How Do Computers Make Pictures?

Sure computer graphics have come a long way, but the question is: how?? Or, what’s a pixel? What’s a bitmap (or a raster)? How, in fact, does a computer make a picture when all it has to play with are zeros and ones?!

Well, with great difficulty. Modern graphics cards are phenomenal in what they do, but even the simple things are complex when it comes to making computer images. One of the hardest things is one of the most basic: how do you get a digital image from your camera to your computer? Or even from computer to computer?

Luckily, it turns out there’s some really quite clever people working in the mysterious world of digital computer imaging. This new article on digital image and video data will roll out over the next couple of weeks. It begins this week touching on the difference between analogue and digital data, how images are sampled, and sample resolutions. As the series progresses, you’ll see that many of the solutions that have been employed are amazingly simple, but just as often, they’re simply amazing.