Bitmap Image Vs Vector Image

In order to laser cut your designs, we need a vectorised version of your artwork. Not sure what that means? Keep reading and you’ll soon be a pro.

What is a bitmap?

A bitmaps is a type of image file comprised of thousands of pixels with colour values that are arranged in a grid to form a larger image. A photograph, for example, is made up of thousands of tiny coloured pixels – this is a bitmap image. Zoom right in on any photograph and you will see the individual pixels. Common file formats for bitmaps are JPG, PNG, TIFF and GIF.

If you are not sure if your image is a bitmap image, zoom right in to the image – if it appears very blurry, it’s a bitmap; if it’s perfectly sharp, it’s most likely a vector image – see below.

Vector vs Bitmap example

What is a vector?

A vector shape uses mathematical equations and geometric algorithms to create artwork that is easily resized without loss of quality. Vectors can be scaled up without distortion, as they are created using points and lines. Vectorised artwork can be created using vector illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Common file formats are SVG, EPS and PDF.

Why do we need vectorised files for laser cutting?

Here at The Laser Co, we require vectorised graphics (preferably .ai .eps or .dxf format) as that is the format our laser cutting software understands. Our software interprets the linework mathematically and understands the colours assigned to each line, and follows these lines when cutting / scoring.

How do I convert my bitmap to a vector?

There are many ways to convert a bitmap into vectorised artwork. There are a range of free online programs such as – Vectorizer or Vector Magic , which can automatically convert JPG, PNG, BMP AND GIF bitmap images to SVG, EPS and PDF vectorised artwork.

Software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw have built-in image trace options. However bare in mind that the results can be quite rough vectors, which can vary significantly from the initial bitmap.

When converting artwork, keep in mind that the detail and quality of the source image affects the end result. Make sure the image doesn’t have heavy pixelation, is high resolution, and single colour if possible – otherwise the final vector will not be of high quality and may be unusable.  

If you are not able to convert your bitmap, a graphic designer will be able to produce the graphics necessary for our laser cutting software.

Once you have converted your bitmap into vectorised artwork, place your design into one of our templates and shoot it through to us for a quote.