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Glossary of Industry Terms

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Adobe's electronic page-viewing system based on an extension to PostScript® . In theory, it transfers text, graphics and images between computers, no matter the platform, without altering the original format. Acrobat files have a .pdf extension. Device that converts analog, or continuous, data into digital data or a series of discreet steps.

The visual stair-stepping of edges (jagged edges) that occurs in an image when the resolution is too low. Can be caused by improper image sampling or improper image processing.

The smoothing and removing of aliasing effects by electronic filtering and other techniques, such as blending of hard edges. Also, blending object-oriented art with bit-mapped art.

Archive File
A single file containing many files in compressed form. Example: a .zip file format.

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Patterns (stripes) on a print caused by insufficient color or gray-scale ranges within the output device's image processor, or insufficient information contained within the original scan. Creates harsh, well-defined transitions between different ranges.

Batch Scan
The process of scanning numerous pages that contain similar data — for example, a number of photos or a multiple-page text document.

A rasterized graphic image formed by a rectangular grid of pixels or dots.

The fourth color in four-color printing. It is listed as the K in "CMYK." Black is required in the printing process because equal amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow inks will not produce a true black.

Extension of an image or background beyond the trim edge of a page.

BMP file
A Windows bitmap file, with the extension ".bmp," that defines an image (such as the image of a scanned page) as a pattern of dots (pixels).

The overall intensity of the image. The lower the brightness value, the darker the image; the higher the value, the lighter the image will be. Also, the dimension of color that is referred to an achromatic scale, ranging from black to white; also called lightness or luminous reflectance or transmittance (q.v.).

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CAD (Computer Aided Design)
Software used to produce designs and drawings for architectural, engineering and scientific applications.

A film or paper manufactured by passing solid sheets of material between two polished rollers under high pressure.

The setting of computer system components to a standard which will produce the same readable results on each unit, i.e. color calibration is necessary in the workstation to achieve the same results on the output.

CD-R (CD-Recordable)
A CD format that allows the users to record data to a disc when using the proper hardware. Recorded data is not erasable.

A CD format that allows users to erase data.

CEPS (Color Electronic Prepress)
A high-end digital publishing system specifically designed for color correction and image assembly.

A component of a digital image that carries the data for a color component or a mask.

In printing, a term describing a relationship between a foreground element and a background color or element. To create a trap between a fore-ground element that knocks out a background, the background may be "choked" or slightly encroached upon.

A measure of saturation associated with color.

The grouping (usually unwanted) of all tones or colors above or below a certain value into one composite tone.

(Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) Three subtractive primary colors used in color-negative printing, and some color-output devices, to produce a full gamut of color. The combination of pure CMY inks produces black, and the elimination of all three produces white.

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (or Key) are the four colors used in process-color printing. Also known as subtractive color, the color black is achieved by the presence of all inks.

Coated Paper Stock
A printing paper having a transparent, smooth layer added to one or both sides that changes the look of the final printing. Coatings are normally defined as hard glossy, semi-glossy or matte surfaces.

A thin covering provides protection from UV-induced fading, smudging and fingerprints. It does not materially improve the permanence of the print because most fading is due to visible light.

Color Bar (or Production Control Bar)
A series of ink patches printed on a press sheet that may include solids of cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and spot color ink; 25%, 50%, and 75% tints of those colors; and two-color overprints using those colors.

Color Management System (CMS)
A combination of software and or hardware devices used to produce accurate color results throughout a digital-imaging system.

Color Proof
A color sample that attempts to represent the final printed image that will result when a piece is offset printed. Color proofs can be generated from film separations prior to using the separations to make printing plates. Common types are Cromalin, MatchPrint, ink jet, dye sublimation, laser copies, or photographic film or paper.

Color Saturation / Color Strength
A measure of color purity, or dilution by a neutral.

Color Separation
The process of separating a color image into four subtractive colors, CMYK, either by photographic or electronic processes, thus producing a set of four films or a computer file.

Color Transparency
A photographic or line-art image printed in color on clear film. A film positive.

