The hardware that we use in graphics creation and viewing is constantly evolving, and has been for many years, this is across all aspects of graphic images, including processors and graphics cards, but what I am going to be discussing today is the way in which these devices have changed the ways that images are being created, namely printers, monitors and mobile devices.
A printer is a device that allows digital elements to be transferred onto paper, plastic or rubber, using a selection of different coloured ink. Home printers tend to only print onto paper size A4 or smaller. There are multiple methods in which this is done.
A dot matrix is the oldest type of printer. The printer head holds an ink-soaked strip of cloth known as the ink ribbon and the printer head moves in an up and down motion or runs back and forth on the paper, making a blot where each pixel appears. The dots are produced by a tiny needle, being pulled up and pushed down by wires in the printer head. The printer head continuously moves and prints only one vertical text line at a time. The picture shows what an early Dot Matrix print looked like.
Advantages of a Dot Matrix printer are that they are cheap and easy to use, but there are many disadvantages, such as the fact that they are very low resolution and will only be used for printing text and that they have very limited colour options, and are mainly restricted to black and white prints. If you were printing graphics, it would not be a sensible idea to use a dot-matrix printer.
A laser printer is a more modern type of printer that uses relatively simple principles. A laser beam is shone onto something called a drum, the drum then produces a negative image of the printout. It rotates over the toner cartridge and attracts the positive toner particles. The drum then rotates over the paper tray, and these positive particles are then stuck to the paper. The paper is then rolled through a fusing element, which sticks the paper and the toner particles together.
Advantages of a laser printer are that laser printers are cheap to operate. As they do not use ink, they use toner, which are plastic and iron particles that are melted on to paper; the cartridges do not dry up and are much cheaper to buy than inkjet cartridges. Disadvantages are that the printer itself will be more expensive to buy than an inkjet.
It has affected graphic design because it means designers can print off their works many times at exactly the same quality and there will be no smudges or blotchiness. A laser printer would be a good option to use when printing graphics onto paper, as the ink will not smear if it uses heavy amounts of ink, and the print itself will not be expensive if you are printing colour images.
Inkjet printers are printers that place extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image. If you ever look at a piece of paper that has come out of an inkjet printer the dots are extremely small, around 50-60 microns in diameter. They use a series of nozzles to spray different coloured drops of ink directly on the paper.
Advantages of an inkjet printer are that they are very cheap to buy, and are the most popular printer type at the minute, so they can be found almost anywhere. A disadvantage of these is that they go through ink at an unbelievable rate, and ink cartridges are very expensive, so running them isn’t cheap at all.
An inkjet would also be a good option when printing out graphics but bear in mind that it will beexpensive to print large amounts of colour images due to the high price of ink. This has affected the production of graphic design since it allows designers to print off their work for a relatively low amount of money at a high quality onto A4 paper.
A plotter is a device that draws pictures on paper based on commands from a computer. Plotters differ from printers in that they draw lines using a pen. As a result, they can produce continuous lines, whereas printers can only simulate lines by printing a closely spaced series of dots. Multicolour plotters use different-coloured pens to draw different colours.
In general, plotters are considerably more expensive than printers. They are used in engineering applications where precision is mandatory, such as Architecture and Network Design. They may also be used to create large advertising banners and posters.
The advantage of a plotter is that it is extremely precise because it is drawn with a pen, rather than a series of small dots, so lines will be seamless. A disadvantage is that a plotter will be much more money than the other ones mentioned, and also they are complicated to use, they use command lines and coding, which most people would struggle to understand.
This has affected the graphic design market because it has made it possible for graphic designers who work in the architectural and design sector to create detailed plans of buildings, which may have contributed to the increasing sophistication and functionality in buildings and vehicles.
Overall, the evolution of printers has affected the production of digital graphics quite drastically.
The definition of a printer is an output device that enables a user of a computer to print out what they see on their screen if connected to a computer. The development of printers of the ages has become more advanced whereas a couple years ago if you were to use a printer you would have to pay for an expensive printer in order to get the best picture possible; evidently, this would halt your graphic image editing process. Graphic image creation and editing are also enhanced through the printers of today by allowing the user to perform more than one function i.e. also being able to scan images, copy images and print in different colours if required; the printer practically does everything the graphics editor wants. It also allows them to print at home with more definition. An editor could even set up a studio in their own home, where they could print quality pictures for a relatively low price.
A monitor is a TV-screen-like device that is used to show the user what they are doing on the computer, it emits different coloured lights to show the user what they are doing. Some monitors also have a touchscreen, so the user no longer needs to use a mouse.
CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube, it is effectively a mini projector that shines a beam of light onto the back of the monitor screen. There are three light emitting barrels that are blue, yellow and red. These are
known as guns, these guns shoot light onto the back of the screen, creating an image on the screen.
This technology is relatively outdated but is still available for a lower price than the rest of the monitor technologies. If you were running on a budget this may well be an option, but these often have a fat back and are quite bulky, and the screen is glass so will shatter if dropped so therefore could be more dangerous.
