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Graphics are visual presentations on some surface such as a wall, canvas, computer
screen, paper or stone to inform, illustrate or entertain. Examples are photographs,
drawings, Line Art, graphs, diagrams, symbols, geometric designs, maps, engineering
drawings, or other images which are not only text. Graphics is often used in combination
with text and color.

Graphics can be functional or artistic. Graphics can be imaginary or representing

something in the real world. The latter can be a recorded version, such as a photograph,
or an interpretation by a scientist to highlight essential features, or an artist, in which case
the distinction with imaginary graphics may get blurred.

Types Of Graphics

In computer graphics there are two types of graphics: Raster, where each pixel is
separately defined, and Vector, where mathematical formula are used to draw lines (eg
'take two points and draw a parabole between them'), which are then interpreted at the
'receiving end' to produce the graphic. Vectors make for in principle infinitely sharp
graphics and usually smaller files, but is limited to relatively simple representations.

In 1950 the first computer-driven display was attached to MIT’s Whirlwind I computer to
generate simple pictures, this was followed by MIT’s TX-0 and TX-2- interactive
computing which increased interest in computer graphics in the late 1950s. In 1962 Ivan
Sutherland invented Sketchpad, an innovative program that influenced alternative forms
of interaction with computers.

In the mid-1960s large computer graphics research projects were begun at MIT, General
Motors, Bell Telephone labs, and Lockheed Aircraft. D. T. Ross of MIT developed an
advanced compiler language for graphics programming. S.A.Coons, also at MIT, and J.
C. Ferguson at Boeing, began work in sculptured surfaces. GM developed their DAC-1
system and other companies, such as Douglas, Lockheed, and McDonnell, also made
significant developments. In 1968 Ray tracing was invented by Appel.

During the late 1970s personal computers began to become more powerful and capable of
drawing basic and complex shapes and designs. Into the 1980s personal computers,
particularly with the Macintosh artists and graphic designers began to see the computer as
a serious design tool that could save time and be used to draw more accurately than a
human. 3D computer graphics became possible in the late 1980s with the powerful SGI
computers which were later used to create some of the first fully computer generated
short films at Pixar. One of the most popular tools for computer graphics remains the
Macintosh today in graphic design studios and businesses.

Modern computer systems dating from the 1980s and onwards often use a graphical user
interface (GUI) to present data and information by using symbols, icons and pictures
rather than text. Graphics is one of the five key elements of multimedia technology.

3D graphics became more popular in the 1990s in gaming, multimedia and animation. In
1993, Myst, one of the first fully 3D adventure games was released. In 1995 Toy Story
the first full-length computer generated animation film was released in cinemas
worldwide. Since then computer graphics have become more accurate and more detailed
because of more advanced computers and better 3D modeling software applications such
as Cinema 4D.

Another form of graphics on computers are screensavers, that originally had (and still
have) the purpose of preventing the layout of much-used GUI's 'burning into' the
computer screen, but have evolved into true pieces of art, especially on the Linux
platform. The actual practical use of screensavers is now obsolete since modern screen
are not succeptible to such "burning".

Web Graphics

In the 1990s Internet speeds increased, and Internet browsers capable of viewing images
were released, the first being Mosaic. Websites began to use the GIF format to distribute
small graphics such as banners, advertisements and navigation buttons on web pages.
Web graphics are useful in providing a truly graphical user interface to websites rather
than plain text.

A program like MS Paint in Windows Microsoft can be used for beginners, and gradually
more professional programs like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro can give you more
abilites but may be harder to use
Raster Graphic

A raster graphics image, digital image, or bitmap, is a data file or structure

representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, on a computer
monitor, paper, or other display device. The color of each pixel is individually defined;
images in the RGB color space, for instance, often consist of colored pixels defined by
three bytes—one byte each for red, green and blue. Less colorful images require less
information per pixel; an image with only black and white pixels requires only a single
bit for each pixel. Raster graphics are distinguished from vector graphics in that vector
graphics represent an image through the use of geometric objects such as curves and

A bitmap corresponds bit for bit with an image displayed on a screen, probably in the
same format as it would be stored in the display's video memory or maybe as a device
independent bitmap. A bitmap is characterized by the width and height of the image in
pixels and the number of bits per pixel, which determines the number of colors it can

A colored raster image (or pixmap) will usually have pixels with between one and eight
bits for each of the red, green, and blue components, though other color encodings are
also used, such as four- or eight-bit indexed representations that use vector quantization
on the (R, G, B) vectors. The green component sometimes has more bits than the other
two to allow for the human eye's greater discrimination in this component.

The quality of a raster image is determined by the total number of pixels (resolution), and
the amount of information in each pixel (often called color depth). For example, an image
that stores 24 bits of color information per pixel (the standard for all displays since
around 1995) can represent smoother degrees of shading than one that only stores 16 bits
per pixel, but not as smooth as one that stores 48 bits (technically; this would not be
decipherable by the human eye). Likewise, an image sampled at 640 x 480 pixels
(therefore containing 307,200 pixels) will look rough and blocky compared to one
sampled at 1280 x 1024 (1,310,720 pixels). Because it takes a large amount of data to
store a high-quality image, data compression techniques are often used to reduce this size
for images stored on disk. Some techniques sacrifice information, and therefore image
quality, in order to achieve a smaller file size. Compression techniques that lose
information are referred to as "lossy" compression.

Raster graphics cannot be scaled to a higher resolution without loss of apparent quality.
This is in contrast to vector graphics, which easily scale to the quality of the device on
which they are rendered. Raster graphics are more practical than vector graphics for
photographs and photo-realistic images, while vector graphics are often more practical
for typesetting or graphic design. Early 21st century computer monitors typically display
about 72 to 130 pixels per inch (PPI), and some modern consumer printers can resolve
2400 dots per inch (DPI) or more; determining the most appropriate image resolution for
a given printer resolution can be difficult, since printed output may have a greater level of
detail than can be discerned on a monitor.

