The Graphics Dictionary

Posted by Jacob Philpott

The following is a list compiled to help beginners with Graphics. This is essentially a dictionary of Graphics. Please post a response or email me if you cannot find a word you were looking for and I will add it to the dictionary.


Abstract : art that is either impossible in reality or has no identifiable objects

Addition (layer mode) : layer mode which makes the image much brighter

Airbrush (tool) : used to paint with a brush with different settings in rate and pressure

Aliasing : when an object's edges are not blended at all, and is visibly pixelated, it is known as aliasing

Alignment (tool) : used to move around layers and objects

Anchor Layer : merges a floated layer

Anti-Aliasing : smoothing out pixelated borders of an object

Autocrop Image : remove empty borders from the image

Background : Objects in an image that are in the back, usually not the focal point, often is found to be a repetitive pattern that won't detract from the focal point

Batch : large group of images, usually referred to when editing a large group of images

Bevel : effect of raising an image to appear 3-D by lighting specific areas and shading others

Blend (tool) : used to create a gradient

Blur : blends the difference between a pixel and it's surrounding pixels together, creating a blurry effect

Blur/Sharpen (tool) : used to blur or sharpen parts of an image

Border : the area that surrounds the outside of an image or object

Brush : usually refers to a custom brush that is downloaded from a site

Bucket Fill (tool) : used to fill a selected area with the foreground color or pattern

Bump Map : uses another layer to create an emboss effect

Burn (layer mode) : a layer mode where the layer is much darker

Busy : a word often used to critique some one's work that has distracting elements, often causes of a busy piece of art is: Multiple focal points, too much text, and too many effects

C4D : short for Cinema4D, a program used to render 3d abstract objects. A C4D (referring to the actual art and not the program) is a 3d abstract object. Other programs like Blender can create these images

Canvas: the visible workspace that you have your image on, the canvas is not actually part of the image size

Clone (tool) : used to copy one area of an image and paint it onto another area of the image

Color (layer mode) : a layer mode where the hue and saturation of the upper layer and the value of the lower layer are used to result in the final image

Color Picker (tool) : change your current foreground color in the pallet to the color of the pixel clicked on

Color to Alpha : covert a specified color to transparency

Contrast : colors that are far apart on the color scale such as red and green; areas of an image are very dark compared to other areas that are very dark

Crop : to change the size of an image by removing selected pixels

Crop (tool) : used to remove edges from an image

Curves : orientation and saturation of colors

Darken (layer mode) : layer mode where only pixels of the top layer that are darker than the ones below it are visible

Deinterlace : restore an image that has had every other row of pixels deleted

Desaturate : act of converting an image to grayscale

Difference (layer mode) : a layer mode where the color is completely inverted

Displace : causes pixels to be moved according to a selected layer

Divide (layer mode) : a layer mode that usually makes the image brighter

Dodge (layer mode) : a layer mode where the image is usually much brighter

Dodge/Burn (tool) : lighten or darken certain areas of an image

DPI : stands for dots per inch, the difference on a computer is nonexistent, but when printing images, 300 DPI is a good number, same as PPI, or pixels per inch

Drop Shadow : a shadow effect that is "dropped" or moved behind and down from the original image, used to give the illusion of a 3D image

Dual Tone (Duo Tone) - an image that is shades of two colors

Duplicate : copy the current selection, layer, or image

Ellipse Select (tool) : used for selecting circular areas

Eraser (tool) : used to erase areas of an image

Equalize : act of correcting contrast

Feather : to blur the selection border so that it fades out smoothly

Filter : an automatic plug-in that performs a specified operation, such as blurring or sharpening

Flatten Image : combines all layers into one layer and removes transparency

Float : create a floating selection

Focal Point : the target of the picture, what is supposed to be the highlight of the image, sometimes brought out by blurring the background

