A bitmap is one type of image file format that is used to store some digital images. This term comes from the terminology of computer programming. Bitmap means a map of bits or array of bits. There is also another term called pixmap that refers to a map of pixels. Each pixel may store some colors. Bitmap term is used to refer to one bit per pixel, while the pixmap term is used for multiple bits per pixel. Another important term to see is raster. Raster images may refer to both bitmap and pixmap. It is available whether in files or memory and synthetic or photographic.
In simpler words, a Bit map or also called bitmap is a display space and the color of each bit or pixel included in the display space. Two of the most popular examples of graphic image formats that are based on bit maps are JPEG and Graphics Interchange Format. In Addition, TIFF, PCX and BMP also use this format. A bit map does not always contain a bit of color coded information for every bit or pixel on every row.
Plenty of graphical user interfaces such as OS/2 platroms’ GDI subsystem, and Microsoft windows use bitmap. It is shown by the use of BMP or DIB extension in the file name. In addition to BMP, some file formats such as ILBM, PBM, XBM, WBMP, PNG, and GIF also store bitmap images. Some of them use compressed formats internally and not completely refer to as bitmap.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bitmap File
The good sides in using the bitmap format is that the use of the processor will be smaller than the other formats and the ability in getting and showing colors and shapes that look more natural than those presented by the other format. However, the drawbacks of this format are that the file will be bigger than the other files in other formats and unluckily, the file can’t be immediately rescaled because bitmap uses raster or fixed graphics method of specifying the image.
Characteristics of Bitmap
There are some characteristics of bitmap format that may differentiate it from the vector format. They are as follows:
- It can be saved as some of the following formats, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF, JPEG, and so on.
- It has excellent colors gradation so that the image looks more natural, realistic and smooth.
- When it is zoomed in, the image appears unclearly.
- It is structured by lots of pixels with various colors.
- Its quality depends on the numbers of the pixels.
- It has dependent resolution.
- It has larger size.