History Of Computer Graphics: How Computer Graphics Have Advanced

Graphics created from computers are called Computer Graphics. William Fetter, a graphic designer for Boeing, coined the term “Computer Graphics” in 1960. When data in image form are processed and manipulated by a computer with help from specialized software and hardware, they are called Computer Graphics.

The thermionic valve or electron tube

Invention of the thermionic valve or electron tube is believed to be the beginning of computer graphics. This technology was used to generate, first black and white and later color, images in television screens.  The same technology was used in computers to display graphics. In the beginning the technology was so primitive that computer could only display 256 colors. Most of the computer generated images were fancy boarders and simple pictures.

In 1961 Steve Russell, a student at MIT, created the first video game, Spacewar. After the success of the world’s first video game, companies began extensive research in computer graphics. IBM unveiled the first commercially available graphics computer in 1966.

In 1968 Sutherland, who had invented the first computer controlled head-mounted display (HMD) at MIT, joined with David C. Evans in the University of Utah. Interestingly, NASA rediscovered Sutherland’s techniques in virtual reality research twenty years later. Many of the early breakthroughs in Computer Graphics inventions occurred at the University of Utah in the 1970s. Students like Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke developed animation techniques at the University of Utah. John Warnock, who later found Adobe Systems, and Tom Stockham – who later found Silicon Graphics – were also associated with University of Utah.

The first major advance in 3D computer graphics was created by these early pioneers.

Two-Dimensional (2D) Graphics

In the beginning computers could only generate 2D images. With the advancement of computer technology, computer monitors began to handle advanced computer graphic imagery. They could handle more colors.

The 1990s brought mushrooming of animated images. Since computers could handle millions of colors, Computer Graphics leaped to the new height. Programs such as JASC paint shop pro, Adobe Photoshop were introduced.

Three-Dimensional (3D) Graphics

Introduction of Vector Graphics and Raster Graphics was phenomenal. 3D Graphics were possible because of these two computer Graphics. In the 1990s 3D graphics became very popular in multimedia and animation.

Multimedia and Animation

Computer animation is created by 3D Computer Graphics. This technique is extensively used in video games and animated films. This technology is called CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery).

Computer Graphics in Movies

Today movies extensively make use of CGI. Animated and cartoon movies are very popular. George Lucas of Star Wars fame is considered one of the pioneers in the creation of CG software. PIXAR exclusively produces CGI films.

Gaming Graphics

The development of Computer Graphics has also spurred the making of video games. Today graphics in video games are entirely 3D images. These images are life-like. Casino games such as roulette and poker are now played with the aid of multimedia. Tomb Raider and Thunderstruck are some of the popular video games.

Check Vinaya Ghimire’s website to read on computer technology.

4 thoughts on “History Of Computer Graphics: How Computer Graphics Have Advanced”

  1. Sameer Mohmad says:

    Nice article, you reminded me of my age. I can still remember back in 1990 when I got my Atari. Then in the 1996 my Nintendo Family Computer. 1999 was my Sony PS1. Wow. I now feel old. 25 years from right now i’ll be in my 60’s. most likely I’ll just play video games with my grandchildren after that. Indeed graphics have improved a lot compared to past.

  2. Robiul Islam says:

    Wow never knew that Ivan Sutherland was known as the “father of computer graphics”. Great Insight Thanks

  3. Rahul says:

    Awseome article.Useful information.Thank you

  4. Aruna says:

    This is very informative. We came to know about the Graphics evolution in the technology world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *