Computer graphics refer to the creation of images on a display screen using a computer. But what makes it special? When you draw something on paper, it is analog information, a representation of something in the real world. Depending on the medium used, making changes to the drawing can be easy or difficult. This is where the beauty of art lies: it captures a unique moment of creativity. However, anyone who has experienced a day of crumpled papers due to mistakes understands the frustrations of traditional media.
What are computer graphics used for?
Many artists, designers, and animators have fallen in love with special effects. Drawing an image on a monitor creates digital information stored as a series of numbers. Manipulating these numbers allows one to move the image around the screen, change its size or orientation, switch colors, and transform it in many other ways. Once the image is complete, it can be saved, incorporated into a document, printed out, uploaded to a webpage, or emailed, all because it is digital information.
Obvious uses of computer graphics include computer art, CGI films, architectural drawings, and graphic design. However, not all applications are “artistic.” Scientific visualization involves producing graphical output from computer models to make it easier for people to understand complex data. Computerized models of global warming produce vast amounts of data that can be challenging to interpret without visual aids. Medical imaging is another example of how graphics make computer data more accessible. Brain or body scans are computer-generated graphical representations drawn using vast amounts of data produced from thousands of measurements. Space images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope often involve enhancing images using a type of lighting trick called image processing, which is similar to using software like Photoshop to touch up photographs.