Graphics have been with us from the dawn of time - from the first cavemen, who drew pictures on the walls of their caves, to today's modern graphic designers, who have whole workstations dedicated to a single goal. Graphics play an important role in our lives, and our lives without them today will be unthinkable.
Graphics in computers
The modern computer would not have existed the way we know it if it was not for graphics. Starting from the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and ending with the most simple icon, graphics are everywhere in the world of computers.
Initially, computer generated graphics were very simple, but in the 1980s computers became capable of producing more complex graphical images, and graphic designers started to take the computer as an alternative tool for graphic creation, since it provided a lot more accuracy and the ability to easily modify the already created images.
Very soon, computers reached a level when they were able to reproduce not only 2D images, but also 3D images, and in the 1990s the first entirely computer generated film was created. Very soon, the video game industry started producing 3D video games, such as Wolfenstein 3D and Quake.
In the beginning of the World Wide Web, websites were simple and web browsers were text based. The first web browser, which could work with graphics, was Mosaic. It allowed for websites to start using graphics, different fonts and colors. Website designers could now use images for buttons and navigation menus, creating more interactive and dynamic web pages.
Raster graphics are the most popular graphical type used today. A raster graphical image (also known as “bitmap”) is composed of pixels, with each pixel using different color information. Raster images are very dependent on their resolution and cannot be enlarged without a significant loss of quality.
Raster graphics are easily editable by software applications such as Photoshop and GIMP. With them, you can edit each individual pixel and the colors assigned to it. Most raster graphic software applications work with the RGB color scheme (Red, Green, Blue) but some also offer the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) color scheme. These color schemes allow for simple colors to be mixed, creating additional and more advanced ones.
Vector graphics are created using a mathematical formula, which specifies the position of the different points, curves and lines in the whole image. While the raster image is of a defined resolution, the vector graphic uses its mathematical formula to construct the image in the best possible way given the current resolution.
This makes vector graphics perfect for printing and for displaying bigger images, such as billboards, since the quality of the image will remain the same.
A vector image is usually stored in the SVG file format, which was created by the W3 Consortium (World Wide Web consortium), although Microsoft and Adobe also offer alternative file formats - namely VML and AI.