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Introduction to Computer Graphics Packages

computer graphics packages (credits: selectoday.com)

Meaning of graphics packages

Computer graphics packages are application software that can be used to create and manipulate images on a computer. Computer graphics can be classified into two distinct categories: raster graphics and vector graphics.

Raster graphics

A raster graphics editor is a computer program that allows users to create and edit images as an array of pixels. These programs allow manipulated images to saved in bitmap or one of many popular raster formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF. Simply put, raster graphics loose their quality as they are altered.

In graphics design, we use application packages such as Adobe Photoshop and GIMP GNU to manipulate raster images. Learn more here.

Vector graphics

A vector graphics use paths, points, lines, curves and shapes or polygons (which are all based upon mathematical equations) for the same purpose. Vector graphics retain their image quality when images are altered.

Raster images are based on pixels and thus scale with loss of clarity, while vector-based images can be scaled indefinitely without degrading.

In other words, vector graphics are resolution-independent and thus can retain the highest quality at any scale.

In graphics design, we use graphics design packages such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Inkscape, etc to create vector images.

Examples of Computer Graphics Packages

Raster graphics

Examples of raster graphics packages include Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo Paint, QFX, Serif Photoplus, Picasa, MS Paint, GIMP, etc.

Vector graphics

Examples of vector computer graphics packages include Xfig, CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, Harvard graphics, Corel Designer, Inkscape, MS Expression Design & MS Expression Studio, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Flash Adobe Freehand, MS Visio, etc.

Features of CorelDraw

Coreldraw is an exciting vector graphic design application used by graphic designers in all works of life including printing and publishing, advertising, logo designing, and engraving.

CorelDraw still have considerable market share inspite of other exciting computer graphics packages available in the market today. 

Study has shown that CorelDraw computer graphics package in predominantly used in the United States. And the application is used extensively by small and medium enterprises with about 1 – 200 employees.

The features of CorelDRAW X6 is similar to the features of most graphic design software. Among the features are the:

Title bar – which displays document title

Ruler – used to determine the size and position of objects in a drawing

Menu bar – An area containing list of pulled down commands

Standard toolbar – detachable bar containing shortcut commands

Property bar – a detachable bar containing commands that relate to active object or tool

Color palette – a dockable bar that contains color swatches

Toolbox – a detachable bar containing tools for selecting, creating modifying and filling objects in the drawing

Drawing window – Area outside the printable page. It borders the printable page

Drawing page – a rectangular area inside the drawing window. It is also called the printable area because it is the printable area of your drawing.

CorelDraw window

 

Features of MS Paint

The paint environment

Microsoft Paint is a simple raster graphics program installed in all versions of windows operating system. It can be used to scan images, create and modify objects.

It can open and save files in the following formats: Jpeg, Gif, PNG, TIFF and bitmap (.bmp). Bitmap file extension can be monochrome, 16 colour, 256 colour and 24-Bit bitmap.

The diagram below displays the Windows 8.1 Paint environment.

Paint tools and their functions

Tool NameFunction
sizeChoose the desired thickness when you draw lines and curves or size when you use the Eraser tool
Color 1

Color 2

Click either color 1 (for foreground color) or color 2 (for background color) and select a colour from color palette to establish either foreground or background colour
Color paletteChoose colour of your choice from the color palette to colour your object.
ShapesChoose your desired shape to draw an object such as line, ellipse, rectangle, triangle, etc
BrushesChoose a brush to paint thick or shaped freeform lines and curves. Click brushes and select a brush, click a shape and click a color in the Color box, then drag the pointer to paint.
PencilUse the Pencil to draw freeform lines or curves with selected size.
Fill with colorUse Fill With Color to fill the entire picture or an enclosed shape with color. Click Fill With Color, click a color in the Color box, and then click inside the area or line you want to fill.
TextUse Text to enter text in the picture.
EraserUse the Eraser to clean areas of your drawing or picture.
Color pickerUse Pick Color to set the current foreground or background color. Click Pick Color, and then click the color in your picture that you want to set as the foreground color, or right-click the color in your picture that you want to set as the background color.
MagnifierUse the Magnifier to zoom in or out on a section of your drawing or picture.
Paint environment

Using the Paint to draw

Draw a line: Use Line in the shapes box to draw a straight line. Click Line, click a line width in the size, click a color in the Color palette, and then drag the pointer in the drawing page to draw the line. To draw a line using the background color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

Draw a curve: Use Curve in the shapes box to draw a smooth, curved line. Click Curve, click a line width in the sizes, click a color in the Color palette, and then drag the pointer in the drawing page to draw a straight line. After you have created the line, click the area in the picture where you want the arc of the curve to be, and then drag the pointer to adjust the curve.

Draw a rectangle and a square: Use Rectangle in the shapes box to draw rectangular shapes. Click Rectangle, click a color in the Color palette, and then click a size. To draw a rectangle, drag the pointer diagonally in the direction you want. To draw a square, hold down SHIFT while dragging.

Draw an ellipse or circle: Use the Ellipse to make ellipses and circles. Click Ellipse in the shapes box, click a color in the Color box, and then click a size. To draw an ellipse, drag the pointer. To draw a circle, hold down SHIFT while dragging.

Enter a text: Use Text to enter text in your drawing. Click Text, and then, click a background color. Click a color in the Color palette, and then click on the drawing and type your text. You can resize and move the text box, and change the font, font size, and text formatting until you click another tool or click outside the text box within the drawing.