What do you call the action when you transform an image from raster into a vector? Is it "vectorizing" or "vectoring"?

  • 2
    Vectoring is moving to a specific heading.
    – joojaa
    Apr 5 '18 at 7:57

"vector" in the context of digital file formats isn't a verb. As such, neither 'vectoring' or 'vectorizing' is technically correct. Preferably, you'd say some form of:

  • creating a vector illustration
  • converting a raster image to a vector image
  • illustrate using vector illustration software

But, as we all know, humans turn all sorts of nouns and ajectives into verbs and, as such, we should google it (see what I did there!?)

  • "vectoring an image" = 315,000 results
  • "vectorizing an image" = 103,000 results

Is that grammatical proof of anything? No. Not really.

  • This is a surprisingly good answer to a question like this Apr 5 '18 at 17:21
  • 1
    The second sentence in this answer doesn’t really make sense (and it’s also not true in my experience): vectorise is a verb derived from the noun vector, so the fact that vector in the context of digital file formats isn’t a verb doesn’t in any way entail that vectorise would not be a perfectly cromulent verb. Apr 5 '18 at 17:36
  • @JanusBahsJacquet yes, that's pretty much what I'm saying. "Google" isn't technically a verb but we've made it a verb. Language is funny like that. I also have to up-vote any use of the term cromulent!
    – DA01
    Apr 5 '18 at 19:10
  • This is how I've always seen the usage... as incorrect.. but then... I think of "rasterizing" - which technically is incorrect for the same reasons. So that kind of blows the "it's not technically correct" mentality out of the water. :) I don't like using or hearing "vectoring/vectorizing" but I no longer shiver due to improper grammar or possibly fictitious word usage.
    – Scott
    Apr 5 '18 at 19:15
  • @DA01 Well, google is a verb, exactly because it’s been verbed. But vectorise is slightly different even so: verbing through zero-derivation from proper nouns is often somewhat frowned upon by some (it’s somehow ‘impure’), but the completely productive pattern of deriving causatives or factitives from nouns by adding -ise is quite unremarkable. Saying that something isn’t “technically” a word doesn’t really make any sense. Any word that is used and understood reliably is a word; nothing technical about it. Apr 5 '18 at 19:16

Vectorizing is what i've seen everywhere.

In computer graphics, image tracing, raster-to-vector conversion or vectorization is the conversion of raster graphics into vector graphics.

  • Raster ~ Vector
  • Rasterize ~ Vectorize

  • Rasterizing ~ Vectorizing

To me the terms "Vectorize/Vectorizing" don't sound right in my ears. But that alone doesn't make them incorrect. The English language is a constantly evolving thing. Given "vector"'s direct counterpart, these would be the correct usage. You wouldn't ever be "rastering". So, conversely you would never be "vectoring" either in the context of digital images.

Note that "Vector" has more definitions than "raster". You can be "vectoring". It's a physical movement, however, not a digital image adjustment. i.e. "vectoring to coordinates".

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