Recently, one of my collaborators complained that one of my plots took forever to render on his machine. The particular plot in question had a few thousand points, many of which were overlapping. Ideally, R would be able to simplify the vector image which was drawn to avoid drawing points which were occluded by other points, but this is difficult to do properly, and R currently doesn't do it.

However, R is able to plot to a bitmap, and bitmap images have the nice property of automatically handling this for you. Furthermore, raster images have recently been made far less clunky in R, so it's pretty easy to shove an arbitrary bitmap image anywhere. With `dev.capture` in Cairo coupled with `grid.raster` in grid, we have everything we need to solve this problem:

```require(grid)
require(Cairo)

start.rasterplot <- function(width=NULL,height=NULL) {
x.y.ratio <- convertX(unit(1,"npc"),"mm",valueOnly=TRUE)/
convertY(unit(1,"npc"),"mm",valueOnly=TRUE)
width.points <- as.numeric(convertX(unit(1,"npc"),"points"))
dpi <- as.numeric(convertX(unit(1,"inch"),"point"))
if (is.null(width) && is.null(height)) {
width <- 1024
}
if (is.null(width)) {
width <- height*x.y.ratio
}
if (is.null(height)) {
height <- width/x.y.ratio
}
Cairo(width=width,height=height,dpi=1024/width.points*dpi,file="/dev/null")
}

stop.rasterplot <- function(plot=TRUE) {
raster.image <- dev.capture(native=TRUE)
dev.off()
if (plot) {
grid.raster(raster.image,width=unit(1,"npc"),height=unit(1,"npc"))
return(invisible())
} else {
return(raster.image)
}
}
```

Now we can do the following:

```pdf(file="raster.pdf")
start.rasterplot()
print(xyplot(y~x,
data=data.frame(y=rnorm(1E8),x=rnorm(1E8))))
stop.rasterplot()
dev.off()
```

and our PDF will contain a raster image, and will load in seconds instead of taking forever to plot the file.