Published on November 11th, 2017 | by Sunit Nandi


Evolution of Computer Graphics

Computer Graphics refers to image data that is generated by a computer using graphical software and hardware. It is a broad computer science field, which comprises of topics like vector graphics, sprite graphics, UI design, computer vision and others.

Taking A Walk Through Its Evolution


Punched card was used in 1801 to manage textile looms. It was however used for the first time as a computer input medium 1941. Typewriter-like gadgets were used in punching holes through papers which would then be read by computers.


The 1st graphic images were created by Ben Laposky. It was an Oscilloscope, which he created using an electronic machine.


A Whirlwind computer was the 1st machine that had real time data video display.


A light pen was invented.


  • The 1st video game (SpaceWar) functioned with the help of an oscilloscope (vector displays).
  • The 1st drawing program (SketchPad) was written by Ivan Sutherland.


A mouse was invented by Doug Engelbart.


A line drawing algorithm was invented by Jack Bresenham and NASTRAN FEA program was introduced.


Pong and video arcade game that can today be found at marias casino were created by Nolan Bushnell, Raster displays started appearing and CT scanner was introduced.


Vesprille’s Computer Aided Design dissertation developed a mathematical representation of arbitrary curves that are good for computation.


Douglas McDonell Unigraphics, Star Wars and CADAM (1st commercial 2D CAD package) were released. Apple II was the 1st graphics PC.


Voelcker created the 1st constructive solid geometry standard and Charles Lang created the 1st modeling engine for boundary representation.


CATIA (a 3D CAD package) was created by constructive solid geometry.


  • TRON was the 1st movie to utilize computer graphics a lot.
  • Commodore 64 PC used raster graphics for televisions to be display gadgets.
  • AutoCAD 1.0, SDRC I-deas (CAD package) and voxel notion were introduced.
  • Apple Lisa was the 1st PC to have a mouse and GUI. However it failed.


Voxel technology got embedded in most medical imaging applications and Luxo by Pixar was released.


Introduction of VGA graphics and launch of the 1st UNIX CAD software


SVGA and Unigraphics got introduced. The 1st website was also created by Berners Lee.


CAD packages operated on UNIX.


The 1st web browser (Mosaic) was released.


A 3D version of AutoCAD was released and the Mosaic browser developers created Netscape.


Release of the 1st fully CGI movie, Solidworks and Microsoft Internet Explorer 1.0


Mozilla foundation was formed from Netscape leftovers.


The 1st online based CAD system (Sketchup) was created.


Release of the last fantasy movie


Fluid structure and computation fluids were possible on laptop.


Big data was used to create animations


Animations could be done by mapping from sources to targets in real time.


Computer graphics has had a huge impact in most media. It has generally revolutionized video games, advertising, movies, animations and graphics design.

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About the Author

I’m the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there’s no tomorrow.

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