Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: computer graphics from Collins English Dictionary


1 (functioning as singular) the use of a computer to produce and manipulate pictorial images on a video screen, as in animation techniques or the production of audiovisual aids

Summary Article: computer graphics
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Use of computers to display and manipulate information in pictorial form. Input may be achieved by scanning an image, drawing with a mouse or stylus on a graphics tablet, or by importing and manipulating other image data. The output may be as simple as a pie chart or, with specialized software, as complex as an animated sequence in a science fiction film, or a seemingly 3-dimensional engineering blueprint.

Vector graphics are stored in the computer memory by using geometric formulae. They can be transformed (enlarged, rotated, stretched, and so on) without loss of picture resolution. It is also possible to select and transform any of the components of a vector-graphics display because each is separately defined in the computer memory. They are typically used for drawing applications, allowing the user to create and modify technical diagrams such as designs for houses or cars.

Raster graphics are stored in the computer memory by using a map to record data (such as colour and intensity) for every pixel that makes up the image. When transformed (enlarged, rotated, stretched, and so on), raster graphics become ragged and suffer loss of picture resolution, unlike vector graphics. They are typically used for painting applications, which allow the user to create artwork on a computer screen much as if they were painting on paper or canvas.

Rendering is the process of generating an image from a computer model that contains data about size, shapes, light, and texture. Rendered images are capable of achieving realistic effects.

Computer graphics are widely used in personal computing, in computer-aided design (CAD), and to generate models and simulations in education, engineering, meteorology, medicine and surgery, and other fields of science.


Using Computers in Art and Design


Function and aesthetics in graphics products

Graphics products: manufacturing processes


Computer Graphics World

Exploratories Project

Vector and Bitmap Images


computer graphics

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Computer Graphics
Encyclopedia of New Media: An Essential Reference Guide to Communication and Technology

Computer graphics, the use of computers to create and process images, is an essential part of human-computer interaction (HCI) and a central part...

Full text Article Computer Graphics
Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought

One of the major ways that computers have made an impact on today's culture is in the field of entertainment. They would never have been able...

Full text Article Computer Graphics
Computer Graphics Companion

Computer graphics have revolutionized the entertainment industry. Examples range from the first video games like Pong, to Academy Award-winning...

See more from Credo