Visual media: History and perspectives

Thomas Huang, Vuong Le, Thomas Paine, Pooya Khorrami, Usman Tariq

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the early days of multimedia research, the first image dataset collected consisted of only four still grayscale images captured by a drum scanner. At the time, digital imaging was only available in laboratories, and digital videos barely existed. Half a century later, the amount of visual data has exploded at an unprecedented rate. Images and videos are now created, stored, and used by the majority of the population. In this historical overview, the authors follow the great journey that visual media research has embarked upon by looking at the fundamental scientific and engineering inventions. Through this lens, they show that all three aspects of media capturing, delivery, and understanding are developed surrounding the interaction with humans, making visual data processing a particular human-centric field of computing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6818960
Pages (from-to)4-10
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Multimedia
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • media storage
  • media understanding
  • multimedia
  • multimedia research
  • visual data
  • visual media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Media Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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