Unit 30 - Digital Graphics

Assignment One: Hardware and Software

Task 1

Graphics Card:


A graphics card is a motherboard component that controls the output onto the screen, some graphics cards aren't as powerful as others. Graphics cards are a type of display adapter or video card installed within most computing devices to display graphical data with high clarity, color, definition and overall appearance. A graphics card provides high-quality visual display by processing and executing graphical data. I'll compare a GeForce GTX TITAN Black which has a core clock of 889 MHz and a memory clock of 3500 MHz with a GeForce GTX 590 which has a core clock of 607 MHz and a memory clock of 1707 MHz. These two components are quite close but the TITAN Black takes the lead. Having a stronger graphics card will allow you to play higher quality games on higher settings if you have a gaming computer.


RAM:


RAM is short for Random Access Memory and is memory that can be accessed randomly. Any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes of memory. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices such as printers. With RAM you can have different sizes, the more RAM you have the faster and smoother your machine is going to run. A computer that's running with 512MB DDR2 RAM isn't going to be nearly as good as a computer running, let's say, 8GB DDR3 RAM. The more RAM, the faster an overall speed of a computer is, and how much a computer can do in a span of time. 512MB won't be appropriate for playing games or performing graphical work because the memory will run out fairly quickly and result in crashing and a massive impact on a computer's performance.


CPU:


The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is often referred to as the central processor is the brains of the computer where most of the calculations take place. The CPU is an internal part of the computer, modern CPUs are typically small, square and contain multiple metallic connectors. The CPU is the most powerful component in a computer and is typically the most expensive component of a computer. The motherboard will detect what you CPU you can have and what CPU you can’t have. To compare two CPUs, we'll compare Intel Core Dual Core processor with an Intel Core Quad Core CPU. Processors are vital for multi-tasking, a computer that has only two cores won't be able to do as much as a quad core processor, to be specific, it'll be able to do half of what a quad core processor can do.


CD ROM:


ROM is short for read-only memory and contains hardwired instructions that the computer uses on start up, before the system software loads up. CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc which contains data. The name is short for "Compact Disc Read-Only Memory". Computers can read CD-ROMs, but can't write to CD-ROMs.


Hard Dive:


The hard drive stores all of your data permanently. It houses the hard disk where all your folders, photos and other files are located. The typical size of a hard drive is slightly bigger than your hand yet it can hold over 100gb of data. The data is stored of a stack of discs which is inside the encasement. The disks spin extremely fast so that the data can be accessed at the very second you require it from anywhere on the drive. The data is also stored on the drive magnetically so it remains there even after the computer is turned off. A hard drive with 500 GB of storage only allows you to have 500 GB of data stored whereas a hard drive with 2 TB of data, allows you to have 2 TB of data or 2000 GB.


Flash Cards:


Flash cards are small modules that contain flash memory, such as an SD card, CompactFlash or Memory Stick.


USB:



USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used in a bus for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices. A USB stick with 4 GB of storage only allows you to have 4 GB of data stored whereas a USB stick with 16 GB of data, allows you to have 16 GB of data.


Input Devices


Graphics Tablet:


A graphics tablet, or sometimes called a drawing tablet or pen tablet is a hardware input device that enables artists to draw or sketch digitally using a pen or stylus. They're helpful for artists because they provide a more natural and precise feel than a standard computer mouse.


Mouse:


A mouse is a small handheld device that's used to move direct a cursor on a computer screen, you can use a mouse mat or a flat surface to move it. You have more advances mouses and weaker mouses, gaming mouses for example have several extra functions like being able to adjust to your hand size by tweaking the outer sides or extra buttons for gaming use whereas your normal mouses don't.


Digital Camera:


A digital camera is a camera that produces digital images that can be stores on a computer and be displayed on that very same computer screen for later use. A digital camera that's more modern will allow for higher quality photos to be taken, with a higher pixel count. A camera that was recently showcased in Dubai is 4k and took a photo that allows you to zoom on basically anything in the line of sight.


