Understanding Graphics

When designing Web sites, it is important for a designer to properly understand how to save and compress graphics.  There are two types of images used on the Web: Vectors and Bitmaps.  Bitmaps are most commonly used and are also known as PNG, GIF, and JPG.  Bitmaps are composed of pixels unlike vectors which are composed of lines and curves. 

If a designer is creating an image shape such as a circle that will be composed of lines and curves, it is wiser to use a vector as it can retain the detail that a bitmap image cannot.  However, the bitmap is the more commonly used image format as it can compress and display millions of colors as well as is more widely supported than a vector image.

When saving photos for the Web, a designer should almost always save a photo as a jpg image.  While it may seem to be a big concern as to the quality of the image, it isn’t always necessary to save a jpg image at the highest quality possible.  The human eye cannot usually distinguish the loss of color in a smaller file.  Text images should be saved as GIFs or PNGs unless a photo is under the text.

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