For many years I’ve tried to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator, with not much luck. This semester I took a 1-credit class at my college to learn, once and for all, how those damned layers work. It turned out to be really interesting – and the curve-drawing (Bezier curves) is all based on concavity, changes in concavity, tangent lines, and slopes. So, it turns out that there’s a lot of mathematics in the back-end of Adobe Illustrator.


What you see here is just a low-quality image. Since the image is vector based, it is infinitely-scalable. To really see why this is so cool, you need to see what happens when you zoom in and out on the image. So here’s a silent movie of that.


So, if you’ve heard the terms Illustrator and Photoshop batted around, the primary difference is the ability to do raster graphics or vector graphics.


Maybe you’re thinking, hey, I still don’t understand what the difference is !! The idea of vector graphics is that the images are redrawn according to the boundaries and fill properties that you specify. No matter how large or small you scale, it redraws the lines and fills so that the images are always crisp. The vector file saves directions to rebuild the image.
In a raster graphic, the file saves a bunch of pixel color designations to create the image (thus the term megapixels for digital cameras). I’m no expert here, so if I’ve botched that explanation, please correct me.

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