Over time the output of digital graphics have evolved in many ways, this allowed us to create and utilize digital graphics in new ways, these different output mediums consisted of monitors/ displays, printers and phones, although this also had an impact on other types of technologies in order for us to output new digital graphics.
Monitors and displays
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
The cathode ray tube display, also known as a CRT display was a huge success after being developed and sold, this allowed people to view images and video on their display in the comfort of their own home. This works by a cathode ray gun at the back of the funnel shaped monitor that fires electrons through a vacuum that is in the tube of the display. Each ray that is fired correlates to Red, Green or Blue, these rays then reach 2 magnetic anodes that then move the electrons so they display in the correct position on the display.
This technology would have been used to create and display moving pictures, also known as video at 24 fps, this is because this was the best image quality and film/video usage ratio as well as looking natural enough to the human eye; because CRT displays used an RGB system it allowed people to have a wide colour range, though the colour depth was not as good as todays standard.
This had a huge impact on digital graphics and peoples life style as it bought shows and movies to their display as well as people being able to use these displays to create digital graphics on computers, this meant that people could interact with hardware and create images, videos and do simple tasks that we take advantage of such as browsing the internet.
These types of displays revolutionised television and display resolutions, these displays allowed for much larger displays as well as much better image quality, many plasma displays supporting early HDMI, this allowed for higher resolutions, digital resolutions, for example of 1280×720 and 1920×1080, also known as 720p and 1080p. This type of display works by using small cells containing ionized gasses that are electrically charged, these are known as plasmas. These light small fluorescent lights to a certain colour in order to form an image. This evolution of displays allowed for better resolution, bigger screen size and more capability or external devices such as consoles, computers and TV receivers. These types of displays also support a lot more colour depth over CRT displays and was a hit worldwide, although these did come out at a higher price tag.
These displays would and are still used by many people for a general display for TV as well as designers and artists who need a larger display for things such as 3d modelling and other graphical needs but in order to run a higher resolution with more colour depth meaning that you may need stronger graphical hardware such as a better GPU or other media output.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
Much like plasma, LCD or Liquid Crystal Displays also revolutionised displays, these type of displays allowed for high quality, lower power consumption and a larger variety of screen sizes, this means you can have a smaller display with good quality. Most LCD displays supported/supports HDMI, this allows you to have high quality audio and video/picture. Like plasma this is still used today but is an older type of display, these displays were and are fairly thin in comparison to CRT and plasma displays.
LCD displays work by utilizing something called liquid crystal, liquid crystal is not a solid, gas or liquid, it state lies between solid and liquid, then by placing them between 2 polarizing filters you can power them, making them move or ‘twist’ meaning the light is no longer parallel to the filter, meaning light cannot pass through, displaying darkness. By using a backlight and applying voltage to the liquid crystals you can determine what colour the light is and what light passes through, this then creates an image.
These displays had a large impact and revolutionised our display technology, LCD displays were much thinner then plasma and also had good image quality along with lower power consumption, this allowed people to use LCDs as TV displays as well as desktop displays for computers and consoles, this had a large appeal to people because of its thinness as well as usability. When developed and released these displays were very expensive, although over time they have got cheaper. They are now around 1/10 of their original price. Due to the better resolutions and larger screen sizes, this required more ‘horsepower’ or more a better output medium to display to these displays.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
LED displays, much like LCD are very thin, thinner than CRT, Plasma and LCD but are very similar to LCD displays. LED displays work much like LCD displays in the fact that they still use liquid crystals to block or allow light by applying voltage. LED displays use Light emitting diodes instead of fluorescent tubes to emit the light and colour from behind the display, lighting up the pixels to display an image.
There are many types of LED displays as different companies use different techniques, some use LED edge lighting, this shines light across the display, this allows the display to be much thinner whereas others use RGB LED backlit sets to improve colour quality.