Stands for Liquid Crystal Display. It creates an image when light beams are shone through a series of tiny crystals, which change the colour of the light. Signals control how much light is sent through each cell, which means controls which colours appear and how light/vibrant they are.
Stands for Light-Emitting Diode. LED televisions used standard LCD technology but with one crucial difference, which is that the backlight lamps that illuminate the LCD crystals are replaced by a larger number of tiny LEDs. This enables LED TVs to be much slimmer than and LCD screen of the same screen size.
Plasma TVs use completely different technology and principles to LCD and LED sets. A plasma display is an array of tiny gas cells sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Each cell acts like a mini fluorescent tube, emitting ultraviolet light which then strikes red, green and blue spots on the screen. These spots glow to build up the picture.
Advantages of these technologies are that monitors can get a lot thinner than they were a few years ago, and also can have a much higher pixel resolution, which could be up to 1080 pixels per inch. It also means that they can have flat screens, whereas the old CRT monitors had curved screens. A disadvantage is that these monitors may cost more money. The cheapest of the three is LED, which is also the most energy efficient and consequently the most popular. The plasma screen is likely to be the most expensive, but it does deliver the highest quality image.
This would affect the graphics design because the more modern monitors also have HDMI and DVI-Icable input, which responds better to graphics cards within the PCs, whereas the old CRT monitors only had low-quality VGA input, which means that the designer can see the work he’s creating in a more detail, and with a variety of brightness and contrast settings. This will make graphics productions more detailed. Another effect that this would have is that mistakes on the images would be easier to spot, so they would be more prone to scrutiny. This means that the graphics editor would need to take the utmost care when creating the image, as they will be much clearer on the High Definition television.
3D is still a developing technology. There are a few 3D monitors and TVs that are released but the technology is relatively unpopular on the consumer level. Graphic designers would use this to create images that appear in 3d, which means they jump off the screen, and look closer than they actually are. 3D technology in the past has not been without its issues though. Some 3D systems require the user to wear special glasses, like at the cinema, and other systems, like the Nintendo 3DS that didn’t require glasses, users reported that they had strong headaches after using the device for an extended period of time. But 3D monitors are growing in popularity and certain programs are available to create 3D graphics, examples of this are CAD software.
Advantages of using a 3D monitor are that they can make an image more interactive as the user could think the things on the screen we right in front of their eyes. A disadvantage is that only certain programs and hardware support 3D graphics.
A projector is a device that shines a screen on a wall or board using a selection of different coloured light rays. These light rays create the exact image onto the wall, so it is as if the projector screen is an extension or duplicate of the computer screen. Old projectors were called slide or overhead projectors, they shined one ray of white light, and people would put see through bits of plastic or paper in front of them and they would shine the still image onto the screen.
An advantage of a projector is that a graphic designer can show off their work to an entire room of people, and they will be able to see it as a picture could be so large. A disadvantage is that the picture is often of low quality and the room needs to be completely dark in order to see it.
This has affected graphic design because graphic designers can now show their graphics, and their process of creating the graphics publicly, which also makes it a useful teaching tool and therefore help open graphic design to a wider audience.
A tablet is a touchscreen device that allows users to browse the internet, use apps and play games, to name just a few features. A tablet will usually have a screen size of between 7 and 12 inches. The main examples of tablets are the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Amazon Kindle. Another device is
something called a graphics tablet. Graphics tablets are a device that has a screen and a pen that the user can write or draw on, to make hand drawings digitalised, there are also apps on normal tablets that offer services like this.
An advantage of these is that you can digitalise hand drawings, which are easier than drawing with the mouse of a PC. A disadvantage is that there may be quite expensive, the iPad, for example, costs the best part of £900.
This has changed the graphic design market by allowing users to make digital drawings on the move, to later be edited at an office or at home.
A smartphone is a device that is usually touchscreen. It which allow the user to download third-party apps and games, as well as music and videos, smartphones can also be used to browse the internet and check and send emails too. Smartphones also have cameras on them, these cameras are always increasing in quality. The best mobile phone cameras are those on the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Huawaei P20.
Advantages of smartphones are that graphic designers and photographers may not have access to a big heavy professional camera all of the time, but are always likely to have a smartphone in their pocket, therefore giving them the freedom to take a quick snap of anything, that can later be used in graphics edits. A disadvantage of a mobile phone is that they are often expensive, for a high-end phone it will cost you around £500-£1000, or £35-£50 a month.
Mobile phones have affected the graphic design market by allowing people to take photos much more frequently and in an increasingly high quality. They also have the ability for photos to be shared and accessed over the internet on the move with relative ease. Mobile phones also have their own graphics editing applications, an example of which is Adobe Photoshop Express. What this means is that graphic designers can edit images on their mobile phones, but not anywhere near to the extent that they could on a computer.
In conclusion, I think it is clear that increasing technology has had a heavy impact on the graphic design industry. I think that overall, however, the biggest leap forward is the monitor design. With the LED, LCD and Plasma screens, it becomes clear that images are shown so crisply and in such a high quality.