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Running Head: ASSESSING COMPUTER GRAPHICS

Assessing Computer Graphics

Abstract
Computer graphics software is a function that digitally reproduces images, which are classified
in two major types, called raster graphics and vector (object-oriented) graphics. Computergraphics software has helped software development altering the graphical user interface (GUI)
and manipulating other tools. Computer graphics software is crucial for and has help people who
do not have experience on this field as well as people that might have it.

Assessing Computer Graphics


This research examines computer graphics software. The research will provide a working
definition of the term, a discussion of its importance and state the types of graphics software
available, giving a broad perspective of computers graphics.

Computer graphics software functions as an electronic interface that digitizes and


reproduces analog pictorial images, or that converts digital data into such images. There are two
main categories of graphical images created by graphics software: raster graphics and vector
(object-oriented) graphics. The former "stores and displays images as a bit map, a series of
closely spaced dots (or pixels) arranged in rows and columns"; the latter stores images as
mathematical formulas, displaying them through calculation end-point-coordinates between
which lines are drawn (Computer, 2000, p. 9128). Graphics may be stored (displayed) in
computer-aided design (CAD) software and/or optical scanners, and they may be retrieved from
storage for display on computer screens or printed out as hard copy.
Computer graphics may be simple or complex. Simple graphics may be tables or charts.
Complex graphics include photographs and animated figures. Why graphics software is
important may be inferred from a statement that Carlson (1999, p. 182) attributes to an article
appearing in the trade paper Printers Ink in 1927: "One picture is worth ten thousand words." A
core value of computer-generated graphics is that they empower communication much in the
manner of other visual aids.
Computer-graphics software, indeed, has been decisive for software development more
generally. From its earliest origins, the graphical user interface (GUI) derived value from a
WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) screen presentation and the implications for
increased productivity offered by images rather than text-dense, hierarchical, menu-heavy
onscreen output. The use of mouse pointer to manipulate onscreen icons enabled "the objectaction paradigm," or the user's ability to select object, then perform an action, rather than
obliging the user to track a sequence of actions in order to perform a computing task (Seymour,
1989, p. 99).

The types of graphics software vary enormously. Graphics enhance the utility of
spreadsheet and word-processing software by enabling users "without graphics skills or expertise
to make highly effective use of graphics in memos, presentations, and reports" (Carlson, 1999, p.
182). Seymour (1989) cites the example of the spreadsheet program Excel, with its GUI, as a
"Lotus-killer"--Lotus being the name of the very powerful (but text/data-interface) eclipsed in
the marketplace by the GUI.
Graphics are fundamental to the work of those who have strong graphics skills or
technical expertise. Prepress print preparation (desktop publishing) programs such as PageMaker
and QuarkXPress enable all manner of text and image manipulation. Computer-assisted design
and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), flight simulators, architecture, art, electronic games, and
molecular modeling (Computer, 2000) are other examples of specialized graphics software.
Implications of CAD/CAM are also addressed by Henderson (1999) from a theoretical
standpoint, via contrast between the culture of pre-computer engineering conceptual designs
executed on napkins and envelopes and the culture of computer-driven conceptualization and
visualization of engineering possibility. Her view is that the high-tech medium adds much
potentiality but also may transform (and not always positively) the manner, or visual language, in
which technical design occurs.

References
Carlson, D.H. (1999, December). Computer-based graphics tools for the graphically challenged.
Information Technology and Libraries, 18, 182.
Computer graphics, (2000). The Columbia Encyclopedia (Edition 6), 9128.

Henderson, K. (1999). On line and on paper: Visual representations, visual culture, and
computer graphics in design engineering. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Seymour, J. (1989, September 12). GUI: An interface you won't outgrow. PC Magazine, 15, 97103.