How Vector and Raster Images Work in Adobe Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Digital images fall into two camps in Photoshop CS6 — vector images, which are created by mathematical formulas, and raster images, which are made up of pixels arranged in a grid. Photoshop CS6 allows you to produce both types of images and even to combine both types within a single file.

Graphic Type How It Works File Size Image Degradation Possible? Resolution-Dependent?
Vector Mathematical formulas precisely locate and connect geometric
objects and segments.
Usually small No No
Raster Breaks pieces of an image into a grid made up of pixels. Usually large Yes Yes

Even though Adobe Photoshop CS6 can produce vector graphics, its primary mission is to create awe-inspiring raster images. And because the issue of resolution is so critical to raster images, make sure you pay attention to the different methods for sizing and resizing raster images. This can make or break a great image.