Foreground : objects in an image that are in the front, usually the focal point

Foreground Select (tool) : used to select areas within the foreground

Free Select (tool) : used to select areas free hand, or by the mouse

Fuzzy Select (tool) : used to select an area based on color

GIF : file type that stands for Graphic Interchange Format, displays only 256 colors but has a small file size, also used for picture animations

Gimp : stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, a graphics program that is very similar to Photoshop, but is free

Gradient : a blend of two or more colors

Gradient Map : colors an image using two colors

Grain Extract (layer mode) : layer mode where the the top layer's color is altered depending on the bottom layer

Grain Merge (layer mode) : layer mode opposite of grain extract, also provides some similar color to the bottom layer

Grayscale : have no color other than different shades of black and white

Grow (selection) : to make the selection larger by X amount of pixels

Grunge : an art style that uses "dirty" looking brushes and patterns, some examples being dirt, cracks, and smoke

Hard Light (layer mode) : layer mode which brings out the brightest parts of the layer

Healing (tool) : used to fix irregularities in an image

Hue : aspect of a color like red or blue along with saturation and lightness

Hue (layer mode) : a layer mode where the hue of the upper layer and the saturation/value of the lower layer are used to result in the final image

Ink (tool) : used to paint in a calligraphy style

Invert : the opposite of, used as in inverting color or inverting selections

Jitter : an effect that can be added to tools using brushes, randomly applies the brush to areas near where the mouse is clicked

JPEG (JPG) : stands for Joint Photographic Electronic Group, one of the most common file types for images that is usually understood to be the standard

Landscape : an image that is wider than tall

Layer : one slice of an image, used in advanced image editing programs, a basic item when creating advanced images

Layer Mask : an addition to a normal layer that allows non-destructive editing of transparency

Lens : an extension to a camera that magnifies how far one can see, all cameras require at least a basic lens

Lens Distortion : a common occurrence when using a camera, causes the picture to look deformed

Lens Flare : a common occurrence when taking a picture with a camera when the sun is in the camera's view, causes a light distortion across the picture

Levels : orientation and saturation of colors

Lighten Only (layer mode) : layer mode where only pixels of the top layer that are lighter than the ones below it are visible

Line Art : an image, usually not a finished product, that is black and white with no shading

Low Resolution : an image that is not of the highest quality, especially when referring to prints

Mask to Selection : replace the selection with the layer mask

Measure (tool) : used to measure angles and distances in an image

Merge Layer : merges a layer to the layer below it

Merge Visible Layers : combines all visible layers into one layer

Multiply (layer mode) : layer mode that makes a layer darker, if the layer below it is black, the top layer will be black, if the layer below it is white, nothing will change

Negative : an image that has inverted colors; what is actually produced when developing film

Noise : loss of quality in an image through random pixels that were not part of the picture

Normalize : act of stretching brightness values to cover the full range of an image

Offset : shift the pixels, optionally wrapping around

Opacity : the adjustment of how well an image can be seen through, an image with a large number, or a high opacity, isn't as easy to see through as an image with a low opacity

Outline : a rough sketch or planning of an image that is not the final result

Overlay (layer mode) : a layer mode where the layer is usually darkened, and leaves behind some of the color of the top layer

Paintbrush (tool) : used to create a softer mark using a brush

Paths (tool) : used to create and edit paths, which is an advanced way of select regions

Pencil (tool) : used to create a hard edge mark using a brush

Pixel : picture element, the most basic object in a picture, each pixel is one color

Pixelize : simplify the image into larger pixels

PNG : stands for Portable Network Graphics, an image file that is compatible with transparency

Posterize : act of reducing an image two a limited range of colors

PPI : stands for pixels per inch, the difference on a computer is nonexistent, but when printing images, 300 PPI is a good number, same as DPI, or dots per inch

Profile : image that is taller than wide; also used when referring to a person's face from the side

PSD : file extension name for Photoshop

Quick Mask : a method of selecting certain parts of a picture by turning the picture temporarily to red, then you erase what you don't want to be part of the selection

