How Do I Rasterize an Image in Photoshop?


Rasterization is used widely for animation and projection applications. Photoshop can take vector graphics and rasterize them to use as bitmap images for printing, editing, 3D graphics or video display. Shapes and line drawings in Adobe Illustrator can be converted to bitmap images easily using a few simple steps in Photoshop.


  • Rasterization is the process of taking a vector graphic, such as a line drawing or shape, and converting it to a raster format. The raster format is a bitmap image. Bitmaps are images composed of pixels. Bitmaps are mapped arrays of pixels that make up the image. Each pixel has a color depth that determines how the color is rendered. The more bit depth, the more true to life color representation. So a raster image is dependent on the resolution and bit depth and cannot be scaled up without a loss of quality as opposed to a vector image that can be scaled up or down without loss of image quality.


  • Rasterization is used on images for editing, printing, projecting or converting to 3D graphics. When a graphic or other vector image is overlaid on a picture, it will be rasterized first and then combined with the image. To edit a vector image it first needs to be rasterized. UC Davis uses this process to rasterize topographical maps and other geographical data for viewing on the Web. This process is popular to produce real-time 3D graphics. Rasterization is used for rendering--a process to generate an image from a model--to get photorealistic images. Product modeling, games and other types of computer graphics simulations would use this process.


  • Photoshop is the most widely used bitmap software application. Photoshop 7 was the first version able to handle vector graphics. This allows the photographer or graphic artist to take a shape or line drawing, bring it into Photoshop and rasterize the image. Basically converting the image from a vector graphic to a bitmap image. This process is done through the Layers Menu on the Main Toolbar. The latest Creative Suite (CS) versions of Photoshop are very intuitive in the commands. There is a Rasterize command in the Layers Menu to make the conversion simple.

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