An abbreviation for composite or comprehensive. A layout that is produced during the design process providing a preview of the finished print job.

Complementary Colors
Two colors that, when combined, create neutral gray. On a color wheel complements are directly opposite the axis from each other; blue/yellow, red/green, and so on.

The process of combining images, artwork, line art and type.

The process of removing irrelevant information and reducing unneeded space from a file in order to make the file smaller. Compression can cause losses and distortion, depending on the method.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Graphics (CAG)
System used to generate and reproduce full-color designs, artwork, photographs, etc., through use of a computer, plotter, printer, keyboard, etc.

Continuous Tone
A photographic image containing gradient tones. For printing purposes, continuous-tone images are converted to dot patterns (halftones).

The difference between the dark and light areas of an image. The lower the number value, the more closely the shades will resemble each other. The higher the number, the more the shades will stand out from each other. Speed of density change; graduation.

In computer imaging, to change a CMYK file to RGB, or vice versa, or to convert one file format to another.

To remove part of an image.

One of the three subtractive primary colors. Produced by mixing equal amounts of blue and green projected light. Cyan is also one of the four colors used in four-color printing.

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Dots per inch. A measure of the detail of a print.

The degree of opacity of an image. The ability of a material to absorb light; the darker it is, the higher the density.

Cutting of material to a specific shape using dies.

Digital Color Printing
One of serveral non-impact technologies where the image is formed by a computer controlled printer.. (Generally accepted to include: electrostatic, ink jet, laser photo, and thermal transfer.)

Digital Halftone
The process of obtaining various tones by breaking up the image into a graduated series of dots. The dots repeat in a regular pattern, creating the illusion of continuous tone. The digital printing process is controlled by the size and shape of dots.

Digital Halftone
The process of obtaining various tones by breaking up the image into a graduated series of dots. The dots repeat in a regular pattern, creating the illusion of continuous tone. The digital printing process is controlled by the size and shape of dots.

Digital Imaging
The process of image capture, manipulation and final image form, accomplished by electronic systems.

Digital Imaging
The process of image capture, manipulation and final image form, accomplished by electronic systems.

Digital Imaging
The process of image capture, manipulation and final image form, accomplished by electronic systems.

Digital Printer
Any printing device that is capable of translating digital data into hardcopy output. Direct-to-Press Printing Printing devices that allow for the elimination of film separations from the printing process. These systems utilize a computer controlled system employing lasers to "write" digital data to a plate that is already mounted on the press.

A graphics display or printing process that uses a combination of dots or textures to simulate an original image or an output device. The purpose is to create the impression of a continuous-tone gray-scale or color image.

Document Management
An integrated system for handling the electronic retrieval, analysis, communication, and management of digitized images of paper documents.

Dots make up an image in color separations or halftones. Halftone dots will have a fixed density but have variable size (amplitude modulation).

Dot Gain
The phenomenon that occurs when ink expands its coverage during printing onto a substrate; often caused by abnormal or excessive absorption by the substrate.

Dot Pitch
The distance between the dots on a computer monitor, typically 0.24 to 0.38 mm. The closer the dots the sharper the image on the monitor.

DPI (or PPI) Dots Per Inch/Pixels Per Inch
The resolution of an image or how many pixels are defined in the boundary of an inch. The more correct term is pixels per inch, however dots per inch is often used instead.

Dropout Color
Color that is invisible when scanning a color object in grayscale mode, causing any detail in this color to disappear.

Drum Scanner
A type of optical scanner where the reflective or transmissive art is mounted to a rotating drum. As the drum spins, light from the image enters a lens allowing the image to be recorded in a series of fine lines.

Acronym for desktop publishing, including typesetting, image handling and page composition.

A monochromatic printed image created by two overlapping halftone screens of different colors; generally created from a black and white photographic original in order to add additional tonal range, or to create a tinted or colored appearance.

To print on both sides of a single page.

DVD (Digital Versatile Disc)
A technology similar to Compact Disc, but far superior in its storage capacity. A DVD can contain about 4.7 GB of data in its single-sided, single-density version, and 18 GB or more in a double-sided, double-density version.