Raster : images based on a scale of pixels, loses considerable quality when scaled, unlike a vector image

Rectangle Select (tool) : used to select a rectangle or square area

Red Eye : a common side effect of taking pictures of people with a flash. Causes the person's eyes to appear red

Render : to generate something, usually using preset parameters; an object that was cut out from it's background, generally put onto other backgrounds

Retouching : to make small edits to an image to improve the quality

RGB : color model using the base colors red, green, and blue. Used for monitors, but not for prints

Rip : to steal someone else's work and claim it as your own

Rotate : to move an image around to the left or right

Saturation : how colorful an image is, an image with little saturation has a lot of gray in it

Saturation (layer mode) : a layer mode where the saturation of the upper layer and the hue/value of the lower layer are used to result in the final image

Scale : to change the size of a layer, selection, image, or brush

Scan Lines : thin lines close together that go in a diagonal direction

Scissors Select (tool) : select a region with intelligent selections that detect edges

Screen (layer mode) : a layer mode which usually results in the image being brighter, and a sort of washed out look, if the layer below it is black, nothing changes, if the layer below it is white, the top layer is white, dark colors are more transparent

Select By Color (tool) : used to select a region with similar color

Selection : your current workspace, usually signified by moving dashes (walking ants)

Sepia Tone : image that has a brown tint to it

Sharpen : makes the contrast between a pixel and it's surrounding pixels further apart

Sharpen (selection) : to remove fuzziness from the selection

Shrink (selection) : to make the selection smaller by X amount of pixels

Sig (abbreviation) : short for signature, a small piece of art usually around 350X100 to 400X200 in size, often using an outside source such as a render

Smudge (tool) : used to smudge one area of an image onto another area

Soft Light (layer mode) : a layer mode similar to overlay, makes edges softer and colors not as bright

Subtract (layer mode) : a layer mode that makes the image much darker, often resulting in black areas

Threshold : image with only two colors

Thumbnail : an icon of an image that has been downsized for quick and convenient viewing

TIFF : image file type name that stands for Tagged Image File Format, high quality and uncompressed, has a large file size

Tileable : when an image can be stacked next to itself on all sides, creating a pattern with no noticeable edges

Transform : common term generally used for changing an image's size, rotation, or position

Tut (abbreviation) : short for tutorial

Value (layer mode) : a layer mode where the value of the upper layer and the saturation/hue of the lower layer are used to result in the final image

Value Invert : act of inverting the brightness of each pixel of an image

Vector : an art style that uses some abstract objects and other images that are one color, some examples being arrows, circles and semi-circles, and urban items such as lamp posts; an image that can be scaled indefinitely and not begin to pixelize

Vexel : art that is similar to the style of vector, but will lose quality when scaled up, often used for smaller images to show a sharpened image

Washed Out : an image that seems almost colorless

XCF : file extension name for GIMP

Zealous Crop : autocrop unused space from edges and middle

Zoom : to increase the size of the pixels on-screen in order to make finer edits

Zoom (tool) : used to adjust the zoom of an image


Phobos said...

Awesome guide, but you shouldn't have left out "Photoshop," and there are a few spelling mistakes...:P

This is really quite a blog, dude. It looks like you overhauled Blogger's template and made your own. Think you could help me with mine?


Phobos said...

Oh, hahahaha, I just noticed the small text in the bottom left. Never mind. :P

Ajit said...

hey thanks for the comment :)

and heh yeah im not the person to go to for skins and themes :D

Mel Melhado said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm an aspiring graphics designer and I'm not really that familiar with the terminologies used in Photoshop. With this write up, i can come up with a cheat sheet. Thank you once again.

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Manish said...

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I really like this blog coz i have gone through many blogs and most attractive thing is i am getting useful information about photoshop.

Dagdgsd Dffbd said...

The article posted was very informative and useful
thanks for sharing..
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