The importance of computer graphics lies in its applications. In engineering applications (e.g. automotive and aeorspace), the ability to quickly visualize newly designed shapes is indispensible. Before the advent of computer graphics, designers built expensive prototypes and time-consuming clay models. Now, designers can interactively view and modify models of their shapes using a computer.
Medical imaging is another application where computer graphics has proven valuable. Recent advances in imaging technology such as computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging allow physicians to take 3D Xrays of the human body. Interactive computer graphics allows the physician to interpret this large volume of data in new and useful ways.
Computer graphics has also expanded the boundaries of art and entertainment. Movies such as Jurassiac Park make extensive use of computer graphics to create images that test the bounds of imagination. The development of computer graphics has made possible virtual reality, a synthetic reality that exists only inside a computer. Virtual reality is fast becoming an indispensable tool in education. Flight simulators are used to train pilot for extreme conditions. Surgical simulators are used to train novice surgeons without endangering patients.