This type of display was a huge leap in the display industry as this allowed users to have a small or very large display at good resolutions such as 800×600, 1280×720, 1920×1080, 2560×1440 and 3840×2160 as well as more resolutions in between, these displays also use much less power and appeal to a lot of users, this is because these displays were and are very suitable for desktop displays such as computer monitors allowing for a huge, revolutionary leap in many industries such as graphic design, animation, word processing, games and more.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)
OLED displays are the newest in display technology; these have and will continue to revolutionise how we use displays and the impact it will, and does have, these displays do not use liquid crystals like LED displays, these use thin films of organic molecules which can light up when powered, this type of material or display is also flexible allowing for curved displays along with potential curved, flexible displays on clothing or future ‘roll up’ televisions.
These displays are now used worldwide and are used as televisions, computer monitors, phone displays and more, this is because they consume much less power and can create more vibrant, better colours along with crisper images. OLED displays have had a huge impact in the computer industry as well as the TV industry as it allows us to use high resolutions of 1080p, 1440p and 4K with 8K coming in the future, this allows us to view movies or videos/images at high resolution on a variety of screen sizes making it a suitable option for TVs and desktop displays.
This has also had a large impact on graphical industries such as animators, photographers, videographers as well as graphic designers as it allows them to work with such high detail and heavier workloads to create new things therefor revolutionising digital media.
In order to output images and video to these displays at higher resolutions and screen sizes it requires a stronger graphics output such as a graphics card, this is because the increased detail and colour in an image corresponds with processing power and whether the graphics chip or card can render and display that image. As image quality gets larger and increases then more processing power is required, this has had an impact on the computer and display industries as companies such as NVIDIA and AMD have developed new graphic cards that can process the higher image qualities, this has also had an impact on the display industry as companies such as Samsung, LG and ASUS have created newer, better displays.
Printers are a fantastic output media, this is because printers allow you to output digital media such as photographs, graphical media, books, magazines and more on to paper or any other printable material, this has revolutionized many industries as well as home users as printers have developed over time.
Dot Matrix Printer
This type of printer was mainly used in the 1970s-90s but are still used today for certain uses, this type of printing worked by pins hitting a ribbon of ink to create dots that will then form the image, these are not used to print high quality images that can be achieved but words, numbers or lower quality image for uses like receipts.
These types of printers can print to multi-page forms meaning that they can create a carbon copy on a single print. These types of printers measure their speed by CPS (Characters per second) and depending on image quality they can range from 50 to more than 500 characters per second.
This had a huge impact on media outputs and revolutionised printing for certain industries, this includes formal or important businesses such as banks where they could create carbon copies of documents very easily so there is a backup or one for storage, this also allowed home users and other companies to print fairly quickly.
Inkjet printers were developed around the mid-1960s but became much more commercialised as time went on, this type of printing is very similar to dot matrix printing but instead of using pins to strike ribbon, inkjet printing used lots of tiny ‘guns’ to place lots of small droplets of ink, (smaller then a human hair) onto paper, this is figured out by the printer processing the data sent from the computer or device so it knows what the image should look like and knowing what nozzles need to be used.
This type of printing is measured in DPI (dots per inch), the higher the DPI the better quality image you will receive. These printers can also print in various colours by mixing different colour inks, this revolutionised printing as it allowed for high quality images with colour to be printed very fast.
This printing type is still being developed today and is still used widely by businesses and home users as it allows for easy, high quality printing. This also had a large impact on graphical designers, printing companies and many other industries and home uses as it is cheap and effective as well as easy to use meaning it can be used in a large variety of ways.
Laser printers were developed in 1969 but became much more commercial in the late 1970s onwards, these work by your computer or the device you wish to print from, sending data known as bytes, this data is then processed so the printer can recognise what the image should look like. When the image is processed the laser then scans a ‘drum’ inside the printer building up static electricity where ink called ‘toner’ is attracted to the drum, paper is then rolled across it using heated rollers to bond the ink and paper.
These were a huge revolutionary step for printing as it allowed businesses and home users (mainly businesses) to effectively print clearly and quickly although when these printers commercialised came at a high cost. This impacted many businesses, nearly all businesses as it allowed for quick printing at a reasonable cost for the company, especially with the money saved from the printing time; these types of printers can also produce much higher quality images and prints than the dot matrix printing method. These types of printers were/are also much quieter than dot matrix printers meaning that they are much more suitable for office and business use.
