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standards - graphics systems

There are many formats for storing a picture in a computer; but, unlike text and data files, which are primarily made up of alphanumeric characters, graphics formats are more complex.

To begin with, there are the two major categories of graphics: vector graphics (objects made up of lines) and bitmapped graphics (TV-like dots). Images stored in vector format can be moved to another vector system typically without loss of resolution. There are 2D vector formats as well as 3D vector formats.

In transferring raster images among different devices, resolution is a major concern. Such transfers can occur without loss of resolution as long as the new format supports the same or higher resolution as the older one.

Standard graphics formats allow images to be moved from machine to machine, while standard graphics languages let graphics programs be moved from machine to machine. For example, GKS, PHIGS and OpenGL are major graphics languages that have been adopted by high-performance workstation and CAD vendors. GDI and DirectX are the graphics languages in Windows. See OpenGL and DirectX.

High-resolution graphics was typically expensive to implement due to its large storage and fast processing requirements. However, as desktop computers became more powerful, graphics have become widely used in every application. See graphics, graphics formats and standards.

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