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The word ‘image’ comes from the Latin language. And considering that Latin was spoken in the Roman Empire, one can imagine for how long images have been in our lives. From ancient pictures and statues, to the most complex 3D graphics, images represent an integral part of our lives.

Images in computing

Images were in people's lives long before computers were introduced. However, with the advance in technology, very soon computers were not only able to handle images, but also to create new ones and edit them. With the introduction of the computer GUI (graphical user interface), images entered in the computer world with a bang, giving the user a more comfortable workstation and marking the boom of the home computer.

Images on the Web

Soon after the introduction of the GUI for the home computer, the first graphical web browser was created - Mosaic. This web browser presented web pages much like the way we see them today and a lot of the modern browsers still look like the Mosaic browser. It was also the first web browser, which was capable of showing up an image on a website. From this moment on, web page designers started slowly introducing images to their websites, be that simple pictures or buttons, or whole navigation menus. This marked the start of the multimedia website content.

Types of images

There are two types of images - still images and animated images

Still images

Still images are the images everyone is used to - from pictures taken with a camera to paintings on canvases. Still images were the first images introduced to the computer world in the form of pictures and icons. Still images represent the majority of the images used today, since they tend to be of small file size and require less disk space than animations or movies. They also don't require special software to be installed in order to view them - today every operating system, be that Windows or Linux, can open a still image without the need of additional software.

The most popular file formats for still images are JPG and PNG.


Animated images were introduced to the computer world shortly after the still images. They represent a series of still images shown in a quick succession, giving the user the idea of an animation. In the Internet world, animations were introduced by animated GIF files. GIF was originally a file format for still images, but is now synonymous with animated images. GIF animations usually are short, not more than several seconds long, and consist of less than 10 still images

Computer generated images

Today, images can be easily created with a computer program or programming language by simply entering several parameters. The ImageMagick software is a popular choice among PHP programmers. With it, one can easily create simple still images with several effects. This software is very handy when you have to resize several images online or create thumbnails for them - all of this can be added in a simple script.

This is perfect for online image galleries, since it can automatically resize uploaded images and at the same time - generate thumbnails for them, which are then to be used on the index page.