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Graphic Images, Sounds & Animation

Computer graphics are anything that can be displayed on the screen except the text and sometimes even text falls into the graphics category if it is saved in a graphic format.

There are basically two types of computer graphics like:
  • bit mapped 
  • vector/structured
Bit  mapped graphics are images that are mapped to the monitor or screen. The screen is made up of tiny dots called pixels. These dots can display various colours depending on the type of computer hardware and software you have.

Using shades of red, green and blue (RGB) an image can be displayed on the screen by mapping different colours to the screen in different sequences.

Vector graphics use objects created from mathematical formulas to represent things like lines, curves, fills, line thickness, etc. to create the image.

Each type of graphic has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Older versions of HTML were only able to recognizes bitmapped graphics so most graphics created for the Internet, using standard HTML, are created or converted to a bitmap format. The newest version of HTML or XHTML is able to display vector graphics but not all browsers are able to display these graphics.

Within each of the two main types there are dozens of different formats.

Graphics formats are distinguished by their filename extensions.

The three main bitmapped format graphics used on the Internet are .gif, .jpeg (.jpg) and .png.

There are many others including .bmp, .tiff (.tif), .pcx, .ppm, .tga and a host of others.

Some of the structured formats are .ai, .cmx, .eps, .wpg, .cgm and a host of others.

Bitmapped graphics can be created and modified in a paint program and vector or structured graphics can be created and modified in a draw program.

The main tools in a graphics program allow you to select a section of a picture, erase part of a picture, fill a defined area, select a colour, magnify a section, draw free hand, draw with various tools such as a straight line; a curved line; a rectangle; an oval; and a polygon. You can also modify a drawing by changing the size, colour, placement, and, depending on the program, hundreds of other modification.


Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) or .mpg is multimedia format that is an attempt to create a standardization among the various formats available.

MPEG has made it possible to place audio content on your website without having it sound tiny and hollow or taking an extreme amount of time to download. There are many different formats for sound including; Microsoft's .wav, Sun's .au & .snd, RealNetwork's RealAudio , .ra(*), and various others.

You may have heard .mid files play when visiting various websites. Musical Instruments Digital Interface (MIDI) files are basically sound tracks which use a collection of sounds contained in the .mid file to play a tune.

To create a sound file you will need an audio program. You can then record with a microphone or off of a prerecorded medium. Your computer will need to have a sound card properly installed and a speaker to hear your recording.


Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways.

2D animation
2D animation figures are created and/or edited on the computer using 2D bitmap graphics or created and edited using 2D vector graphics. This includes automated computerized versions of traditional animation techniques such as of, interpolated morphing, onion skinning and interpolated rotoscoping.

2D animation has many applications, including analog computer animation, Flash animation and PowerPoint animation. Cinemagraphs are still photographs in the form of an animated GIF file of which part is animated.

3D animation
3D animation is digitally modeled and manipulated by an animator. In order to manipulate a mesh, it is given a digital skeletal structure that can be used to control the mesh.

This process is called rigging. Various other techniques can be applied, such as mathematical functions (ex. gravity, particle simulations), simulated fur or hair, effects such as fire and water and the use of motion capture to name but a few, these techniques fall under the category of 3D dynamics.

Well-made 3D animations can be difficult to distinguish from live action and are commonly used as visual effects for recent movies. Toy Story (1995, USA) is the first feature-length film to be created and rendered entirely using 3D graphics.


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