- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 

Computer graphics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about computer graphics in general. For the ACM SIGGRAPH journal, see Computer Graphics (Publication).
 A CG image of a suspension bridge
A CG image of a suspension bridge

Computer graphics (CG) is the field of visual computing, where one utilizes computers both to generate visual images synthetically and to integrate or alter visual and spatial information sampled from the real world.

William Fetter was credited with coining the term Computer Graphics in 1960, to describe his work at Boeing. The first major advance in computer graphics was the development of Sketchpad in 1962 by Ivan Sutherland.

This field can be divided into several areas: real-time 3D rendering (often used in video games), computer animation, video capture and video creation rendering, special effects editing (often used for movies and television), image editing, and modeling (often used for engineering and medical purposes). Development in computer graphics was first fueled by academic interests and government sponsorship. However, as real-world applications of computer graphics in broadcast television and movies proved a viable alternative to more traditional special effects and animation techniques, commercial parties have increasingly funded advances in the field.

It is often thought that the first feature film to use computer graphics was 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which attempted to show how computers would be much more graphical in the future. However, all the "computer graphic" effects in that film were hand-drawn animation, and the special effects sequences were produced entirely with conventional optical and model effects.

Perhaps the first use of computer graphics specifically to illustrate computer graphics was in Futureworld (1976), which included an animation of a human face and hand — produced by Ed Catmull and Fred Parke at the University of Utah.


Main article: 3D computer graphics

With the birth of workstation computers (like LISP machines, paintbox computers and Silicon Graphics workstations) came 3D computer graphics, based on vector graphics. Instead of the computer storing information about points, lines, and curves on a 2-dimensional plane, the computer stores the location of points, lines, and, typically, faces (to construct a polygon) in 3-dimensional space.

3-dimensional polygons are the lifeblood of virtually all 3D computer graphics. As a result, most 3D graphics engines are based around storing points (single 3-dimensional coordinates), lines that connect those points together, faces defined by the lines, and then a sequence of faces to create 3D polygons.

Modern-day computer graphics software goes far beyond just the simple storage of polygons in computer memory. Today's graphics are not only the product of massive collections of polygons into recognizable shapes, but they also result from techniques in shading, texturing, and rasterization.


Shading in hand-drawn graphics can be done in several ways; for example, taking a pencil, flipping it to the side, and stroking it over the paper while applying light pressure.

In the context of 3D computer graphics, the process of shading involves the computer simulating (or, more accurately, calculating) how the faces of a polygon will look when illuminated by a virtual light source. The exact calculation varies depending not only on what data is available about the face being shaded, but also on the shading technique.

Image-Based Rendering

Computer graphics is all about obtaining 2D images from 3D models. In order to get highly accurate and photo-realistic images, the input 3D models should be very accurate in terms of geometry and colors. Simulating the real 3D world scene using Computer Graphics is difficult, because obtaining accurate 3D geometry of the world is difficult. Instead of obtaining 3D models, image-based rendering (IBR) uses the images taken from particular view points and tries to obtain new images from other view points. Though the term "image-based rendering" was coined recently, it has been in practice since the inception of research in computer vision. In 1996, two image-based rendering techniques were presented in SIGGRAPH: light field rendering and Lumigraph rendering. These techniques received special attention in the research community. Since then, many representations for IBR were proposed. One popular method is view-dependent texture mapping, an IBR technique from University of Southern California. Andrew Zisserman, et. al from Oxford University used machine learning concepts for IBR.

  • Flat shading: A technique that shades each polygon of an object based on the polygon's "normal" and the position and intensity of a light source.
  • Gouraud shading: Invented by Henri Gouraud in 1971, a fast and resource-conscious technique used to simulate smoothly shaded surfaces by interpolating vertex colors across a polygon's surface.
  • Texture mapping: A technique for simulating surface detail by mapping images (textures) onto polygons.
  • Phong shading: Invented by Bui Tuong Phong, a smooth shading technique that approximates curved-surface lighting by interpolating the vertex normals of a polygon across the surface; the lighting model includes glossy reflection with a controllable level of gloss.
  • Bump mapping: Invented by Jim Blinn, a normal-perturbation technique used to simulate bumpy or wrinkled surfaces.
  • Normal mapping: Related to bump mapping, a more in-depth way of simulating bumps, wrinkles, or other intricate details into low-polygon models.
  • Ray tracing: A rendering method based on the physical principles of geometric optics that can simulate multiple reflections and transparency.
  • Radiosity: a technique for global illumination that uses radiative transfer theory to simulate indirect (reflected) illumination in scenes with diffuse surfaces.
  • Blobs: a technique for representing surfaces without specifying a hard boundary representation, usually implemented as a procedural surface like a Van der Waals equipotential (in chemistry).


Polygon surfaces (the sequence of faces) can contain data corresponding to not only a color but, in more advanced software, can be a virtual canvas for a picture, or other rasterized image. Such an image is placed onto a face or NURBs "patch" using texture space coordinates or UV's, or series of faces, and is called a texture.

Textures add a new degree of customization as to how faces and polygons will ultimately look after being shaded, depending on the shading method, and how the image is interpreted during shading.

One method of combining textures is called Texture Splatting.

See also

Several important topics in 2D and 3D graphics include:

  • Color theory
  • Raster graphics
  • Vector graphics
  • Geometric surface representations
    • including, polygons, Bézier surfaces, splines, subdivision surfaces, implicit surfaces, point-set surfaces, and NURBS
  • Material properties, including BRDFs
  • Image compression
  • Animation
  • Rendering
  • Compositing
  • Projection
  • 3D projection
  • Hidden surface determination
  • Vertex shaders and pixel shaders
  • Full screen effects
  • Non-photorealistic rendering
  • Real-time computer graphics
  • Optical feedback
  • Virtual artifacts

Toolkits & APIs

For an application relying heavily on computer graphics, the following could be useful:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Systems
  • AmanithVG
  • Autodesk
  • Blender3d
  • Cairo (graphics)
  • Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM)
  • Crystal Space
  • Power Render
  • DirectX
  • Game Maker (Has 3D functions but is specialized in 2D)
  • GLUT
  • Graphical Kernel System (GKS)
  • Macromedia Shockwave
  • Open Inventor
  • OpenGL
  • Pixia
  • PostScript
  • Renderman
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
  • svgalib
  • X Window System


  • Digital geometry (e.g., Bresenham's line algorithm)
  • Computer-generated imagery
  • Digital image editing
  • Timeline of CGI in films
  • Computer vision
  • Image processing
  • Graphics processing unit
  • POV-ray
  • Graphical output devices
  • List of computer graphics and descriptive geometry topics
  • Utah Teapot
  • Stanford Bunny
  • ASCII art

External links

  • A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation
  • History of Computer Graphics series of articles
  • The ARTS: Episode 5 An in depth interview with Legalize on the subject of the History of Computer Graphics. (Available in MP3 audio format)
  • Review of free graphic and rendering tools
  • Linux open source computer graphicslinks forum news
  • Computer Graphic Design - 3D Art Samples
  • TDT3D European CG network(Updates every day)
  • CGSociety The Computer Graphics Society
  • CG contests computer graphics contest
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