by Dinesh Thakur

Today there are very few aspects of our lives not affected by computers. Practically every cash or monetary transaction that takes place daily involves a computer. In many cases, the same is true of computer graphics. Whether you see them on television, in newspapers, in weather reports or while at the doctor’s surgery, computer images are all around you.

 

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a well-known saying and highlights the advantages and benefits of the visual presentation of our data. We are able to obtain a comprehensive overall view of our data and also study features and areas of particular interest.

 

A well-chosen graph is able to transform a complex table of numbers into meaningful results. You know that such graphs are used to illustrate papers, reports and thesis, as well as providing the basis for presentation material in the form of slides and overhead transparencies. A range of tools and facilities are available to enable users to visualize their data, and this document provides a brief summary and overview.

 

 Computer graphics can be used in many disciplines. Charting, Presentations, Drawing, Painting and Design, Image Processing and Scientific Visualization are some among them.

 

In particular, we will emphasize the following

 

a) Basic concepts of Computer Graphics

b) Different types of Computer Graphics

c) Origin of Computer Graphics

d) Working of an interactive graphics display

e) Importance of speed in displaying pictures

f) The change in size an orientation of pictures

g) Applications of Computer Graphics

 

Basic concepts of Computer Graphics

 

I hope all of you are fond of video games and you may be good at playing them. Have you seen the game of ping-pong? It’s a game played by two people with a pair video game controller and a home television set. You can see that when a game is switched on, a small bright spot , representing a ball, is seen bouncing to and fro across the screen.

 

Now each player uses his video game controller to position a paddle to bounce the ball back to his opponent. The player who hits the ball past his opponent wins a point and the one who gains 15 points wins the game. Now how did you invent this video game? This has been done with the aid of Computer Graphics. Video games represent a major use in the home of computer graphics. Computer graphics helps to create and manipulate pictures with the aid of computers.

 

 Computer graphics is concerned with all aspects of producing images using a computer. It concerns with the pictorial synthesis of real or imaginary objects from their computer-based models.

 

Different types of Computer Graphics

 

Computer Graphics can be broadly divided into two

 

a) Non Interactive Computer Graphics

b) Interactive Computer Graphics

 

Non Interactive Computer Graphics: In non interactive computer graphics otherwise known as passive computer graphics, the observer has no control over the image. Familiar examples of this type of computer graphics include the titles shown on TV and other forms of computer art. Interactive Computer Graphics: Interactive Computer Graphics involves a two way communication between computer and user.

 

Here the observer is given some control over the image by providing him with an input device for example the video game controller of the ping pong game. This helps him to signal his request to the computer. The computer on receiving signals from the input device can modify the displayed picture appropriately. To the user it appears that the picture is changing instantaneously in response to his commands. He can give a series of commands, each one generating a graphical response from the computer. In this way he maintains a conversation, or dialogue, with the computer.

 

 Interactive computer graphics affects our lives in a number of indirect ways. For example, it helps to train the pilots of our airplanes. We can create a flight simulator which may help the pilots to get trained not in a real aircraft but on the grounds at the control of the flight simulator.

 

The flight simulator is a mock up of an aircraft flight deck, containing all the usual controls and surrounded by screens on which we have the projected computer generated views of the terrain visible on take off and landing. Flight simulators have many advantages over the real aircrafts for training purposes, including fuel savings, safety, and the ability to familiarize the trainee with a large number of the world’s airports.

 

Origin of Computer Graphics

 

Years of research and development were made to achieve the goals in the field of computer graphics. In 1950 the first computer driven display was used to generate only simple pictures. This display made use of a cathode ray tube similar to the one used in television sets. During 1950’s interactive computer graphics made little progress because the computers of that period were so unsuited to interactive use. These computers were used to perform only lengthy calculations.

 

 The single vent that did the most to promote interactive computer graphics as an important new field was the publication in 1962 of a brilliant thesis by Ivan E. Sutherland. His thesis, entitled ‘Sketchpad: A Man- Machine Graphical Communication System proved to many readers that interactive computer graphics was a viable, useful, and exciting field of research. By the mid -1960’s large computer graphics research projects were under taken at MIT, Bell Telephone Labs and General Motors. Thus the golden age of computer graphics began. In 1970’s thee researches began to bear fruit.

 

The instant appeal of computer graphics to users of all ages has helped it to spread into many applications throughout the world.