This type of printing method was actually developed and used in the mid-1980s but has had a technological leap in recent years, allowing for many more uses. This printing method today uses certain materials to create a wide array of objects of different shapes, sizes and colours. This works by the printer processing the 3D model made on the computer using certain software such as CADCAM and then by heating the material to soften it, this material is then applied layer by layer as the printer head moves around the area until the 3D model is complete.
Much like other printing methods of their time, todays 3D printing has by far revolutionised how we can print and will change many industries in the near future, this impacts a lot of different industries already from medicine to retailers, for example, in recent years people have been able to have exact replicas of bone replacements like skull implants for fractures or new hips whereas 3D printing has already been used in businesses for many different uses such as 3D printed circuit boards as well as other products. This type of printing also allows graphical images and artists to theoretically make their designs 3D, this is also accompanied by future technologies being able to scan objects at 360 ?? and implement the object to a 3D modelling program as well as scanning images and a computer AI to estimate what a 3D version of the image could or would look like.
Plotters are used to create large vector type designs such as building plans and blueprints, it works by receiving data sent from a computer aided design (CAD) application and then begins to print using a pen and plotting where pen should go, these are usually used for large, straight lines although can be used to create text and other designs.
These types of printers had a large impact on design industries and somewhat revolutionised digital graphics as it allowed companies or architects/designers to print large, high quality designs or blueprints, this made construction and design much easier to read/ create as well as being faster and more efficient than drawing manually.
This type of machine looks like a printer or plotter although uses computer aided design (CAD) to control and cut out letters and shapes from a sheet/s of vinyl using a blade, these would be usually used to create signs, posters and other uses and would be found in most businesses that are in the graphics industry.
When developed these had a large impact on digital graphics as it bought a whole new output medium for computer aided designs, this allowed large cut outs for posters and signs meaning, this made it much quicker, more accurate and is a much more effective way of cutting instead of having someone manually use a knife or scissors to cut the vinyl.
Scanners & Copiers
Scanners had a huge impact on digital graphics, or graphics in general as these allowed people to scan printed documents and view them on a computer screen or display as well as being able to digitalise anything graphical that has been drew, painted or created not on a computer or device and then view and/or manipulate that graphical media on a display or computer.
This had a large impact on the computer industry and computer users as it allowed graphical drawings/creations to be digitalized and displayed, this had a large impact because the new technology meant a lot of businesses could scan and copy files quickly and effectively as well as home users to do the same, this also meant people could scan photographs meaning that this had a large impact the photography industry as physical images (film, polaroid) could now be digitalised and edited.
Scanners and copiers use the same principle but use slightly different methods for their different uses, these work by placing the document on a glass panel and closing the cover, the scanner/copier head will then light up the document using a fluorescent light as the scan head proceeds from left to right slowly using a series of mirrors, lens’s, filters and a CCD array to reflect the document and process it into an image, ready for the data to be re-printed (copied) or uploaded to a computer through an attached cable.
Over the years mobile phones have developed dramatically, adding new features on each generation, from going to basic capabilities, mobile phones and tablets can now be used to create digital graphics and media very easily, this technology is used by millions on a daily basis to carry out rudimentary tasks as well as using them to design, watch or view something.
The first mobile phone to feature a display is the Moterola DyanaTAC 8000X, this used a very small screen to display the digits you have entered, this did not have a huge impact on the revolution of phones although was the first to display anything, this was developed and commercialised in 1983, mobile phones from this point on featured some sort of display.
In regard to digital graphics mobile phones started to develop further and began to use a green display, this was a huge leap forward and had a huge impact on how people could interact with their mobiles, this display allowed users to visually view the information stored on their phone such as contact, text messages as well as being able to play games such as Snake and Tetris, though this display only supported black colour on a green background it revolutionised the graphical feature.
Some phones, much like others incorporated a black and white or monochromatic background instead of the black and green scheme, though these display types were basic it allowed you to graphically utilize mobile phones, for example, to check the time or to read a message.
