Heat Press Transfers by on June 9, 2011

Vector vs Raster Art:
There are basically two different types of art – vector and raster (bitmap/jpg). Both are useful depending on your end use.

Raster art is made up of tiny boxes known as pixels. An example of a raster image is a digital photograph. Typically, rasterized files end with file extensions such as .jpg, .tif, .bmp, .gif, and .png. One of the most common mistakes made with raster art has to do with scaling (sizing) a rasterized image larger. Since raster art is resolution dependent, you can scale smaller, but you shouldn’t scale larger. This is because there are only so many pixels in the image.  Raster images are measured by their dpi (dots per [linear] inch). A crisp, high resolution image will be around 300 pixels per inch. When scaling larger, the same amount of pixels remain, but over a larger area. Therefore, if you scale a high resolution (300 dpi) photo twice the size, you now only have 150 pixels per inch, which is half the resolution previously. When scaling larger, the pixels per inch decreases, which in turn makes the resolution decrease. This creates the distorted and pixilated look.

Raster Artwork

When zoomed in on raster artwork, you can see the pixels that create the image.

Vector art, on the other hand, is not resolution dependent. You can scale it larger or smaller and it will still look the same. Vector art can be used on a golf ball or the same art can be used on a billboard and either one will look clear. This type of art uses mathematical formulas to create the artwork. There are no pixels involved. Instead, it uses points and curves to create shapes. This type of artwork is created in applications such as CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator, which can have file extensions such as .cdr, .ai, and .eps.

Vector Artwork

When zoomed in on vector artwork, lines and curves are smooth.

How does this all fit in to our transfers?
Rasterized artwork is fine for our Stretch Litho transfers as long as it is high resolution at full size (300 dpi or higher). Also, vector artwork is perfectly acceptable as well.

If you are interested in our screen printed transfers, the printing process differs some. In this case, you can send us raster artwork, however, it will only be used as a guide from which the artwork will be recreated. Vector art is preferred for screen printing.

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