Root6 Technology, Smoke & Mirrors, and Ovation Data Services have worked together with the UK’s University of Bath to develop a new codec for vector graphics which, according to them, could very well do away with pixelated graphics within the next five years. Codecs are computer programs which encode and decode streaming digital video. Professor Phil Willis in the university’s Department of Computer Science says, “This is a significant breakthrough which will revolutionize the way visual media are produced.”
Vector graphics are geometrically based. Consisting of planes, curves, and shapes, they take up far less space than the pixelations of bitmap graphics and look better at higher resolutions where, needless to say, pixelation becomes more and more boxy and blurry.
The new codec fills in the boundaries between the vector images’ elements. And these boundaries are the problem with present day vector graphics, for they thus look cartoonish and aren’t useful for photo-realistic visual applications, such as video making. They’re limited to animation or the making of posters and mailers. With those boundaries filled in and smoothed over, vector graphics would be greatly superior in real-world visual fidelity to today’s pixelated space — especially at high resolution.
Indeed, the developers are calling the codec a “resolution independent” vector-creating program.
Willis also says that “to accelerate this project we’ll need companies from around the world to get involved. At the moment we’re focusing on applications in post-production and we’re working directly with leading companies in this area, however there are clear applications in web, tablets, and mobile which we haven’t explored in detail yet. Involvement from a greater variety of companies with different interests will extend the project in a variety of ways and increase the potential applications of this game-changing research.”