Flash uses two primary types of graphics—vector graphics and raster (bitmap) graphics. Although Flash is primarily a vector-based tool, sometimes one image type is better than the other.
Raster graphics include the Windows Bitmap format (BMP) as well as JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PICT and others. Raster graphics use pixels to determine the location type of each piece of color information. While bitmap images are great for high quality images, such as photographs, they can be very large (in file size), which can be problematic when used on Web pages. If not compressed, a large bitmap can take forever to download on the Web. A solution to the large bitmap file size is compression. But bitmap images tend to lose quality when scaled to a higher size.
Vector images use mathematical values to reproduce the appropriate display and can, therefore, be scaled without distortion. As a result, the file size of vector images such as EPS, Adobe Illustrator (AI), Macromedia Freehand (FH8 or FH9) and others are significantly smaller than bitmaps. Unfortunately, vector images can be demanding of a computer’s processor and generally do not reproduce high-quality details without a significantly larger file size.
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