Dye Sublimation
An imaging process that vaporizes colorant with heat and pressure, and deposits it on to a substrate in order to simulate a continuous tone image.

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Emulsion Side
The side of photographic film or paper coated with the light sensitive silver halide emulsion. Film output is specified for use as emulsion up, or emulsion down.

Encapsulated Postscript (EPS)
An Adobe graphic file format. EPS translates graphics and text into a code which the printer can read and print. EPS files hold both low-resolution viewfiles and high-resolution PostScript image descriptions.

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A technique in many image-editing programs that allows for the softening of the edge around a selection.

File Converters
Hardware or software that is used to convert files from one type of file format to another format.

File Format
The particular arrangement of digital information that is saved from an application program. The method of arrangement or storage is unique for any particular application program, but most applications can import and export graphics and text from some other application.

Film Recorder
A device that records digital image data on film. Typically this device is used to produce photographic color transparencies and negatives, but the term also applies to image setters which produce negatives (for making plates) for printing.

Software used to modify digital images by altering the values or arrangement of selected image pixels.

Flat or Matte Finish
A low-gloss finish, with little reflective quality.

Flatbed Scanner
A scanner which utilizes CCD linear arrays, where the image is placed on a glass platen, and the array moves past the artwork.

Flatbed Scanner
A scanner which utilizes CCD linear arrays, where the image is placed on a glass platen, and the array moves past the artwork.

A very thin, metal sheet of various alloys, used mainly as an overlay, veneer, or cutout applique. Also, a term for thermal-transfer printing; usually involves wax-based or resin-based colorant on rolls of thin plastic that travel over heated print head and are placed on a substrate by combinations of heat and pressure by the printer.

The letter styles of a text character.

The size of printer, media, or graphic, according to width of media roll, printer's print area, or graphic. Large Format (Wide Format) is larger than 24" in width.

Four-Color Process
A system of printing colors by printing dots of magenta, cyan, yellow and black.

FPO (For Position Only)
A representation (usually low-resolution) that indicates the position on a page of an object, but is not meant to represent the output quality of the object.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
The language used to facilitate the transfer of files from a server on the Internet to another location, such as a desktop computer or another server.

Full Bleed
When an image or background extends to the final trim edge of a printed page. The process of scanning numerous pages that contain similar data — for example, a number of photos or a multiple-page text document.

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Ganging or Gang Scanning
Putting a group of images or jobs on the scanner or press at one time.

Gaussian Blur
An image-softening effect utilizing a bell shaped Gaussian distribution to apply the softening effect.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)
An image format type generated specifically for computer use. Its resolution is usually very low (72 dpi, or that of your computer screen), making it undesirable for printing purposes.

Transition between two colors or between black and white. Also known as a gradient.

The smallest component of a photographic image. A single particle of silver or dye cloud. Collectively, the size of those particles.

Gray levels
The number of steps available to reproduce a color in an imaging system. Typically, in an 8 bit system there are 256 gray levels per color.

An image containing a range of gray levels as opposed to only pure black and pure white.

One of the three additive primary colors of light (Red, Green and Blue).

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The process of reproducing a continuous tone image as a series of various sized dots within a fixed grid that can be reproduced with ink. The finer the dot grid the higher the quality of the reproduction.

A color-matching system that allows for the combination of six colors in order to create a larger gamut of reproducible color.

The brightest/lightest area within an image.

A photographic system that uses laser light to expose film to a pattern developed by the interference pattern of the laser and the reflection. When these films are viewed under specific conditions a 3-D image is visible.

A component of color notation, or the predominant color.

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An output device to image bitmap data onto litho film or paper. Comes in drum and flatbed models.

Indexed Color
An output device to image bitmap data onto litho film or paper. Comes in drum and flatbed models.

Indexed Color
A color system that defines a palate of colors to be used in a specific image.

Inkjet Printer
A type of printer that sprays tiny streams of quick-drying ink onto the paper.

The amount of light reflected or transmitted by an object with black as the lowest intensity and white as the highest intensity.

