Pixel Vs Solid Line In Digital Printing

Graphic designers use both pixel and vector graphics.

In digital printing, images can be made of either pixels or solid lines (also known as vectors), depending on the program they are created with and their intended application. There are advantages and disadvantages to each format, and they largely depend on how the images will be used and what equipment is used both to prepare and print the images.

Pixels

In printing, a pixel is a small element of a raster image, which means that the pixels act as points of color in a two-dimensional grid. Images are commonly made of pixels, and raster images can be stored in a number of formats of varying sizes and degrees of complexity. Pixel-based images are very common in digital printing, particularly in rendering photographic images, because they can effectively display colors by recreating them at the pixel level.

Pixel Limitations

There are limitations to pixel-based printing, however. Since the printed image depends upon the density of the pixels (measured in pixels per inch), this format is heavily affected by resolution. This limits the degree to which an image can be resized: if an image is made too large, the pixels will be visible and the image will appear blurry or blocky. This issue is also linked to file size; pixel-based images can get very large, particularly if they are high-resolution.

Vectors

Vector-based images use mathematical data, including lines, points and curves, to represent images. Where raster images are stored as arrays of pixels, vector images are stored as equations, meaning their file sizes are much smaller. In addition, vector images can be resized without image loss, making them ideal for large-scale use in graphic design. For example, a vector-based logo can be used on both business cards and billboards without either image appearing blurry or pixelated.

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Vector Limitations

Like pixel-based graphics, vector-based graphics have limitations. While vector graphics are practical because they can be resized for a variety of uses, they cannot create photographic images as well as raster graphics. The creation of vector graphics can also be more difficult than editing raster graphics, since changes are not made on the pixel level. In many cases, both raster and vector graphics can be used to create and print designs that use the strengths of each format.