If you are working in the art or graphics business, the de-facto software for vector based image editing and creation is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator can be used for many different things but is mainly used to producing images for print, media and web based or online graphics.
The program works by allowing you to work with vector based images, layouts and designs, very quickly and easily. A vector image is one that is made from single points that are then connected by lines to make shapes, planes and vertices. Other programs like Adobe Photoshop allow for true image editing to take place with brushes and effects, whereas Illustrator deals mainly with geometrical shapes and patterns. However, this does not mean that, in the right hands, it can rival Photoshop for capability.
The vector file contains different elements that are referred to as “objects”. Each one of these objects has it’s own properties and settings. These could be size, shape, color as well as the exact position on the screen that it appears. The benefit of working with objects is that they can be moved around and edited independently and still retain all of their other properties and settings. This also does not effect the other objects nearby too. Unlike Photoshop, which often distorts items as they are resized or altered, a vector based program like Illustrator lets you work with all of the objects without losing any clarity or quality of the image. When an image is created in Illustrator, it is made by placing points on the screen which are then connected by lines to form shapes. The start and end points are called anchor points and the points in-between that create the curve or surface shape are called vector points.
Another benefit of using vector images is that they are not reliant on the image size. In Photoshop, if you try to increase or reduce the size of the image, you end up with distorted pixels, but as vector images are based on points on the screen, the images can be resized without affecting the overall quality. Vector images look better on devices that have a higher resolution or size but work perfectly well on smaller screens such as smartphones. The Illustrator image can also be stretched to any proportions as it will not lose it’s quality. A Photoshop image, which is created from single dots filling a canvas will cause them to become distorted if they are stretched. However, you can convert a vector image to a bitmap or Photoshop version if you want – but you cannot easily convert back the other way.