The research and development in the manufacture of drugs, chemicals, automobiles, airplanes, industrial plants, buildings etc, has seen the production of higher quality products. Advanced computer animation techniques produce exceptionally high quality movies and games. These have been made possible thanks to the modern graphics systems, which give endless possibilities in the design and production of new products. According to Mraz, the era of using hand-drawn presentations for finalized designs is gone (Para. 3). Graphics systems include hardware and software systems used in the design, analysis and making graphical presentations of both real life and theoretical phenomena.
Advantages of Graphical Systems
Graphical techniques offer more flexible and options compared to other traditional methods in design.
One can make changes and undo them without tampering with the whole design. It is also possible to view a model from different angles by rotating it along various axes. One can also perfect on minute details of a design by magnifying it to see them clearly.
Presenting images in three dimensions enables designers to illustrate inner parts of structures they design, bringing clarity on the structures they intend to build. Some graphical applications like Photoshop and illustrator come with tutorials, which help inexperienced users to solve any difficulties. They have a user-friendly interface, usually designed with diversified functions for simplicity.
Research and Product Development
Graphical representation software contributes much in research.
Models can be presented in three dimensions giving researchers a broader picture of how natural phenomena operate. In engineering, presentation of models in three-dimensional manner enables engineers to identify weaknesses in structures and areas of possible improvement. Computer aided molecular modeling is used in computational chemistry to investigate molecular structures and properties using graphical visualization techniques. The techniques are very useful in polymer and catalysis science in the discovery of new synthesis pathways. The results obtained help to predict molecular properties such as structural information, atomic radii, bond angles, and molecular motions. Computer aided molecular design is highly applicable in pharmaceutical work in discovering, designing and optimization of compounds with desired structures and properties used as components in drug formulations.
There are many applications for architectural work currently, which enable easy creation and modification of designs. They are useful in “simplifying the analysis and construction of proposed designs” (Greenberg 105). Product improvement is made easier with graphic design software. Modifications can be made by changing values on the design producing different variations
In product development, the traditional method is to produce samples and carry out tests on them, a process that is time consuming. Dorsey and McMillan point that, the availability of such technology “frees humans from tedious and mundane tasks” (Para. 4). Computer aided design on the other hand involves designing of a graphical presentation of a virtual model. Tests are then done on the model using special software.
This saves not only time, but also other resources that would have been used in testing the real structure, hence the cost of production. Many graphical systems can run a combination of many functions at one time reducing the procedures of carrying out experiments. In such a scenario, graphical systems create a platform for creativity and innovation since “ideas frequently come more quickly than they can be recorded” (McKim 11).
One is able to put all of his/her ideas in a model, carry out tests on the model using graphical applications, and then make possible changes. A common feature of these systems is the ability to multitask and carry out real time research in scientific work (Klein 6). The system gives feedback that the user is able to respond to manipulate results in any desirable direction.
Advertising is an important aspect in the business world. Customers respond to product or service depending on how it is presented to them. Graphical techniques are applied to produce attractive adverts and billboards. Applications like CorelDraw and Photoshop are used to produce magnificent images used in the adverts. Graphics make adverts lively and make them more appealing to potential customers.
Disadvantages of Graphical Systems
A majority of complex graphical system applications require prior training before use. Some of the graphics applications are so complex that they need an expert to install and customize the settings. Most of the software companies who write graphics software have professionals as their target hence only experts in a particular field can utilize certain software.
A good example is some Supervisory and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA) which come with graphical components are so complex that only trained individuals can use them(Bailey and Wright 10).
Like all other computerized systems, graphical system lack the intelligence of understanding real world conditions and principles like the purpose of the structure it is designing. The designer has to figure out a way of obtaining the relevant results while maintaining the objective of the design process. This means that the user needs to not only be an expert in the field in question she/he is undertaking the study, but also be well acquainted with the software. It may take several months or even years for one to learn how to operate graphics software. Some Programming Logic Controls, (PLCs), used in industrial plants; take months of training for one to operate them. Therefore, the designer makes the decisions while the system makes the calculations.
Most computer-based graphics application change in their technology at a very high rate.
This requires one to keep on updating the current software costing a lot of money. The problem is compounded by the presence of many graphics system manufacturers flooding the market with many products, which are not compatible with one another. Graphics applications are not only expensive, but also need machines with high specifications and the higher the machine specifications, the higher the cost.
Generally, graphical systems reduce the time a research work consumes and even improves the quality and reliability of results.
They perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible and reduce the workload in research and development. They however come with disadvantages in their complexity, cost, and limitations, but their benefits outweigh the setbacks hence, will continue to advance and probably become more user-friendly.
Bailey, David, and Wright Edwin. Practical SCADA for Industry. Oxford: Elsevier, 2003. Print.
Dorsey, Julie, and McMillan Leonard. Computer Graphics and Architecture: State of the Art and Outlook for the Future, 1998. Web.
26 Nov. 2010. “Computers in Architecture.” Scientific American 264. 2 (1991): 104-109. Print. Klein, Mark. A Practitioner’s Handbook for Real-Time Analysis: Guide to Rate Monotonic Analysis for Real-Time Systems. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993. Print McKim, Robert. Experiences in Visual Thinking. Boston: PWS Publishers, 1980. Print. Mraz, Stephen. Changes in the Engineering Profession 80 Years of Engineering, 7 Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Nov. 2010.< http://machinedesign.com/article/changes-in-the-engineering-profession-over-80-years-0407>
“Computers in Architecture.” Scientific American 264. 2 (1991): 104-109. Print. Klein, Mark. A Practitioner’s Handbook for Real-Time Analysis: Guide to Rate Monotonic Analysis for Real-Time Systems. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993.
Print McKim, Robert. Experiences in Visual Thinking. Boston: PWS Publishers, 1980. Print. Mraz, Stephen. Changes in the Engineering Profession 80 Years of Engineering, 7 Apr. 2009. Web.
26 Nov. 2010.< http://machinedesign.com/article/changes-in-the-engineering-profession-over-80-years-0407>