Scanner:


A scanner is a peripheral device that scans paper documents and converts them into digital data which is stored onto a computer.


Software


Paint.net has basic features like the ability to crop and resize images, change hue and saturation, add text, resize an image and add layers. You can expand on this piece of software by installing user-made addons but nothing from the official publishers. Photoshop on the other hand has far better capabilities including everything paint.net has and then more. With Photoshop you can blend images, merge images, use it to modify game textures, add filters to name a minor few.

Task 2

Vector graphics refers to software and hardware that use geometrical formulas to represent images. The other method for representing graphical images is through bit maps, in which the image is composed of a pattern of dots. This is sometimes called raster graphics. Programs that allow you to create and manipulate vector graphics are called draw programs, whereas programs that manipulated bit-mapped images are called paint programs.


Vector graphics use more processing power than bitmap graphics do. Vector graphics are also made up from lines equations and calculations rather than pixels, as bitmap graphics are. Individual elements can be grouped within vector graphics unlike bitmap where individual elements can't be grouped. Images are more precise in vector graphics whereas they aren't in bitmap graphics. Vector graphics also take up less memory than bitmap graphics and less storage space.


Lossless and lossy compression are the two terms that describe whether or not, in the compression of a file, all original data can be recovered when the file isn't compressed. With lossless compression, every bit of data that was originally in the file remains after the file is uncompressed. All the information is restored. This is typically the technique of choice for text or spreadsheet files, where losing words or financial data could pose a problem. The Graphics Interchange File (GIF) is an image format that provides lossless compression.


On the flip side, lossy compression reduces a file by permanently eliminating certain information, especially redundant information. When the file is uncompressed, only a fraction of the original information remains. Lossy compression is typrically used for video and sound, where a certain amount of information deletion won't be noticed by most users. The JPEG image file, commonly used for photos is an image that has lossy compression.



Format

Typical Use / Bitmap / Vector

Features

Limitations

JPEG

Photographs

  • relatively small file sizes

  • 16.7 million different colours

  • supported by a wide range of software programs

  • does not support transparency

  • does not preserve layers

  • lossy compression

BMP

Two-deimensional digital images

  • Can be easily created from existing pixel data

  • Pixel value may be modified individually or as large groups.

  • Bitmap files may translate well to dot-format.

  • They files can be very large and take a lot of memory.

  • They typically do not scale very well and shrink an image.

GIF

Logos and graphics

  • Small file size.

  • Support transparent background.

  • They can show moving images and stills.

  • Maximum colour palette of 256 colours.

  • Once the animation is in the gif, you can’t go back and edit it.

  • Dependant on Internet connection and can lead to the site they’re used on looking less professional.

PNG

Transparent photographs

  • Can have transparent images.

  • Minimum compression loss.

  • Possible to work with layers.

  • Small size files.

  • Doesn’t support aniamtion.

  • Impractical to work with full-colour images.

  • Can not store multiple images in one file.

SVG

Animations

  • Tiny files

  • Can be scaled up and down without loss of clarity

  • Interfaces with JavaScript to create animated images.

  • Only supported in modern browsers.

  • It can’t make overly complex images like photos.

PSD

Adobe Photoshop

  • Can preserve layers.

  • Due to large size, has capability to save significant amounts of file information.

  • Files tend to be extremely large.

  • Very few programmes that aren’t Adobe Photoshop will understand, open or import PSD files.

TIFF

Photographs

  • Uncompressed image retains maximum amount of image data from the camera.

  • Can be compressed to reduce file sizes.

  • Can embed colour space profiles.

  • Standard format for printing.

  • Large file sizes, around 20mb for a 10 megapixel image.

  • Need a computer with good specs to process and load images.

  • Most websites do support tiff uploading.

  • Slow speeds when transferring to online galleries that do support TIFF files.