By Chris Karel published May 16, 2017

What do you mean a JPEG of my logo won’t work? 

If you are a marketing manager, training professional, or business owner and you need to make a video, then “The CRAFT: Video Production Blog” is for you. The purpose of this post is to explain the difference between vector and raster graphics and give you pro-tips for using both types in a video production. So, please comment and let me know your experience.

I recently had a discussion with a long-time client named Leo. Our project kick-off meeting went down like this:

Me: Now that we have August 12th as our deadline, I can create a timeline for the project. I will look for your first draft of the script next Thursday. And, let’s plan on meeting up at the location a week before the 12th so I can get the layout and make a detailed call sheet and shot list.

Leo: Sounds good; anything else?

Me: Yes. If you have brand guidelines, please send them. Also, I need any “already-made” assets that you want to include, such as photos, infographics, and your logo in vector format.

Leo: What? What do you mean? I can send you a JPEG; what’s a vector?

There are two main types of graphics: raster and vector. To fully understand the difference, let’s look at definitions for each. Then I’ll offer tips for using each image format in your video projects.

What is a raster graphic?

Raster is a type of graphic output file. Think of a raster graphic as painting with pixels. If you were to try and enlarge a painting, it would blur and distort. A raster file is usually difficult to modify without loss of information. Every pixel you see is defined in a raster, so trying to make it larger results in stretching those pixels like you would wet paint. The result is blurry shapes.

Raster file types (end with these letters) – png, bmp, tif, gif, jpg  

What is a vector graphic?

Vector graphics are a type of source file originally created in a program like Adobe Illustrator. They are preferred by printers and makers of video graphics where a crisp-lined image is needed, as in this case, logos. Vector art is made up of mathematical equations that define where points, lines, and shapes exist in space. This makes a vector graphic infinitely scaleable.

Vector file types (end with these letters) – ai, epssvg

How should I use a raster graphic in video?

Use them at their original size or you can scale them down. Raster graphics cannot be enlarged without making the image look blurry.  If I try to enlarge a raster graphic logo on screen it will blur making the video look amateurish, which reflects poorly on the brand.

Enlarged raster graphic results in unprofessional looking blurry edges

Enlarged raster graphic results in unprofessional looking blurry edges

PRO-TIPS

Only use images that have NOT been enlarged or scaled up in size

Dimensions

Photos: greater than 1920 pixels wide x 1080 pixels high

Logos: greater than 1000 pixels wide x 1000 pixels high

Click here if you need help determining the size of your image.

How should I use a vector graphic in video?

Vector graphics can be enlarged to any size needed and the image will look sharp and crisp. When using a logo in a video, I like to animate it to make it move or grow for emphasis. By using a vector graphic, the lines are always crisp and detailed, which results in a professional look for your brand.

PRO-TIPS

Use logos, graphs, charts in vector format: .ai, .eps, or .svg.

 

As it turned out, Leo’s company had a vector image of their logo. Most companies do. After a brief discussion and a clarifying email, a member of his marketing team sent over an .ai file and the rest is picture perfect business video history.

Looking for greater detail about raster and vector graphics? Here are some links: Painting with Pixels, Drawing with Vectors or What is Vector Art?

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I love feedback; it helps me grow. Email me: [email protected]. Thank you for reading.

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