What Is a Raster Image?

Raster images, or bitmaps, include file types such as JPEG, PNG, BMP and TIFF. One raster images definition mentions that these photographs are made up of thousands of pixels arranged in a grid. Pixels are tiny squares containing specific color information. As pixels combine, they produce a complete image with a variety of breathtaking colors.

It’s common to see the dimensions of digital photographs expressed in pixels. As you look through raster images in your Collections tab, you will notice that you can download a number of sizes, such as 5304 px x 3840 px. The total number of pixels in this image would be 5304 x 3840, or a stunning 20,367,360 individual pixels. More pixels mean increased dimensions or resolution.

Advantages of Raster Images
  • Detail: Pixels give raster images the ability to express incredible detail and a huge variety of colors.
  • Image creation: Obtaining a raster image to work with is as easy as taking a picture or downloading an image from Shutterstock’s collection of professional photographs. Vector images require illustrators to design each component by hand.
  • Effects and filters: Photograph editors let you apply transformations and color filters, adjust contrast and change images with countless other incredible effects.
Raster Images vs. Vector Illustrations

Vector illustrations differ from raster images in that they use mathematical calculations to create objects with shapes and lines instead of pixels. This provides advantages in certain circumstances:
  • File size: Vector images feature smaller file sizes, which allows for easier opening of web pages and other digital media.
  • Dimensions: Bitmaps need lots of pixels to keep their crisp resolution. If you try to make a small raster image too large, it will look blurry or grainy. This doesn’t happen with vector files.
  • Simplicity: Sometimes a simple image helps you make your point more clearly. Vector images are useful for graphs and how-to diagrams.
​​​​​​​Find Amazing Raster Images

Whether you feel that richly toned raster images or smooth and simple vector graphics fit your project better, discover the image library at Shutterstock to find exactly what you need. Using the search function couldn’t be easier.

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