Types of Computer Graphics

Computer graphics are an integral part of today's digital world, playing a key role in a variety of fields, from graphic design to entertainment to science and education. There are many types of computer graphics, each with its own unique features and applications, allowing for a wide spectrum of creative and technical possibilities.

Raster graphics

Raster graphics, also known as bitmap graphics, are made up of a grid of pixels, where each pixel is assigned a color value. The use of raster graphics primarily includes digital photo processing, digital illustration and material production, where meticulous control over each pixel is important. The quality of raster graphics depends on the resolution – that is, the number of pixels per unit area.

Vector graphics

Unlike raster graphics, vector graphics are based on algorithmic descriptions of shapes using lines and curves (vectors), which allows for easy scalability without sacrificing quality. It is mainly used in logo design, advertising materials, or illustrations, where it is important to be able to change the size without affecting the sharpness of the image.

3D graphics

Three-dimensional computer graphics (3D) presents objects in three-dimensional space. It is used in animation, simulations, computer games and digital art. It uses mathematical models to represent solids in virtual space.

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Explore raster graphics

Raster graphics, also known as bitmaps, are made up of a large number of small squares, called pixels. Each pixel represents a unit of color information and is the basic element of a digital image.

The characteristics of raster graphics can be presented in the form of a list:

  • Resolution: Raster graphics have a certain number of pixels. The high pixel count increases detail and image quality, but also Increases file size     
  • Color Depth: Specifies how many bits are used to store color information for each pixel. More bits translates into more colors displayed.          
  • Scalability: When a raster image is enlarged, its pixels become visible, leading to a decrease in its quality. This is known as  pixelation effect.

It is also worth mentioning the typical uses of raster graphics, which is especially preferred in areas such as digital photography, where digital cameras save photos in raster format, which ensures their detail and color fidelity. Another important use of raster graphics is in web graphics, where images on web pages are often chosen in this format due to their great variety of colors and detail.

Image quality vs. file size

The image quality of raster graphics is directly related to the number of pixels (image resolution) and color depth. This means that a high-resolution image with a 24-bit color depth will have better quality, but also a larger file size.

Compressing an image reduces its file size at the expense of losing some data, which can result in a decrease in quality. Raster graphics are particularly prone to loss of quality when resizing, especially when scaling to larger dimensions.

For artists and designers working in the field of digital art, or when creating works based on NFT technology, it is important to find a balance between the quality of the artwork and the file size. To ensure the high visual quality of your work, it is recommended to use file formats that allow lossless compression, such as PNG. On the other hand, in situations where reducing file size is a priority, lossy compression formats such as JPEG may be useful.

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Size & Resolution

The size of raster graphics can be determined by the width and height dimensions of the image, which are given in pixels. Each pixel represents the smallest element of an image and is a single unit that can be assigned to a color in a specific color mode.

Resolution in raster graphics, defined as the number of pixels per unit length, typically per inch (PPI), plays a fundamental role in determining image quality. High resolution is synonymous with greater detail and sharpness of the image, which, however, translates into an increase in file size. On the other hand, low resolution can result in a pixelation effect, which means that individual pixels become recognizable to the observer's eye, especially when the image is enlarged.

  • Here's the relationship between size and resolution for a 1920 × 1080 image, presented as bullet points:
  • At 72 PPI, the file size is low.
  • When the resolution is 300 PPI, the file size is referred to as medium.
  • For 600 PPI, the file size is high.

The file size is also related to the color mode used, where each pixel contains color information. The most common modes are RGB (designed for display devices) and CMYK (used in printing). A larger number of color channels or bit depth (the number of bits assigned to each color channel) increases the file size of raster graphics.

Raster graphics are an indispensable element in many digital fields, from photography to graphic design. Its detail and color fidelity make it ideal for representing complex images, but this requires conscious management of its limitations and challenges. The main challenge when working with raster graphics is finding a balance between image quality and file size, especially in the context of digital distribution. If you're interested in graphic design, the Art Lounge Plus news portal  is worth a visit.