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The effect caused by images or lines being rendered at too low a resolution. It can easily be defined as a stair-stepped effect giving the line or image a rough appearance.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
Standardized image compression format developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. Usually used for compressing full-color or gray-scale images.

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Adjusting inter-character spacing of letters. Typically for pairs of letters that need special spacing treatment to make them look more aesthetically pleasing.

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To apply film to a surface by hand or by mechanical applicators for protection or appearance.

A printer, media, or print 24" or greater in width.

Letter Press
Printing from a plate having a raised inked surface.

Line Art
Single color diagrams or drawings; an image that requires sharp edges and high contrast between areas of the image that have ink and those areas that do not have ink. These images require a higher resolution to create the sharpness that is necessary.

Line Drawing
A drawing that consists only of black and white with no intermediate grayscale information.

Link or Link Preferences
A connection to a program or device that you can use to send information to other programs, such as e-mail, electronic fax, and OCR links. Link preferences, such as what program and which file format, you choose to associate with a particular link.

A method of printing from a plane surface. The printing image is ink-receptive; the non-printing areas are ink repellent.

LPI (Lines Per Inch)
The number of lines per inch on a halftone screen. The higher the LPI, the higher the printed resolution and quality.

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To block off a background or other area, so that the unmasked area can be printed, or worked on.

Match PrintTM
A direct digital color-proofing process that allows the printer to see the colors desired in the final printing.

Matte Finish
A low gloss finish. See Flat.

Camera-ready-art prepared by conventional means that is ready to be made into halftone negatives or plates.

Another term for substrate, the materials to be printed, such as watercolor papers, canvas, copper, wood veneer, cotton, plastic.

Tones in an image that are in the middle of the tonal range, halfway between the lightest and the darkest.

An undesirable artifact or pattern that can appear in output film, or a created special effect. It appears as a regular pattern of "clumping" of colors. A moiré pattern is created by juxtapositions of two repetitive graphic structures.

An image made of a range of only one color.

Moving smoothly from one image to another by having the computer animate a sequence transposing points in the starting image to corresponding points in the final image.

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Native File
The original computer files, in their original application forms, for a digital graphic or publication; as opposed to an export format, Postscript print to disk format, or other transformed format which can no longer be opened and edited.

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A graphic or picture that is embedded in a document file by using Object Linking and Embedding (OLE). A scanned picture can be an object.

ODC (On-Demand Color)
This term typically refers to short run color printing. These processes include ink-jet, electrostatic and direct-to-press.

Offset Printing (Offset Lithography)
A common printing process that makes prints by transferring ink from a flat plate to a rotating "blanket" that contacts the paper.

OLE (Object Linking and Embedding)
An industry-standard method for inserting an object into a document. The document retains a connection, or link, with its original program so that double-clicking on the object in the document opens the object's original program.

The measure of the amount of light that can pass through a material.

The measure of the amount of light that can pass through a material.

Impervious to light transmission.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
A technology that can recognize letters from a scanned image and convert them into ASCII characters to be saved as an editable text file.

Orientation (Landscape and Portrait)
The direction that the page is printed; horizontal = landscape, vertical = portrait.

Application of a clear film to a graphic for the purpose of protection or to enhance the graphic quality.

Printing one ink or tint build over another, most commonly for trapping purposes.

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Page Layout
The process and software that prepares artwork, text and other elements to be collected and prepared for printing within a specific area.

Electronic formatting of multiple pages in a file for output.

The number of colors a device is capable of displaying and producing. Also the tools used in paint programs.

A company producing numerous color matching systems for print and computer applications. The PMS® color-matching system is commonly used to represent 3,000 distinct colors through a numbering system.

Pantone Matching System (PMS®)
A printing industry-standard set of color inks, formulated for various forms of printing.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
An electronic document format from Adobe that allows the distribution of digital files across any platform that can display a document as originally designed and formatted without having the software application or fonts on the viewing computer.

Picture file format.

The color substance in inks that absorbs and/or reflects light, generally more light stable than dyes.

The smallest unit of data in a digital image. Together, the small discrete elements constitute an image that can be seen on a monitor or printed on a substrate. A pixel's code contains information relating to color and placement within the larger image.

Pixel Depth
The number of bits of tonal range capability assigned to the pixels in an image. For example RGB 24 bit color means a pixel depth of 24 bits, 8 bits or 256 levels per color.

Graininess in an image that results when the pixels are too big.

A unit of measurement used in the graphic arts industry. There are 12 points to a Pica. One point equals approximately 1/72 inch.

Portrait, Portrait Mode
The orientation of an image that is taller than it is wide; a setting controlling an output device to properly fit a computer document to the print medium. Vertical.

A special effect created by using a limited number of gray levels within an image. In computers it is created by setting a defined number of gradient steps in a bitmapped image.

A page description programming language created by Adobe that is a device-independent industry standard for outputting documents and graphics.

Refers to PostScript Page Description, a small file used to describe a particular printer's characteristics and capabilities to a graphics or word-processing software.

A process of checking a job for possible problems before the job is sent for final output. This process is used to find problems such as missing fonts, postscript errors and color problems.

The process of getting an image ready to go on press. Digital prepress denotes the entire preparation of a digital file for printing in either a digital or conventional system.

Pressmatch®, Proofprint, Iris®
The proof accepted by the artist that is used as the standard for comparing all subsequent prints. Some printers require a signed "proofprint" before production printing can begin.

Primary Color
A color that is the basis for all other color combinations. The primary colors are Red, Green and Blue (RGB) in light; Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (CMY) in color photographic printing. In offset color printing, black (K) is added to CMY inks to create more accurate color.

Print On Demand (POD)
The ability to economically and efficiently print documents or images to order as needed.

Process Color
The process colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) are used in traditional color printing to reproduce a full color range.

A database or file of values that apply to a device, to allow its color reproduction to match other devices, its color capability equivalent to other imagers in the same process.

A print used to evaluate the entire production process prior to printing.

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Raster Image
An image that is defined as a collection of pixels arranged in a rectangular array of lines of dots or pixels. See "Bitmap."

A measurement of the "fineness" of detail reproduction given in line pairs per mm, or pixels per inch. A definition of resolution in terms of pixels per inch.

Changing the resolution of a bitmap file without altering its physical size.

Change of reproduction size. It is generally possible to resize files so prints can be made either smaller or larger. Significant up sizing is usually not successful, but an adjustment of up to 20 percent is acceptable.

The particular pixel density of an image, or the number of dots per inch a device is capable of recognizing or producing. See "DPI" and "PPI."

Removing imperfections or unwanted portions of an image.

A color model using red, green, and blue; the additive primary colors. Video display systems use RGB data to create screen images.

RIP (Raster Image Processing)
A process using mathematical algorithms to manipulate and print an image. Also, this software often includes "add-on" features, such as color-calibration software, various pattern selections, tools or a print-instruction screen.

RTF (Rich Text Format)
A format that accepts both text and images, and retains text formatting and page layout.

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A measure of purity of color. Saturated colors contain pure color only, colors desaturate to gray. Saturation is a measure of the degree of pureness or movement away from gray.

The process of translating a picture from artwork or transparency into digital information.

To produce "instant" posters, banners or other wide-format output, this type of inkjet system scales, interpolates and diffuses bitmapped images captured by a scanner. The information is then sent directly to a printing device.

A hardware peripheral that illuminates, reads and then converts original text, artwork or film into digital data. Types of scanners include flatbed or drum.

A halftone screen on film used in conjunction with photographic film or paper to produce a halftone image from continuous tone art in the form of dots in varying densities.

Screen Frequency
The measure of lines on a screen given in lines per unit measure as in LPI.

The technique of applying material (usually screen printing ink) to a surface by forcing it through a stretched fabric that has a stencil applied.

The actual splitting of an image into the colors that will be used in the printing process. Normally, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) are the separations for 4-color printing.

Service Bureau
A company that typically offers custom print-output services, which can include digital color graphics.

Dark areas of an image.