To illustrate the matter further - here's the letter "J":

Look closely at it.. Take a magnifying glass to it if you like. You see a "J", the computer
sees something more like this, where '.' represents a zero and 'X' represents a one:


Where you see a zero, the computer instructs its video hardware to paint the current
background color. A one calls for the current foreground color. Yes, it is actually a bit
more complicated, but it all basically boils down to one bit or the other making a
distinction between the colors of adjacent pixels, which together form an image. This is
the basic principle behind drawing on a computer.

In 3D computer graphics, the concept of a flat raster of pixels is sometimes extended to a

three dimensional volume of voxels. In this case, there is a regular grid in three
dimensional space with a sample containing color information at each point in the grid.
Although voxels are powerful abstractions for dealing with complex 3D shapes, they do
have large memory requirements for storing a sizable array. Consequently, vector
graphics are used more frequently than voxels for producing 3D imagery.

Raster graphics was first patented by Texas Instruments in the 1970s, and is now
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Victor Graphics

Vector graphics or geometric modeling is the use of geometrical primitives such as

points, lines, curves, and polygons to represent images in computer graphics. It is used by
contrast to the term raster graphics, which is the representation of images as a collection
of pixels (dots).

The human eye works as a bitmap picture: it catches the image in a mosaic raster of
photon recipient nerves, a pixel image. But the brain - according to recent studies -
handles it as a vector image. Perhaps because - like in our computers - this is easier to
store. It explains why we can recognise simple drawings like cartoons with just outlines
because this is so close to what our brain makes of the visual world anyway. It also serves
as an explanation for the fact that logos and signs with easy and geometric shapes are
easier remembered and recognised.

Virtually all modern current computer video displays translate vector representations of
an image to a raster format. The raster image, containing a value for every pixel on the
screen, is stored in memory and the entire screen is repainted 30 or more times per

Starting in the earliest days of computing in the 1950s and into the 1980s, a different type
of display, the vector graphics system, was used. In these systems the electron beam of
the CRT display monitor was steered directly to trace out the shapes required, line
segment by line segment, with the rest of the screen remaining black. This process was
repeated many times a second to achieve a flicker-free or near flicker-free picture. These
systems allowed very high-resolution line art and moving images to be displayed without
the (for that time) unthinkably huge amounts of memory that an equivalent-resolution
raster system would have needed.

One of the first uses of vector graphic displays was the US SAGE air defense system.
Vector graphics systems were only retired from U.S. en route air traffic control in 1999
and are likely still in use in military and specialized systems. Subsequent vector graphics
systems include Digital's GT40 [1]. There was a home gaming system that used vector
graphics called Vectrex [2] as well as various arcade games like Asteroids and Space
Wars [3] The Tektronix-4014 [4] also deserves a mention even though the display was
The term vector graphics is mainly used today in the context of two-dimensional
computer graphics. It is one of several modes a programmer can use to create an image
on a raster display. Other modes include text, multimedia and 3-d rendering. Virtually all
modern 3-d rendering is done using extensions of 2-d vector graphics techniques. Plotters
used in technical drawing still draw vectors directly to paper.

Raster Graphic Converted to a vector

File Formats of Graphics

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) can have millions of colors and are often used
for photographs and very complex images. JPEG files are also used for images that have
minor color changes, depth, lighting effects, or other gradations of color or tone. JPEG
images have the .jpg, .jpe, or. Jpeg extension. JPEG files are compressed so data is
actually removed from the graphic image to make the file size smaller. JPEG files are
cross-platform and will work on all computer types.

When to choose the JPEG format

JPEG works best on photographs because it does not compress areas of solid color very
well. Do not save JPEG files repeatedly as they compress every time they are saved and
will lose their original look.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) images are limited to 256 colors. They are cross-
platform, which means any computer can view them. GIF files are compressed which
makes them small in file size but not in dimension. GIF files unlike JPEG files do not
lose quality in compression. GIF files have the .gif extension.
When to choose the GIF format

GIF files are best used with large areas of solid colors, such as logos, and simple
illustrations with flat colors.

BMP (Bitmap) is the standard Windows image format on DOS and Windows compatible
computers. The BMP format supports RGB (red, green, blue) indexed-colors, grayscale,
and Bitmap color modes. BMP files have the .bmp extension.

PDF (Portable Document Format) is used by Adobe Acrobat. PDF files can represent
both vector and bitmap graphics, and can contain electronic document search and
navigation features such as electronic links. The PhotoShop PDF format supports RGB,
indexed-colors, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), grayscale, and Bitmap.
PhotoShop has the .PDF extension.

Targa format is designed for systems using the True vision video board and is commonly
supported by MS-DOS color applications. The Targa format supports 32 bit RGB,
grayscale, and 16 bit and 24 bit RGB files without alpha channels. When saving an RGB
image in this format, you can choose a pixel depth. Targa files have the .tga extension.

TIFF (Tagged-Image File Format) is used to exchange files between applications and
computer platforms. TIFF format is supported by virtually all paint programs, image
editing, and page layout applications. Most of the older desktop scanners produce TIFF
images and you should save images scanned as TIFF files unless you scan directly to
PhotoShop. The TIFF format supports CMYK, RGB, and grayscale files. TIFF files have
the .tif extension.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) pronounced "ping" was developed as an alternative

to GIF. PNG files support 24-bit images and produce background transparency without
jagged edges. Some older versions of Web browsers may not support PNG images. Like
GIF and JPEG files, PNG files are cross-platform and compressed. PNG files can have
more colors than GIF files and also compress smaller. PNG files have the .png extension.

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