When using the laser to cut, engrave or mark, we need to have a VECTOR FILE of your artwork, whether it's your company logo, text or images.
There are two different file formats - Vector Files and Raster Files.
The two formats store different types of information which can be used in a variety of ways, using design software programmes, as explained below.
WHAT IS A VECTOR FILE?
A vector image is made up of points, lines and curves (or paths) that contain colours, gradients and other editable effects. It can be re-sized easily; scaled from a small business card up to a huge billboard and vice versa without losing resolution.
A vector image can be identified by enlarging or zooming in on the image and it will always appear smooth. Text is very much a common type of vector image as it doesn't matter how much you increase the font size, it will look the same.
File sizes are very often smaller and are easy to transfer from one computer to another and over the internet.
Vector file formats are CDR, AI, DXF, DWG, EPS and SVG and are most commonly used in programs such as Illustrator, AutoCAD and CorelDRAW.
WHAT IS A RASTER FILE?
A raster image (aka a bitmap) is made up from tiny blocks (also known as pixels) of colour.
Because the image is formed using a fixed number of blocks, it cannot be re-sized and manipulated without losing its resolution - meaning the image will not be smooth; it'll be distorted and look "pixelated".
A raster image can be identified by zooming in on the file where you'll see the little individual squares.
File sizes are often quite big as there's a lot of information and problems can occur when transferring files.
Raster file formats are JPG (JPEG), GIF, PNG, TIF and are most commonly used in photographs.
Enlarge the image by zooming in and see how the image reacts; if the image remains the same, it's a vector; if it becomes pixelated and loses resolution, it's a raster.