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Graphics Software Technology

Vector Vengeance: British Claim They Can Kill the Pixel Within Five Years 221

MrSeb writes "The humble pixel — the 2D picture element that has formed the foundation of just about every kind of digital media for the last 50 years — may soon meet its maker. Believe it or not, if a team of British are to be believed, the pixel, within five short years, will be replaced with vectors. If you know about computer graphics, or if you've ever edited or drawn an image on your computer, you know that there are two primary ways of storing image data: As a bitmap, or as vectors. A bitmap is quite simply a giant grid of pixels, with the arrangement and color of the pixels dictating what the image looks like. Vectors are an entirely different beast: In vector graphics, the image is described as a series of mathematical equations. To draw a bitmap shape you just color in a block of pixels; with vector graphics, you would describe the shape in terms of height, width, radius, and so on. At the moment, bitmaps are used almost exclusively in the realm of digital media — but that isn't to say they don't have their flaws. As display (and camera and cinema) resolution increases, so does the number of pixels. The obvious problem with this is that larger bitmaps are computationally more expensive to process, resulting in a slower (or more expensive) workflow. Pixel bitmaps don't scale very gracefully; reduction is okay, but enlargement is a no-no. There is always the issue of a master format, too: With pixel bitmaps, conversions from one format to another, or changing frame rates, is messy, lossy business. Which finally leads us back to the innovation at hand: Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors (PDF)."
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Vector Vengeance: British Claim They Can Kill the Pixel Within Five Years

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  • Vectrex LIVES! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:26PM (#42264817)

    The return of the glorious Vectrex!

  • Re:Terrible summary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teg ( 97890 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @04:42PM (#42265013) Homepage

    They're not "getting rid of pixels," since you'll still have pixels on your monitor and your graphics card will still buffer what it's drawing to the screen.

    The paper sounds interesting enough, but the summary has essentially nothing to do with it.

    Vector monitors [wikipedia.org] to the rescue!

  • Re:Yeah, not real. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @05:03PM (#42265267) Homepage Journal

    How big a set of parameters do you think it would take to define MERELY THE OUTLINE of a squirrel?

    All estimates of the length of any coastline are wrong. They vary widely depending on how many curves are taken into account. Without adequate smoothing, the length of the coast of Norway is infinite. With adequate smoothing, it's a few miles.

  • Re:Finally at last (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @09:06PM (#42267889)

    Actually the newest displays are so high density most people's eyes can't resolve the pixels, so an iPad might as well be a vector monitor.

    Only if you follow the marketing speak which adds a couple of assumptions about how far away your eyes will be from the screen and such.
    No, the iPad is nowhere near to be equivalent to a vector monitor.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard