Working with Textures and Images
You can use the Image Editor in Visual Studio to create and modify textures and images. The Image Editor supports rich texture and image formats like those that are used in DirectX app development.
The Image Editor doesn't support low-color images like icons or cursors. To create or modify those kinds of images, use the Image Editor for Icons.
Textures and images are, at a basic level, just tables of data that are used to provide visual detail in graphics apps. The kind of detail that a texture or image provides depends on how it's used, but color samples, alpha (transparency) values, surface normals, and height values are common examples. The primary difference between a texture and an image is that a texture is meant to be used together with a representation of shape—typically a 3-D model—to express a complete object or scene, but an image is typically a stand-alone representation of the object or scene.
Common kinds of textures include:
Any texture can be encoded and compressed in a number of ways that are orthogonal to the type of data that a texture holds, or to the dimensionality or "shape" of the texture. However, different encoding and compression methods yield better results for different kinds of data.
You can use the Image Editor to create and modify textures and images in ways that resemble other image editors. The Image Editor also provides mipmapping and other features for use with 3-D graphics, and supports many of the highly-compressed, hardware-accelerated texture formats that DirectX supports.