Graphics software

Graphics programs are software that enable a user to use a computer to visually manipulate or create images. Computer graphics may be raster graphics or vector graphics in 2D or 3D, and graphics software will usually focus on one type. For this reason there is also graphics software which converts raster graphics to vector graphics. Graphics software may also deal with video and animation graphics in addition to static graphics. Because of this, graphics software packages often cross over substantially and may be able to be used for multiple purposes.

The most common type of graphics software are painting software packages which enable the user to draw and colour images freehand in the same way that someone would by hand. The user is then able to select tools to provide different drawing effects such as pens, brushes and stamps for example. Typically, this software works via Bitmap graphics which essentially enable the user to individually edit a pixel at a defined coordinate. The tool that software consultancies provides facilitates the ways in which they can edit the pixels by making them as similar to drawing by hand as possible. Examples of this program include Microsoft Paint or Corel Draw.


Painting software may also utilise vector graphics, for example Adobe Illustrator. While Bitmap graphics store information about the appearance of a pixel at a particular coordinate, vector graphics software store information about the mathematical relationships between control points via lines called vector paths. Vector software enables an image to be created which may be increased or decreased in size without losing quality.

Other examples of graphics software include photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop for example, utilises bitmap images and enable the user to edit digital images. Another is Computer Aided Design (CAD) which is the most complex painting software package. CAD software is typically used by designers to produce highly detailed technical drawings.