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Milestones in Computer Graphics

1955 The SAGE machine (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) is created to track enemy airspace during the Cold War. Computers built with 50,000 vacuum tubes apiece are integrated with radar systems to provide the first interactive computer graphics. Using a special light pen, operators can zero in on suspicious blips on the screen 1981 1982 1983 IBM Color Graphics Adaptor (CGA) First graphics standard for IBM PC Xerox Star Workstation Used the first bit-mapped GUI with a desktop metaphor, icons, and mouse. Very expensive and not marketed through computer stores Hercules Graphics Card Monochrome video display adaptor allowing text and graphics to be combined. Resolution of 720 x 320 pixels. Apple Lisa First GUI-based machine aimed at office market.

Apple Macintosh Brought affordable GUI to the desktop, allowing graphics to benefit even non-graphical applications. 1984 Adobe Postscript Page description language from Adobe systems Inc. that became a standard on a wide variety of printers IBM EGA PC/AT Displayed 16 colros from palette of 65 at resolutions of up to 640 x 350 pixels Aldus PageMaker for Macintosh First desktop-publishing software package Truevision Targa Card Video graphics card, first 24-bit color for PC, 512 x 480 resolution 1985 Commodore Amiga 1000 Fast microcomputer available for multimedia applications. First microcomputer to incorporate NTSC video and a multitasking operating system. 1986 Mac II 1987 Color and multi-monitor support, allowed 640 x 480 colors and 256 colors out of 24-bit palette. IBM VGA 256 colors on-screen at 320 x 200 or 16 colors at 640 x 480. RGB analog video output. Super VGA Clone VGA adaptors with 800 x 600 x 256 colors or better. X Windows First networkable graphics API, later becoming the standard for UNIX GUI.


Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Organization formed by major third-party board vendors to create and support standards for IBM PCs. 32-bit QuickDraw 1989 Macintosh systems software supporting 24-bit color. Adobe Typer Manager First scalable on-screen fonts Microsoft Windows 3.0 First GUI environment for DOS to be widely accepted. World Wide Web Project proposal reformulated with encouragement from CN and ECP divisional management. Robert 1990 Cailliau (ECP) is co-author. The name World-Wide Web is decided. Initial WorldWideWeb program developed on the NeXT (TBL) . This was a wysiwyg browser/editor with direct inline creation of links. TrueType Open standard for scalable fonts developed by Apple and Microsoft, which had earlier forced Adobe to publish its proprietary Type 1 formats. 1991 JPEG Standard First international digital image compression standard set by Joint Photographic Expert Group World Wide Web Line mode browser (www) released to limited audience on "priam" vax, rs6000, sun4. 1993 World Wide Web WWW (Port 80 http) traffic measures 1% of NSF backbone traffic. NCSA releases working versions of Mosaic browser for all common platforms: X, PC/Windows and Macintosh.

Microsoft Windows 95 Microsoft introduce new windows interface design and the system operating without boot from DOS. 1994 World Wide Web First International WWW Conference, CERN, Geneva. Heavily oversubscribed (800 apply, 400 allowed in): the "Woodstock of the Web". VRML is conceived here. 1996 Microsoft Windows NT Version 4.0

Microsoft introduce New windows NT 4.0 with Windows 95 interface design. 1997 MMX Technology Intel introduce MMX Technology into CPU which improves multimedia performance.

REALISM IN THREE-DIMENSIONAL GRAPHICS Many computer graphics applications involve the display of three-dimensional objects and scenes. For example, computer-aided design systems allow their users to manipulate models of machined components, automobile bodies and aircraft. parts; simulation systems present a continuously moving picture of a threedimensional world to the pilot of a ship or aircraft. These applications differ from two-dimensional applications not only in the added dimension: they also require concern for realism in the display of objects. In applications like simulation, a high degree of realism may be essential to the program's success. Producing a realistic image of a three-dimensional scene on a two- dimensional display presents many problems. How is depth, the third dimension, to be displayed on the screen? How are parts of objects that are hidden by other objects to be identified and removed from the image? How can lighting, color, shadows, and texture contribute to the rendering? Indeed, how is the three-dimensional world to be modeled in a computer so that images can be generated? A growing number of techniques have been developed to address these questions. The need for modeling and image-generation techniques stems from requirements imposed by applications. To communicate information to a user, the application program generates an image, which must show the information clearly, without ambiguity, and with as little extraneous information as possible. The range of imaging requirements is illustrated by the following list of applications: 1. Molecular modeling. Chemists wish to build three-dimensional models of molecules in order to understand better their behavior. These models are usually obtained indirectly, by observing the three-dimensional electron density in a crystal and then inferring where atoms of the molecule must lie. The model is built interactively by adding atoms one at a time, orienting bonds according to the electron-density information. Realism is not an important objective in generating images of atoms in molecules-no one has ever seen such a structure! An abstract "stick." model communicates the essential spatial relationships between atoms. Sometimes more realistic spherical models are used to indicate the size of an atom's electron shell. It is important, however, that these images display depth relationships between atoms in order to communicate to the chemist the precise three- dimensional structure of the molecule. 2. Computer .aided design (CAD). Computer-generated images are used to help design automobiles, ships, airplanes, oil refineries, mechanical parts, etc. Images used in these applications must offer enough realism for the designer to evaluate a design: the airframe designer must visualize the shape of a wing to judge aerodynamic properties; the designer of a car body is concerned with both aesthetic and aerodynamic properties of its shape. These two applications thus require realistic portrayals of shape. Other CAD uses may present different needs: the designer of a part for a lawn mower may be more concerned with how the part fits with its neighbors than with details of its shape. 3. Animation Sequences of pictures that educate or explain may require images of three-dimensional objects. Although animation uses graphics as much for art as for realism, it depends heavily on motion to substitute for realism of an individual image. Inexpensive animation communicates depth information with "2 &1/2dimensional" images-opaque images painted on a few transparencies that slide relative to each other, thus allowing one image to appear closer to the observer than another. 4. Simulation Some simulation applications require extreme realism, including moving images. A daylight flight simulator that uses computer- generated images of the view from the cockpit must generate very realistic pictures-pilots seem to depend for depth perception on subtle visual cues, such as skid marks on a runway. A similar form of simulator is used to train ship captains to maneuver their ships in a harbor; a complex harbor scene, including other ships in motion, sometimes obscured by fog, is presented on a very large display in front of a simulated bridge of a ship. Not all simulation applications demand such realistic images. A simulation of the motion of a collection of atoms governed by inter atomic forces might produce images in which atoms are shown simply as circular profiles of spheres. These applications indicate the range of image types required of a graphics display.