This can either be read as a follow up to my last post about improving a Cellular Automata demo created by Simon Gladman (aka FlexMonkey) and speeding it up or as a standalone post with simple example code for creating images (UIImage or CGImage) from raw pixel values.
I had reached the point where the rendering code was the bottleneck in the Gray Scott Cellular Automata app that I was optimising. The existing code was drawing a set of one point rectangles into a UIGraphicsImageContext
I could see in the profiler that the execution time was being dominated by the drawRect calls which didn't surprise me and I knew that there must be a better way to draw pixel data.
Solution - CGDataProvider and CGImageCreate
This is the core generally applicable function that anyone can use to create images quickly from pixel data.