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Computer graphics software, the subject of this guide, is a program or suite of programs designed for the manipulation of images or models on a computer.

Types of graphics software include raster graphics and vector graphics, with 2D and 3D variants. Some graphics applications are focused entirely on either raster or vector graphics, while others include both. Vector graphics can be easily converted to raster, but it's difficult to go the other way, although some software includes this function.

Raster graphics, also known as bitmap images, are a dot matrix data structure that represents a (usually) rectangular grid of pixels that are viewable through a monitor, on paper, or other display medium. Raster images are stored in image files, with varying formats. Most computers have bitmapped displays, in which each on-screen pixel corresponds to a small number of bits in memory, and most computer images are stored in a raster graphics format, which includes GIF, JPG, JPEG, and PNG.

Raster graphics are resolution dependent, and are unable to scale up to an arbitrary resolution without a loss in quality, as opposed to vector graphics, which can easily scale up to the quality of whatever device is rendering them.

Raster-based image editors (PaintShop Pro, Painter, Photoshop, Paint.NET, MS Paint, GIMP) revolve around editing pixels. When an image is rendered in a raster-based editor, it is made up of millions of pixels, and the image editor functions through the manipulation of each individual pixel.

Vector graphics are images that are defined in terms of 2D points that are connected by lines and curves, forming polygons and other shapes. Vector-based image editors (Xfig, CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape) function by editing lines and shapes, known as vectors. Vector graphic editors usually allow translation, rotation, mirroring, stretching, and skewing. Vector graphic formats include SVG, EPS, PDF, and AI.

Most graphics software applications include the ability to import and export one or more graphics file formats, including those written for a particular application. Such applications include Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, GIMP, Picasa, and Microsoft Publisher.

In addition to static graphics, computer graphics software includes animation and video editing applications.

Computer animation software is used for digitally generating animated images, and may include CGI, 2D, and 3D computer graphics. Video editing software is used in the post-production editing of digital video sequences, replacing cellular film editing tools and analog video tape-to-tape editing machines.

A wide variety of graphics software tools are appropriate for inclusion in this category, or its subcategories.


3D Graphics & Modeling

Color Management & Pickers

Computer Animation

Copyright Protection

Fractal Generation

Image Conversion

Image Creation & Editing

Vector Graphics



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