Graphics programs deal with pictures, either static or moving, flat or 3D. There are an amazing number of different formats for images in the world and no one program can handle them all.
Adobe Photoshop is the most widely used graphics program for professionals. PaintShopPro and Adobe PhotoShop Elements are popular with non-professionals because they offer most of Photoshop's features at a lower cost. There are many other programs that work with graphics. Some specialize in handling photographs or animations or creating logos.
You can learn a lot by digging around a program's web site. Most include info about features plus how-to lessons.
Purpose: To create and edit images
Paint programs work with pictures on a pixel-by-pixel basis, where a pixel is the smallest dot on the screen. Such programs handle photographs and most clipart. MS Paint is this type of program.
Drawing programs, on the other hand, define images in terms of vectors, that is, equations that describe geometric shapes. Fortunately, the user doesn't have to do the math!
Drawing objects in MS Office are vector images. The examples here were SVG, scalable vector graphics, but the image is now in PNG format so that Internet Explorer won't choke. <sigh>
Animation and video programs put a set of still pictures into a sequence. When the sequence of images is run, the change from one picture to the next fools the eye into seeing motion. This is how movies and television work. An individual image in an animation is called a cel. (Yes, there is just one l in that word!)
The animation of eyes above was made with just 2 cels. The animation below from Microsoft GIF Animator takes 56 cels!
|bitmap image||Picture defined as a series of dots|
|vector image||Picture defined as a set of geometric shapes, using equations|
|animation||Sequence of images that are shown rapidly in succession, causing an impression of movement|
|pixel||Single picture element, the smallest dot on the screen or page. A period (.) is made of 4 pixels in a square.|
|palette|| Set of
choices, such as colors or shapes
|brush||Tool for drawing lines. May give the effect of using a pencil, a paint brush, an airbrush spray, chalk, charcoal, felt-tip marker...|
|handles||Shapes on a selected object that allow you to change the shape by dragging the handle|
|fill||Colors an enclosed area with one color or pattern|
|cel||Single image in an animation sequence. The two cels (enlarged below) create animated eyes .