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Thanks. first time trying anything like this. I took a digital photo of the rose and sword on a background of a handmade mat from Samoa, then erased some for shield shape in paint program,and painted in lettering and banner. It seems that the color bled some here and there,and image is not as sharp as I would like.Not sure why or how to prevent in future efforts.
When you say the color bled...do you mean the artifacts created around the type and sheild? That is because you have saved the image as a low resolution jpeg or bitmap. Jpegs are lossy, which means the more you save them, the more the image will degrade. Saving with a higher resolution and not resaving the image a bunch of times after editing it will help. If you build this as a vector, you could edit it at any size and any amount of times and then when you have it done, save it as a high resolution jpeg.
It will also have artifacts if it is something that you got off the web. Web images are at 72dpi resolution (which is the max. resolution of your monitor) Printable resolutions should really start at 150 dpi and a better res. would be more like 300.
A vector graphic is a graphic based on mathematical objects. Normal Photoshop, jpeg, and gif images are bitmapped images. They have a fixed number of pixels, and the more you enlarge them, then fuzzier the image gets. Try to shrink them, and things bleed together.
Illustrator and postscript files are vector based images. They are stored as mathematical objects. When you resize them, they keep the quality of the original size because instead of adding and removing pixels, you are adding and subtracting to the mathematical formula the object is made of.
Of course you can't display Illustrator and postscript images directly in a web browser, so after resizing, you need to convert to jgep or gif, but the final image is much clearer than resizing a jpeg or gif image. If your original image is a Photoshop, jpeg, or gif, converting to vector can be a pain and time consuming process, but once finished, a vector graphic can be used as a master image for lots of projects.