As the mobile industry progressed newer phones innovated, bring new features that we had not previously seen, this included the use of colour and mobiles began to support colour, this allowed for users to interact with their mobiles in newer ways such as being able to play new, interactive games as well as being able to view small images with reasonable colour depth. Mobiles that supported colour had a large impact in the industry as it allowed new digital graphics to be utilised such as viewing coloured backgrounds, emails, dates as well as interacting with the phones features.
With innovation for colour phones also came better screen sizes as well as resolutions, though still low by today’s standards, these phones supported a higher resolution meaning clearer text and images, a huge impact on the users of the mobiles and a large revolution in the mobile markets and innovation/development.
Not long after incorporating colour, mobile phones began to incorporate cameras, this allowed people to take images, view them as well as share those using methods such as text, Bluetooth and infrared with other mobiles as well as being able to display the images on a computer. This had a large impact on the mobile market, digital graphics because it let users take an image in full colour and a good resolution and then display or share the image with others using a variety of methods, this was a large revolution for digital graphics as it started to connect the world in a new way as well as people carrying a camera wherever they go to capture many images.
Touch Screen & Smart Phones
Touch screen’s early days was amazing, new technology as it allowed the users of the mobile device to interact with it using their hands/skin without pressing any tactile buttons, though this was a huge step in digital media/graphics’it wasn’t implemented very well. This is because the mobiles were not responsive enough for people to enjoy using and was usually very ‘laggy’ and slow until further development when touch screen was an enjoyable technology to use because of new hardware, software and overall design.
This did however revolutionise digital graphics in a different way as some touch screen mobiles, as well as being able to take images and display graphics, also allowed the users to interact with images by adding zoom features as well as video capabilities, by this time mobiles could also be used to browse the web. Most touch screen phones also offered a larger screen size as well as a much higher resolution than previous mobiles could offer, this had a large impact on many industries as well as users because it meant people could view or take images at higher resolutions as well as being able to read clearly or watch a video/movie.
As time carried on, mobile phones, especially touch screens innovated which became the largest digital graphical revolution through mobile history, with new software and hardware capabilities, the mobile industry designed what we call the ‘smart phone’, much like other phones this includes cameras, contacts, colour and touchscreen although offered a much nicer, interactive experience.
The phones of today allow you to interact in new ways such as being able to watch movies, take photos and video at a much higher image resolutions such as 1280×720, 1920×1080, and 2560×1440 as well as having a much larger colour depth for better colour. Smart phones also allow people to digitally create media by offering software known as ‘apps’ to edit and create images as well as video. These ‘apps’ also included lot of different available software like new games, editing software, word processing, web surfing and many more.
This has had the largest impact on digital graphics as well as everyday life as these mobiles have connected the world, allowed for mass sharing and creating of digital media as well as making touch screen and smart phones the most popular type of phone and smart phones being the way ‘forward’.
Graphic tablets are used by many people who are interested in graphics as well as businesses like art companies, photographers and other graphic jobs. Graphics tablets are a flat, rectangle pad that you use a pen with, some are also touch sensitive; this pen then corresponds to where the pen should be on the monitor and acts as the mouse. This is really good for people who want to digitally create something graphical or manipulate something with the accuracy of using a pen instead of a mouse.
This had a large impact on digital graphics as it allowed users to digitally create something with the accuracy and comfort of them using a pen instead of trying to use a mouse, creating much nicer and more natural creations such as art.
There are many companies that develop graphics tablets but the most popular, reliable and well respected for their build quality and accuracy would most likely be Wacom, they are the most used company for graphic tablets and produce a variety of models and sizes for different uses; because of this people buy their products, especially artists, photographers and digital graphic designers.
In conclusion, digital graphic output mediums have evolved and revolutionised how we see and use different types of graphics today, this includes clearer, bigger screens with increased resolutions; introducing colour to displays as well as being able to print digital media effectively and quickly in multiple ways, all for different uses.
All of these factors have changed digital graphics and they will only continue to develop further as time goes on, in this essay I have only talked about a few of the newer and older output mediums but there are and will be a lot more allowing us to be able to utilise digital graphics in new ways than ever before.