Vector Graphics

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Glossary

Vector Graphics

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There are two ways to represent an image on a computer screen, and vector graphics is one of them.  Vector graphics deconstruct a complex image into a set of simpler geometrical objects like lines, curves, and points.


The cathode ray tubes on early computer monitors used vector graphics to generate beams of electrons – lines made of light - that drew images onto the screen, line by line.


The other way to generate images is through use of raster graphics.  Raster graphics represent things as a collection of dots, or pixels.
Modern computer screens employ a raster format.  Either one pixel or a group of pixels is used to represent a part of the given image by assigning that pixel a particular color. 


Interestingly, our eyes, too, are using raster graphics when they catch light that hits the retina with a screen of nerves analogous to pixels on a computer screen.


Although our eyes capture an image as raster dots, it is probable that our brains store this pixilated information as a collection of vector graphics.


With respect to ID card printers, the screen on which you see a preview of the appearance of your finished PVC card is using raster graphics.  The print heads of the ID badge printer are using vector graphics when they interact with ID card printer ribbons to transmit color to the surface of a blank ID card.


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