Vector Graphics Page 2
Since the lines you see in vector graphics are just mathematical functions, they are by default invisible. The action of making the lines visible is often called stroking. Depending on the software, the lines can have many different properties from being invisible to varying thicknesses and colours, even textures. When you close shapes, they can be filled - again with anything from simple flat fills to gradients, patterns, bitmaps.
Most vector programs have their own features and idiosyncrasies. By far the most popular vector animation program is Adobe's Flash, since the files it produces will play on practically every web browser. It is even used for broadcast work, though it is far less suitable than other programs such as Anime Studio (previously known as Moho) and Toon Boom.
Cutout animation was originally a form of animation done directly under the animation rostrum camera, usually with bits of cut out paper and card. In a way, programs like Flash are the modern descendants, though of course they offer all sorts design and animation possibilities far in advance. You can think of a vector graphic as being drawn on an infinitely flexible sheet of rubber; unlike a bitmap graphic, no amount of stretching or distortion will ruin its look.
If you are familiar with bitmap graphics, you will know that these graphics are built up from tiny blocks called pixels and these can be any colour or shade. Vector graphics, as we have seen, are actually computer instructions telling the computer to draw a line or curve and how to colour it and deal with any fill. How are these graphics displayed? In fact, although there have been specialised vector display devices, the monitors etc. that you will encounter will all be bitmap devices. In other words, vector graphics are normally turned into bitmap graphics before we see them. If you are using vector graphics software for a TV programme, you will need to store it as a series of bitmap files. All vector software will enable you to do this very easily and this stage is normally referred to as rendering. You are prompted to choose a resolution and what kind of bitmap file you want, then the animation is turned from vector to bitmap.
This ends our brief look at vector graphics.