What do we mean by Bitmap?
SuperUser Account

What do we mean by Bitmap?

Bitmap graphics are the most common image format. File formats like JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF and Photoshop PSD, are all bitmap images. They are all made of small points of light called pixels(Fig 1). You may also hear these files called Raster images.

Fig 1 – Closeup of pixel layout, the color building blocks of every photograph.


Fig 2 – Bitmap Image

Bitmaps or Rasters are resolution dependent files, that can not be rescaled without loss of apparent quality.

If the bitmap is scaled up too much, it often appears blurred like in Fig 2.






Fig 3 – Vector shapes created by points and lines

Vector graphics are used to solve this problem as they are generated using math(points, lines, shapes) to create what we see, illustrated by the orange path lines in fig 3. These elements can be rescaled to any size and keep their crisp, smooth finish.

For more details on converting raster to vector capabilities, we have this helpful blog.




So how does Bitmap work with our Vector service?

Almost every image we receive to convert to vector is in a bitmap format. However, vectoring the entire image is not always the best course of action.

Often times we receive portraits or photos of people and are asked to include them in a vector project that contains logos, graphics, and text. Since vector art is unable to retain key realistic details from photographs, we can have everything but those elements converted to vector and have the people or landscapes placed in that image instead.

Under the Notes & Extras page, we offer a Photo Processing option(Fig 4).

Once selected, that lets us know we can place any photographs you may have in your design, be it people, a photo collage, or a background, and keep all the realistic details that we are not able to recreate in vector form in your final design.

Fig 4 – Ignition Drawing order form bitmap placement options


We touched on vectoring people and landscapes in a previous blog and explained the limitations in converting them to a vector image results in a severe loss of detail and shading, creating more of a cartoon representation.

Key things to remember.

When dealing with Vector and Bitmap, it is important to understand the capabilities of both and know when either can be used.

When working with typography or logos, make sure to use vector.

When dealing with photographs, unless you want the art transformed into a cartoon-like representation, always use the Bitmap if possible.

Keep in mind that, once converted to bitmap, vectors cannot be converted back without being redrawn, always be careful when saving your files and keep your vectors in PDF, EPS, AI or CRD.

Always contact our staff if you are unsure an image should or can be vectored, or if redrawing it may result in losing key realistic details.

Previous Article The Right Software For The Job
Next Article What is the difference between a JPG, PNG and GIF?
23683 Rate this article:
No rating

1 comments on article "What do we mean by Bitmap?"

Avatar image


Thanks for explaining the bitmap, you have made it very clear - Andrew Alarm

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment

Theme picker

Digitizing Animals

Digitizing Animals

We are going to look at this subject with a rather broad brush. This article will handle the basics of how to approach digitizing for animals. I use Wilcom as my primary digitizing program so most of my specifications will focus...

Continue Reading →

Day 1 of your Layout Lab Private Label

Day 1 of your Layout Lab Private Label

If you're reading this blog you might be looking for advice on where to get started or how to get your Layout Lab off the ground. We are giving you a free 30-day trial so its a great opportunity for...

Continue Reading →

Corners and Capping

Corners and Capping

Digitizing can be more complex than you think. Something that may seem simple can actually be really difficult to get right. This is true about digitizing corners. What’s so difficult about corners in outlines? You just make a line, transform...


Continue Reading→

An introduction to Layout Lab tools

An introduction to Layout Lab tools

With Layout Lab, creating a design only takes minutes, and saves time with your creative projects, without the need of expensive design software. Put the tools in your customers' hands with your very own Private Label Designer. Getting started is easy...

Continue reading →

All you need to know about Filling White Space

All you need to know about Filling White Space

When filling out your embroidery order you will come across the Fill White Space button. What does fill white space mean? Most artwork presented to us is on a white background, but the question is relevant when there is also...

Continue Reading →