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It was during the 1960 when the term “computer graphics” was coined by William Fetter, a graphic designer. It was during that time that computer graphics hardware was developed and the cathode ray tube (CRT) was introduced as a display and interaction interface. As computers became more advanced, the quality and form of interactive computer graphics also improved. In 1959, a computer that integrated many new man-machine interfaces, the TX-2 computer, was developed. In the mid 1960s, with the continued advancement of computer graphics and with the major corporations becoming more interested in the technology, many computer graphics companies such as TRW, Lockheed-Georgia, General Electric, and Sperry Rand, were founded. In the 1980s, artists and graphic designers began using personal computers such as Commodore Amiga and Macintosh as serious design tools which they could use to save time and produce more accurate drawings; while the late 1980’s saw the first fully computer-generated short films created by Pixar.
Three-dimensional computer graphics became more popular in the 1990s when it was used in gaming, multimedia, and animations. Quake, released in 1996, was the first fully 3D game while Toy Story, 1995, was the first full-length computer-generated animation film. As the market demands higher quality computer graphics, we can only wait and see what more advances the technology will take in the next years.
Computer Graphics can be defined as representation and manipulation of pictorial data by a computer, as the technologies used to create and manipulate these pictorial data, or the images or graphics produced by these technologies. Computer Graphics is also defined as a branch of computer science which focuses on the methods for digitally synthesizing and manipulating visual data. But no matter how many meanings the term “computer graphics” has, it has, without question, touched many aspects of our daily lives. From television, newspapers, weather reports, to movies, surgical procedures, and education; computer graphics has indeed become part of modern-day society.
Computer Graphics, as a major, focuses on the study of manipulating visual and geometric information using computers. This is where algorithms, or well-defined procedures to solve mathematical problems, come in. Algorithms are helpful in solving mathematical problems in sorting, searching, text processing, solving graph problems, solving basic geometric problems, displaying graphics, and performing common mathematical calculations. Most schools include subjects that enable students to appreciate and learn the importance of algorithms in creating or manipulating computer graphics. More often than not, these subjects include hands-on activities that allows students to implement a series of algorithms and techniques used in computer animation including path following, ease-in, forward kinematics, inverse kinematics, rigid body dynamics, flocking, particle systems, and spring-mass-damper systems.
The use of Computer Graphics has spread from entertainment to business to education. It is small wonder that graduates have many career paths in different industries to choose from. Here are some of the industries where computer graphics is applied and where a professional CG developer can find career opportunities: computational biology, computational physics, computer-aided design, computer simulation, digital art, education, graphic design, infographics, information visualization, scientific visualization, video games, virtual reality, and web design.