This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Reality and the world of 3D - Part 14

3D - Continued 4

I really want you to understand this difference between an analog real world and a digital computer world. Take a white piece of paper and put a pop can on it, then with a pencil draw a circle by following the curvature of the bottom of the can. When you have done that, drink the contents of the can. Now, open the Paint application that's part of every Windows install and draw a circle. Compare the circle you drew on paper with the circle on the computer screen. Do you see a difference?

Notice how smooth the circle that you drew on paper is, and how rough the circle you drew in Paint is. This is a major difference between the real world and the computer world. In the real world, a sheet of paper is a material that accepts inks of many kinds. It is a canvas with an ability to show color limited only by the size of the brush(or pen tip) and the absorbtion factor of the ink(or paint) used. It is also a material that doesn't care where you paint on it, or how large or small your strokes are, it can represent them all, including extremely detailed shapes. We can say, then, that the paper material has a virtually unlimited resolution; in other words, it functions as an analog device.

Computers, however, are not like that at all. On a computer, a painting canvas is represented by a very specific resolution that you have to choose. is defined by a , with an 'X' and 'Y' axis, 'X' going left-to-right, and 'Y' going up-to-down. For example, common resolutions are 640x480, 1024x768, 1280x960, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. If these numbers sound familiar, it is because these numbers are also what your is, and also the resolution of images coming out of consumer-grade . Though these resolutions are common, they are, by no means, the only resolutions you are limited to when working with computer images.

The higher the resolution of the image, the higher the level of detail you can see on the screen and print. There are drawbacks, however. Every time you double the size of your image, say, by going from 640x480 to 1280x960, you quadruple the amount of space it takes on disk and in memory. 640*480 = 307,200 dots, but 1280x960 = 1,228,800 dots, which is four times greater than 307,200 dots. This is because you double each dimension(X and Y axis) separately. Dots are also known as '', and hence the term “megapixel”. 1280x960 is a 1 megapixel image, but 1600x1200 is a 2 image. A megapixel is approximately 1 million pixels. These terms aren't exact, as you can see, so you must do your own calculations to determine exactly the resolution of any given image.

Your image resolutions need not match your screen resolution. You can easily view a 1600x1200 image on a 1280x1024 screen because the software that displays it will either let you scroll left-right and up-down, or will simply scale the image down for display purposes. In effect, you see a smaller version of your image, but can easily zoom in and out to see more detail.

Now that you know about resolutions and pixels, we will now proceed with the discussion of how this relates to a computer screen being used as a canvas for painting. Please stay tuned...

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