Computer graphics is the process of generating, storing and manipulating geometric objects, and subsequently rendering or generating a scene into an image.
Computer graphics has its foundations buried deep in the 1950’s when Ben Laposky manipulated the analogue beam of an oscilloscope to create an image and record it onto highspeed film. Ivan Sutherland formulated ideas for the basic shapes and processes now used in computer graphics and he is considered the founder of computer graphics.
As computer technology has developed, the computer hardware became more and more capable of performing the basic processes at greater and greater rates, eventually enabling people to create 3D graphics.
For years, 3D graphics has been confined within the computer and only able to be viewed via 2D screens. This limitation has restricted the virtual 3D world to something that looks tangible but can never be touched until the invention of the 3D printer.
3D printing is an extension of 3D graphics which allows a 3D model to be printed out into something that can be touched, held and moved around. This can help film makers and animators to see set layouts and character designs, and in some circumstances create stop motion animation that can simulate the likeness of CGI.
Recent advances in 3D printing have enabled doctors to print living body parts opening new opportunities for the medical practice. This is, to date, one of the best uses of 3D graphics, and will continue to develop and improve as techniques are refined, and could one day save lives.