This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

What a vector image is and how it's used in animation and gaming

If you've ever watched a "making of" documentary about computer animation, you already know what vectors are, even though you may not be familiar with the term.

Every computer-animated movie you've ever seen and every video game you've ever played is created with vectors. Vectors are simple lines that are combined together into a "wireframe". That wireframe is then rendered with color and texture.

A vector image is easier for a computer to deal with than a raster image (a Photoshop file is a raster image). A vector image is made up of anchor points whereas a raster image is made up of pixels. Vectors, being a fairly simple mathematical problem for a computer to solve, takes up less processing power.

Software programs like Adobe Illustrator are vector programs for creating still images. Programs like Adobe Flash are for putting those vector elements in motion. More complex animation requires software programs like Maya and Softimage. The best place to start learning about vectors is Adobe Illustrator, which is a 2-D program.