creators glossary


Common Quickies


The Aperture is the size of the opening in the camera lens at the moment a photo is taken. Aperture is measured in fractions, so the larger the number, the smaller the aperture opening. Shutter speed and aperture are the two primary controls for limiting the amount of light that hits the film or sensor.


An Application is just another word for computer program.

Bézier curves are parametric curves used for creating vector graphics with indefinitely scaled objects. Meaning, you can enlarge the size of a vector graphic without losing quality or suffering the effects of pixelation.


Burning means darkening part of a photograph. In the darkroom, it’s done by blocking some of the light that would normally reach the rest of the photo. In digital photo editing, it’s usually a paintbrush-like tool built into the application.

“Dodging and Burning”


Cloning is an image editing term for copying one part of the image into another part of the same image or a different image entirely. It’s used for painting out unwanted items, like electric lines.


CMYK is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. These are the four colors used in the standard printing process. It’s also a color mode in photo editing programs for printing.


Compact Flash is one form of digital camera media. It was the original standard, and is still one of the most common formats.

Cropping involves cutting out part of a picture. You might crop an image in order to set the focus of attention on the main subject, or to remove unwanted parts of the image.


Dodging is making a section of a photo lighter. When this is done in the darkroom, it’s usually by blocking some of the light from reaching that part of the picture. In a photo editing program, it’s a paintbrush like tool that lightens instead of painting.

“Dodging and Burning”


Most photo printers and monitors measure their resolution in Dots Per Inch, or DPI. The higher the number, the higher the resolution. High Resolution images are of superior quality and allow image reproduction at a wider range of sizes than Low Resolution images.


EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image Format. Most digital images have two parts. The first is the image itself, which is usually stored as a JPG image. The second is the EXIF data. EXIF data most often includes all of the photographer’s information, like the date and time the picture was taken and the shutter speed and aperture set at the time.


Technically speaking, a spectrum of gray shades from black to white. A grayscale picture is the digital equivalent of a black and white photo

The sensitivity of film is measured by ISO, and the larger the number, the more sensitive the film. ISO 100 needs a lot of light, like outdoors on a sunny day. ISO 1600 doesn’t need much light. 

However, higher ISO means the possibility of more grain in the film. Digital images have borrowed the ISO scale to measure the sensitivity of a camera sensor. Just like the grain that’s added to film at higher ISO setting.

In short,  ISO is a camera setting that will, with “compensatory balances”, brighten or darken a photo. A high ISO is useful for capturing images in dark environments. 


The Joint Photographic Experts Group developed a method for making digital images smaller while sacrificing only a little bit of quality in the process. This is called JPG compression, and is the most common picture format on the Internet.


A megabyte is generally about a million bytes, or a thousand kilobytes. Technically, a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes.


RAW is the internal format of a digital camera. Many cameras “pre-process” images. They will do JPG compression, white balancing, and a number of other adjustments. The RAW image is the starting point for all of these. Digital photographers prefer to start from the RAW file so that they can make their own changes to these items.


RGB is the standard colour format for digital images. It stands for Red, Green, Blue. Each of the three colours is given an amount between 0 and 255, and the blend of the three produces all of the other colours. Three zeroes produce white, and three 255s produce black.

Saturation is a measure of the richness of the colors in a photo. When a picture is desaturated, all of the color information has been removed, and what’s left is a grayscale or black and white picture.

Shutter Speed is the amount of time the shutter remains open when a photo is taken. Shutter Speed and Aperture together determine just how much light hits the film or camera sensor. The shutter speed is also a fraction, just like the aperture. A shutter speed of 500 is actually 1/500, or “one five hundredth of a second.

Vector art is a functional form of producing images. Unlike raster or photographic images, vector graphics and illustrations can withstand resizing without losing quality or pixelating.

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