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Graphics Glossary

Don't get all in a dither when you don't understand the graphics-related jargon you see on this site and others. Here's a handy glossary you can refer to for definitions of some common graphics terms.
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3D Anaglyphs - Stereoscopic Pictures
The definition of 3D anaglyph, or stereoscopic pictures.

Alpha Channel
An explanation of the alpha chanel as it relates to graphics software.

Anti-aliasing
Anti-aliasing makes text and shapes look smooth in bitmap graphics.

Artifacts
JPEG artifacts are the result of an aggressive data compression scheme that discards some image data.

Aspect Ratio and Cropping to the Proper Print Proportions
the definition of aspect ratio as it relates to graphics software.

Bezier Curve / Pierre Bézier
Pierre Bézier gave us the bézier curve, a drawing method used in vector graphics.

Bitmap (or Raster )
The definition of bitmap and raster as it relates to graphics software.

Blend Modes / Blending Modes
Learn about the blending modes in Photoshop and other graphics software with this illustrated tutorial. Browse visual examples and detailed descriptions of each of the blending modes, and learn practical uses for blend modes in your graphics software.

CMYK
The definition of CMYK as it relates to graphics software.

Control Handles, Control Points, Direction Handles
An explanation of control handles, control points, and direction handles as they relate to graphics software.

Digital Scrapbooking
Digital scrapbooking, also referred to as digi-scrapping or computer scrapbooking, is a fairly new form of scrapbooking which involves the use of a computer and graphics software to create visual layouts for the purpose of preserving a memory.

Dithering
An explanation of dithering as it relates to graphics software.

DPI - Dots per Inch
The definition of dpi or dots per inch as it relates to graphics software.

EULA
EULA stands for End-User License Agreement. This is a legal document that governs the use of all software applications.

EXIF - Exchangeable Image File Format
An explanation of EXIF, Exchangeable Image File Format, used by digital cameras to store extra picture information in photo files.

Filter
Learn about filters that can enhance your graphics software.

Graduated Fill
Definition of Gradient or Graduated Fill.

Handles
An explanation of Handles in graphics software.

Hedcut
This style of black and white line drawings was first used by The Wall Street Journal newspaper for portraits.

HDR - High Dynamic Range
A definition of HDR, or high dynamic range, as it relates to digital photo editing and graphics software.

Histogram
An explanation of the histogram and how it relates to graphics software.

Interpolation
The definition of interpolation as it relates to graphics software.

JPEG Artifacts
JPEG artifacts are the result of an aggressive data compression scheme that discards some image data.

Layers in Image Editing Software
This article provides a basic for understanding layers in many image editing programs.

Layers
This is part of the Adobe Photoshop Basic course, but it provides a good introduction to layers for whatever graphics software you use, since layers work similarly in other software.

Marquee
The definition of marquee as it relates to graphics software.

Mask - Grayscale Mask
An explanation of masks as they are used in graphics software.

Megapixels
An expiation of megapixels.

Metadata - EXIF, IPTC and XMP Metadata
An explantion of EXIF, IPTC and XMP metadata as it relates to graphics software.

Metafile
Metafile is a type of graphics file.

Moire or Moiré
An explanation of Moiré in scanned images. What causes it and how to get rid of it.

Native File Format
The definition of native file format as it relates to graphics software.

Nodes - Tangent Points - Anchor Points
The definition of nodes, tangent points, or anchor points in graphics software.

Noise
The meaning of "noise" when referring to digital photos.

OEM Software
OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer" and OEM software is a phrase that refers to software that is sold to computer builders and hardware manufacturers (OEMs) in large quantities, for the purpose of bundling with computer hardware. In reference to software, there is much debate and confusion surrounding the direct sale of OEM software.

Out of Gamut
The definition of the phrase "out of gamut" as it relates to graphics software.

Path
An explanation of paths in graphics software.

Photo Mosaic or Photo Tapestry
A photo mosaic is a picture made up of many smaller pictures. The small tile images can be seen up close, but at a distance, an entirely different image can be seen. Today there is a lot of free and inexpensive software, as well as Web-based tools, that you can use to make a photo mosaic image from your own collection of personal photos.

Photo Objects
Learn about background-free photo object images.

Picture Tubes
Learn what you need to know about Picture Tubes, a file format and tool feature of the photo editor Paint Shop Pro. Learn exactly what tubes are and how you can use them in Paint Shop Pro or in other software.

Pixel
The definition of pixel as it relates to graphics software.

Plug-in
Learn about plug-ins that can extend the features of your graphics software.

PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
A brief summary of the PNG format.

PPI - Pixels Per Inch
The definition of ppi, pixels per inch, as it relates to graphics software.

Product Activation
Learn about the new product activation technology being added to graphics software such as Photoshop. What is it and how does it affect you?

Raster
A bitmap (or raster) image is one of the two major graphic types.

Rasterize
The meaning of rasterize in relation to graphics software.

Raw file
A basic overview of the Raw files created by many high-end digital cameras.

Resample
The definition of resample as it relates to graphics software.

Resolution
The definition of resolution as it relates to graphics software. Includes an explanation of optical resolution versus interpolated or digital resolution.

RGB
The definition of RGB as it relates to graphics software.

Scratch Disk
Photoshop uses your hard drive as temporary "swap" space, or virtual memory, when your system does not have enough RAM to perform an operation

Screen Shot
A screen shot is a way of taking a snapshot, or picture, of your computer screen. Screen shots can be very helpful when you need to demonstrate something that would be difficult to explain in words. Learn what you need to know about taking screen shots in Windows or Macintosh.

Sepia Tint
You can give your modern photos an old-fashioned effect by applying a sepia tint in most photo-editing programs.

Spline or B-Spline curves
A type of curves used it vector graphics editing.

Standard Image Format
An explanation of the standard image formats used in graphics software.

Tags - What is Tagging?
This article will help you understand tagging, a new way of organizing digital photos and other data. Tagging represents a significant shift in the way digital data will be sorted, saved, searched, and shared in the 21st century. If you've been locked in to the old folder way of organizing digital photos, it's time to open your mind to the tagging concept.

TWAIN - What is TWAIN?
The definition of TWAIN as it relates to graphics software. It's not an acronym as many people believe. Find out what it does and how it got its name.

Vector
Vector is one of the two main types of graphics.

Vignette - Faded Edge Photo
A vignette is a photograph whose edges fade out gradually. The vignette effect is easy to apply to a digital photo in most photo-editing programs.

Watermark
Adding a visible watermark is a common way of identifying images and protecting them from unauthorized use online. Learn how to create an effective watermark and apply it to your digital photos or art work.

Web Safe Color Palette
An explanation of the "Web Safe Palette" and why it was important.

XMP Metadata
An explantion of XMP metadata as it relates to graphics software.

_ Graphics Software Hangman Game
Test your knowledge of graphics software terminology with this fun hangman game.

_ Suggest a Word for the Glossary
Suggest a word you'd like to see added to the graphics glossary.

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