Two-dimensional computer graphics are a staple of video postproduction houses. The low resolution of video allows real-time manipulation of images by the graphic artist. The user interface of a two-dimensional system is usually a graphics tablet. The artist uses an electronic stylus to draw or paint on the tablet much as a painter would use a brush and canvas. Because of this, these computers are called paintbox systems. Video artists use paintbox systems to create special effects and to manipulate the original video source material. For example, a paintbox system can retouch tape dropouts or remove unwanted objects.
Digital frame stores are memory devices that scan and store complete frames of video in a digital format. Several companies make two-dimensional computer graphics systems, such as the ADO, that utilize digital frame stores to do freeze frames, zooms, video compression and expansion, video positioning, changes of aspect ratio, programmable patterns, picture flips and tumbles, etc.
Three-dimensional computer graphics are being used more and more in the motion-picture field. From pioneering efforts such as Tron and The Last Starfighter to more recent special-effects extravaganzas such as Terminator 2 and Lawnmozuer Man, three-dimensional computer graphics can create images that would be impossible to produce using normal special-effects technologies.
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