A picture enhancement making the image have more distinct borders, areas, lines or tones. An option on some scanners that emphasizes detail by increasing the contrast of the boundaries between light and dark areas of an image.

In offset printing, the printed sheet containing a number of different pages that have been arranged to allow; through folding, trimming, and binding; the creation of a multi-page finished piece.

A masking or image blocking that isolates and image from the background.

Spot Colors
These colors are printed as solid areas and used when fewer than four colors are needed or when the four-color process (CMYK) is unable to accurately reproduce a color.

Stock Photos
An already existing picture that can be purchased for use instead of having a photograph specifically made.

The process of assembling individual elements to make a composite page for use in the offset printing process.

A term referring to a line segment in a graphics program. Lines or "strokes" can be straight or curved, open or closed.

Ultimately, the material that receives the printed image. Sometimes called "media."

Subtractive Color/Reflective Color
Ultimately, the material that receives the printed image. Sometimes called "media."

Subtractive Primaries
These are the three colors that are used to create all other colors in color photographic printing. (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow)

SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Printing)
Refers to a set of standards for conveying and representing color information. This standard is based on the characteristics of web-offset presses.

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Thermal Transfer
A printer technology that uses heat to transfer colored dye, wax or resin onto paper.

Thermal-Transfer Printer
A machine that digitally prints by transferring inks (resin or wax based) from a foil (or ribbon) onto media such as paper or vinyl.

A small, low-resolution version of an image.

Tagged Image File Format. A type of image file format, TIFF files can include color or grayscale. The quality of the image is determined by its resolution or dpi. Especially useful for graphics that will be used in many applications or on more than one computer platform.

The process of breaking down an image or page into sections for editing or printing purposes.

Some percentage of a solid ink. Tints are created by using a screen to create the impression of a lighter color when the ink is printed onto paper or another medium.

A colored powder or liquid used to print onto various materials on non-impact printers, such as laser printers.

The adjustment of the overall spacing between all text characters in a word or words.

An overlap between abutting colors/elements. Traditionally done by using chokes and spreads, but graphics software gives users the ability to do trapping for type and objects.

A color-matching system similar to Pantone.

An industry-standard for scanners and software. Using a TWAIN-compliant scanner with a TWAIN-compliant program, you can initiate a scan from within the program.

The style and design of a particular alphabet.

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Ultraviolet Light (U.V.)
Radiant energy with wave lengths slightly shorter than the visible spectrum. Found in sunlight, causes color fading.

To decompress a file (usually text) using PKUNZIP or WinZip, two popular programs.

UV Inks
Inks that contain pigments or other methods to resist UV fade from direct sunlight and other UV light sources.

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Indicates the degree of lightness or darkness of a color in relation to a neutral gray scale. The scale of value ranges from 0 for pure black to 10 for pure white.

A term given to a graphic drawing, specified as a color, start and end point, and applied to line segments, type and tints.

Vector Graphics
Drawing software. Vector graphics files are usually stored in formats such as PICT or EPS.

Vector Image
A computer image that uses mathematical descriptions of paths and fills to define the graphic, as opposed to individual pixels.

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The result of combining the additive primary colors (Red, Green and Blue).

WMF (Windows Metafile Format)
Graphics format from Windows and used for some operating-system graphics, among other items. Generally considered inadequate for output of color graphics.

Working Files
Files that have been used to generate a graphic file such as an EPS file. Software applications such as Macromedia FreeHand, Adobe Illustrator, and QuarkXPress can all generate EPS files. The editable application file is called the working file.

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A subtractive primary color for color printing and printing. In additive systems, it is made up of equal parts of red and green light.

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To compress a file (usually text) using PKZIP or WinZIP, two popular programs. Commonly used to reduce the size of a file to speed up transmission over the internet or an on-line service.

Zip Drive
Removable storage device employing a small disk similar in design to a floppy disk, but offering significantly more storage space (approximately 100-250 MB) and speed.

Making the image or image part become larger (zooming in) or smaller (zooming out) as it appears on the monitor. A photographic lens that changes magnification of an object.

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