BMP: The standard bit-mapped graphics format used in the Windows environment. By convention, graphics files in the BMP format end with a.BMP extension. BMP files store graphics in a format called device-independent bitmap (DIB).
EPS: Abbreviation of Encapsulated PostScript. Pronounced as separate letters, EPS is the graphics file format used by the PostScript language. EPS files can be either binary or ASCII. The term EPS usually implies that the file contains a bit-mapped representation of the graphics for display purposes. In contrast, PostScript files include only the PostScript commands for printing the graphic.
GIF: Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g) stands for graphics interchange format, a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, making it especially effective for scanned photos.
GPU: Used primarily for 3-D applications, a graphics processing unit is a single-chip processor that creates lighting effects and transforms objects every time a 3D scene is redrawn. These are mathematically-intensive tasks, which otherwise, would put quite a strain on the CPU. Lifting this burden from the CPU frees up cycles that can be used for other jobs. The first company to develop the GPU is NVIDIA Inc. Its GeForce 256 GPU is capable of billions of calculations per second, can process a minimum of 10 million polygons per second, and has over 22 million transistors, compared to the 9 million found on the Pentium III. Its workstation version called the Quadro, designed for CAD applications, can process over 200 billion operations a second and deliver up to 17 million triangles per second. The GeForce NVIDIA GPU card is compatible with the following graphics APIs : OpenGL and Microsoft's DirectX, Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) technology and AMD 's 3DNow! The Quadro is an OpenGL specific card with driver support for Pentium III Xeon and AMD Athlon CPUs.
IPIX: A technology developed by Interactive Pictures Corporation (formerly known as OmniView) that allows users to create and view 360-degree panoramic photographs. Originally called PhotoBubble, IPIX images are created by stitching together two hemispherical shots taken through a fish-eye lens. The result is a spherical panoramic image. To view an IPIX, you need a stand-alone IPIX viewer or a plug-in that works within another application, such as a Web browser. The viewer allows you to move within the IPIX environment to view different parts of the image. Interactive Pictures Corporation, which is also called IPIX, offers a variety of viewers and plug-ins for free, and sells tools to create and manipulate IPIX images. A competing format for panoramic images is QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR), developed by Apple Computer.
JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg. JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.
OpenGL: A 3-D graphics language developed by Silicon Graphics. There are two main implementations:
Microsoft OpenGL, developed by Microsoft
Cosmo OpenGL, developed by Silicon Graphics
Microsoft OpenGL is built into Windows NT and is designed to improve performance on hardware that supports the OpenGL standard. Cosmo OpenGL, on the other hand, is a software-only implementation specifically designed for machines that do not have a graphics accelerator. Another standard that is popular for rendering 3-D images is Direct3D.
PDF: Portable Document Format, a page-description file format based on PostScript that gives designers precise control over the look and feel of pages. Requires external plug-in acrobat reader.
PICT file format: A file format developed by Apple Computer in 1984. PICT files are encoded in QuickDraw commands and can hold both object-oriented images and bit-mapped images. It is supported by all graphics programs that run on Macintosh computers. The original PICT format supported 8 colors. Modern versions of PICT, including PICT2, support 32-bit color (more than 16 million colors).
PNG: Short for Portable Network Graphics, and pronounced ping, a new bit-mapped graphics format similar to GIF. In fact, PNG was approved as a standard by the World Wide Web consortium to replace GIF because GIF uses a patented data compression algorithm called LZW. In contrast, PNG is completely patent- and license-free. The most recent versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer now support PNG.
QuickDraw: The underlying graphics display system for Apple Macintosh computers. The QuickDraw system enables programs to create and manipulate graphical objects. Because all Macintosh programs use QuickDraw, they all share a common look. There are several versions of QuickDraw that offer different color capabilities and other features. The newest, called QuickDraw GX, supports 16.7 million colors. QuickDraw is currently used primarily for displaying images on monitors, but some printers use it as well.
QuickTime VR: An enhanced version of the QuickTime standard developed by Apple for displaying multimedia content (animation, audio, and video) on computers. This enhanced version adds the ability to display and rotate objects in three dimensions. A QuickTime VR plug-in is available for most Web browsers. You prepare visual material for QuickTime VR from computer-generated 3D artwork or from a series of photographs. To use photographs, an object must be photographed from various angles. The QuickTime viewer is able to stitch the photos together in a realistic way as you move about outside an object or inside a space.
SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics is a vector graphics language written in XML. Using SVG, graphics can be coded directly into an XML document. SVG works by assigning attributes to SVG elements. For instance, the "svg" element takes on the attributes x, y, height, width, allowZoomAndPan. This element is the outermost container, which defines the image. The allowZoomAndPan attribute gives the author control over zooming in and panning over the image. Other elements define shapes and lines, others define opacity and others define ways to embed JPEGs and PNG s into the SVG image. Still, these are only a few SVG elements; there are many more. Currently, SVG images cannot be seen through a Web browser ; therefore, a user must download a SVG viewer.
TIFF: Acronym for tagged image file format, one of the most widely supported file formats for storing bit-mapped images on personal computers (both PCs and Macintosh computers). Other popular formats are BMP and PCX. TIFF graphics can be any resolution, and they can be black and white, gray-scaled, or color. Files in TIFF format often end with a .tif extension.
VRML: Pronounced ver-mal, and short for Virtual Reality Modeling Language, VRML is a specification for displaying 3-dimensional objects on the World Wide Web. You can think of it as the 3-D equivalent of HTML. Files written in VRML have a.wrl extension (short for world). To view these files, you need a VRML browser or a VRML plug-in to a Web browser. VRML produces a hyperspace (or a world), a 3-dimensional space that appears on your display screen. And you can figuratively move within this space. That is, as you press keys to turn left, right, up or down, or go forwards or backwards, the images on your screen will change to give the impression that you are moving through a real space. The new VRML 2.0 specification was finalized in August, 1996.