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About Bitmap and Vector Graphics

About Bitmap and Vector Graphics

Computers display graphics in either vector or bitmap format. Understanding the difference between the two formats helps you understand Fireworks, which contains both vector and bitmap tools and is capable of opening or importing both formats.

  • Bitmap graphics are composed of dots, called pixels, arranged in a grid. When you edit a bitmap graphic, you modify pixels rather than lines and curves. Bitmap graphics are resolution-dependent, which means that the data describing the image is fixed to a grid of a particular size. Enlarging a bitmap graphic redistributes the pixels in the grid, often making the edges of the image appear ragged.
  • Vector graphics render images using lines and curves, called vectors, that include color and position information. When you edit a vector graphic, you modify the properties of the lines and curves that describe its shape. Vector graphics are resolution-independent, which means you can move, resize, reshape, or change the color of a vector graphic, as well as display it on output devices of varying resolutions, without changing the quality of its appearance.

You can experiment with the bitmap and vector tools on a blank canvas in Fireworks to see the difference between the two formats.