Computer Graphics: History, Types and Principles of Operation

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Nowadays we use computers and smartphones to do a lot of tasks, watch movies and play games, but we did not ask ourselves how the graphics are created in the computer, so in this report I will talk about computer graphics. This report was created for those who want to know the history of computer graphics and their types and how they work, such as video game players, computer engineering students, and computer graphics designers, we will talk about the history of computer graphics from 1940s to 1996s and types of images, image synthesis, engineering science.

Definition of Computer Graphics and General Information

We can describe and define the term computer graphics as “almost everything on computers is not text or sound”. We can say that it is the conversion of an image into data or the construction of an image through data that is processed by a computer to convert it into graphics inside the computer. Today, we use computer graphics in many fields, such as newspapers, weather reports, and in medical fields, such as images, surgical procedures, and graphs that facilitate understanding of complex matters. There are many tools that have been created to convert data or images into computer graphics, and there are different types of computer graphics: two-dimensional graphics (two-dimensional), three-dimensional (three-dimensional) graphics and animation. With the development in our time, three-dimensional graphics are the most used, and two-dimensional graphics are still used in some fields.


Between 1940s and 1950s John Whitney was considered from the point of view of pioneers and one of the computer animators. The term computer graphics was known in the early 1960s by William Alan Fetter, a graphic designer for a company. Boeing America. The term computer graphics emerged with the advent of graphics hardware. Exposed early projects such as Vortex and SAGE.

It is also a center for advancement in computing and hardware components to access interoperative computer graphics. In 1959s, the TX-2 was developed at the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT, integrating with several new interfaces. She also uses the stylus to make sketches using Evan Sutherland's revolutionary software. The development of this program also made her appear to be Avan Sutherland, the godfather of computer graphics. General Motors also developed its first designed fuel system, the DAC-1.

And led at MI Institute to the formation of the collector industry. Many companies were interested in this industry, such as IBM, which responded and affected the industry quickly by issuing the IBM 2250, the first commercial computer dedicated to graphics. And then she founded many companies in the mid-1960s, including TRW, Lockheed, General Electric, and Sperry Rand.

In 1969s the Association for Computing Machinery established SIGGRAPH, the period after conferences, issuing, issuing and supervising publications in the field of graphics. In 1973s, the first annual conference was held, which will discuss in due course. Significant developments and breakthroughs in digital graphics at the University of Utah in the 1970s.

Artists and graphic designers are starting to own personal computers, the Amiga and Macintosh, as a serious design tool that saves time and drawing with greater accuracy than other methods. Modern computers such as mice and color printers became available, and in the late 1980s, SGI machines were not the first computer shorts to be found in studios and companies. Current computers dating back to the 1980s use a graphical interface to represent data and information with symbols, icons and images instead of text. Graphics are one of the five elements of multimedia technologies (text, audio, graphics, video, interactive applications).

3D graphics became more popular in the 1990s in games and multimedia, and in 1995s ‘Toy Story’ was the first fully computer-generated 3D movie and shown in international cinemas. In 1996s Quake was one of the first fully 3D games. Since then, computer graphics have flourished, developed and increased in realism due to the development of hardware and graphics software.

Image Types

There are many types of computer graphics, each type is used in a suitable specialty. When we talk about games, for example, most of them nowadays use three-dimensional graphics, but when we talk about graphics, most of them use two-dimensional graphics. And there are other types of computer graphics we will deal with. For each type here:

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2D graphics are a digital, computer-generated image, often generated from two-dimensional models with techniques identified by these models. These 2D graphics are mainly used in programs originally designed for printing and drawing techniques such as typography, cartography, industrial drawing, advertising, and more. In these programs, these graphics are not only a representation of the real world, but rather an independent product of additional value. These graphics are preferred in previous techniques because they give more direct control to the image than 3D graphics.


3D graphics (unlike 2D graphics) are a type of computer graphics that use the three-dimensional representation of the engineering data that is stored in a computer to perform calculations and render 2D images. And in the picture on the right shows the first three-dimensional model made by Martin Newell in 1975 at the University of Utah. This shape is embedded in most 3D programs, and the real jug is in the National Museum of Computer History in the United States of America, California.

Computer Animation

Computer animation is the art of creating stereoscopic images using the computer, and it is a branch of the branches of computer graphics and animation. And an attractive show even for medium-power computers. The final product of computer graphics may be used for media such as films or for the computer itself. The technology is also known as Computer Generated Imagery CGI.

To create an optical illusion, every image or cadre that appears on the computer screen is quickly replaced by another image that is completely similar to the previous image, and there is a slight modification in the direction of movement, such as moving the shape in the image slightly, each image increases the rate of motion over the image that precedes it at a very simple rate but An effect occurs with the increase in the number of cadres and their succession at a speed until the eye is deceived and the mind translates successive images into movement.

Computer graphics is an indispensable technology in three-dimensional graphics as well as motion that relies on successive two-dimensional graphics. For three-dimensional drawings, objects - or shapes - have been built or formed and are covered with a virtual structure, but in the case of two-dimensional drawings, the drawings are often separate in the presence of transparent, invisible layers between them, and it is not required that they be joined by a virtual structure. The movement, which is present in the various parts of the body or shape - or composition - is then translated by a frame key drive. The difference between the final appearance of the cadres is calculated automatically, and then at the end, the movement is shown completely.

Image Synthesis

Image synthesis is one of the techniques of computer graphics, it consists of the creation of digital images by applying a physical model. These images are called synthetic images.

If the power of the computer equipment on which the first images were designed (in the 1960s) did not allow photorealism, the great trend of the 1980s was towards certain photorealism. This being almost reached in the 1990s (in deferred time), or even in real-time (2000s), we observe a return to a certain graphic freedom in the design of images. Since then, the software has changed a lot. Nowadays the most used software is Maya Autodesk.

Engineering Science

This science studies the representation of 3D objects in a separate digital environment. Since the appearance of an object largely depends on its external appearance, border representations are commonly used. Two-dimensional surfaces are a good representation of most objects, although they may not be multifaceted. Since the surfaces are not finite, a separate digital zoom is used. Polygonal networks (and subdivision surfaces to a lesser extent) are by far the most common, although point-based representations have become more popular recently. These images represent LaGrange, meaning that the spatial locations of the samples are independent. More recently, Eulerian surface descriptions (i.e. spatial samples are anchored) such as sets of planes have been developed into a useful representation of deforming surfaces undergoing many topological changes (with liquids being the most prominent example).


This report talked about computer graphics and we defined them and talked about its history and explained some titles related to computer graphics on such types as two-dimensional, three-dimensional, computer graphics, motion graphics, image synthesis, computer engineering science or computer graphics engineering. After reading this report, you will have enough information about computer graphics to enable you to understand its basics, types and history.

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Computer Graphics: History, Types and Principles of Operation. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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