Archives: Glossary


A designation for paper, indicating that one side of the paper is coated. The C standing for “Coated”, the number designating how many sides and the S standing for “Sides”. Thus C1S literally means “Coated 1 Side” and C2S means “Coated 2 Sides.” Most papers for printing and especially digital printing, need to be coated in order to best retain the ink during the printing process. Because of this, it is important when selecting a paper to know whether one or both sides of the paper are coated as this will affect its suitability for a...

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A designation for paper, indicating that either one or both sides of the paper are coated. The C standing for “Coated”, the number designating how many sides and the S standing for “Sides”. Thus C1S literally means “Coated 1 Side” and C2S means “Coated 2...

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In Photoshop, a channel is a grayscale image that stores different types of information: Color information channels are created automatically when you open a new image. The image’s color mode determines the number of color channels created. For example, an RGB image has a channel for each color (red, green, and blue) plus a composite channel used for editing the image. An image can have up to 56 channels. All new channels have the same dimensions and number of pixels as the original image. (See illustration under alpha...

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See saturation. As chroma comes from the Greek word for color, it is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for...

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The International Commission on Illumination (usually abbreviated CIE for its French name, Commission internationale de l’éclairage) is the international authority on light, illumination, color and color spaces. It was established in 1913 and is currently based in Vienna,...

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Also called lab space. This is the most complete color space specified by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). It describes all the colors visible to the human eye and was created to serve as a device-independent model to be used as a reference. As it has a larger gamut than RGB and CMYK color spaces, as well as the color spaces of any input or output device (camera, printer, etc.) it is commonly used as the “common color space” between color...

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clip art

Collections of illustrations, design devices and other pre-created graphic items which can be used in a design. Clip art is usually vector-based artwork that is royalty-free. Many software programs, such as InDesign and Illustrator, come with a base library of clip...

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Clipping occurs when a pixel’s color values are higher than the highest value or lower than the lowest value that can be represented in the image; overbright values are clipped to output white, and overdark values are clipped to output black. The result is a loss of image detail. In some cases, clipping occurs because the color space being worked in has a gamut that is too...

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Enamel work in which the different colors are separated by strips of flattened wire placed edgeways on a metal backing, usually used for pendants and other jewelry. The word comes from French and literally means “partitioned”. A very similar look can be created on printed items by making flat areas of color and separating these with thin lines of foil. The effect can be made more effective by adding darkness around the foil, some texture and slight discoloration through the flat color areas and making the entire thing gloss against a matte backing. By extension, this latter graphic technique is referred to as...

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This refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlacK (or Key), which are the subtractive primaries. They are pigments, which create a spectrum of colors in different combinations. Unlike monitors, printers use subtractive primaries to produce colors through subtractive mixing. The term “subtractive” is used because the primary colors are pure until you begin mixing them together, resulting in colors that are less pure versions of the primaries. You subtract values of C, M, Y and K to get white. You add values of R, G and B to get...

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coated paper

Paper with a surface treated with clay or some other pigment and adhesive material to improve the finish in terms of printing quality. A coated finish can vary from dull to very glossy and provides an excellent printing surface that is especially suited to fine color...

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A visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect. The term color is also commonly used in graphic design to distinguish from things which are black, white and...

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color associations

These are the associations that people make with certain colors, usually rooted in precedents set by nature. For example, green is associated with life and growth, yellow is associated with happiness and red is associated with...

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color depth

This is the perception of depth based on color depending on the background they’re against. Warms colors tend to appear closer while cool colors appear further away.  The opposite is true against a white...

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color harmony

The term harmony derives from the Greek harmonia, meaning “joint, agreement, concord”, from the verb harmozo, “to fit together, to join”. In relation to color, this term refers to the combination of colors which go well together and are thus pleasing to the eye. The color wheel is used to establish color combinations which are...

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color model

A color model is a mathematical model describing the way colors can be represented as numbers, creating different dimensions that correlate to the three dimensions of space (depth, height, width). When this model is associated with a precise description of how the components are to be interpreted (viewed, printed, etc.), the resulting set of colors is called color space. RGB (with R, G and B each becoming a “dimension” of space) and CMYK (again, with C, M and Y each becoming a “dimension” of space) are two common color...

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color profile

Also called ICC profile. This is a set of data that characterizes color input or output devices (digital cameras, scanners, monitors, printers, etc.) or a color space, based on the standards issued by the ICC. Profiles describe the color attributes of a particular device or viewing requirement by defining a mapping between the device source or target color space and a profile connection space (PCS). Here is an example, showing the use of profiles: A digital camera shoots a photo of a red boat on a blue sea. The camera’s information is simply one long set of numbers, each representing different colors. A computer monitor now opens this photo. But the computer monitor reads the numbers differently than the camera and thus the same photo now looks like a dark orange boat on a purple sea. Finally, this photo is sent to a printer. The printer reads the numbers differently than the camera and the monitor, and so the printed photo looks like a brown boat on a blue sea. To handle this, the camera, monitor and printer each have a profile. The camera’s profile maps it’s colors to a common color space (the PCS). The monitor profile defines how colors are to display on it based on the common color space. And the printer profile tells the printer what colors to print based on the common color space....

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color separation

The process of dividing a multicolored image into the four individual process colors—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black—so that the image can be reproduced on a printing press. This was previously done using a camera (process camera) with filters that captured each of the colors separately and later done using scanners that also scanned each color separately. More recently, the entire operation is done electronically by...

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color space

A color space is a variant of a color model and has a specific gamut (range) of colors. For example, within the RGB color model are a number of color spaces: Adobe RGB, sRGB and so on. The color space is the interpretation of the numbers in a color model, defining how each number is to be either displayed or printed. Thus even if two documents are both RGB, their color can be different if each document is assigned a different color...

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color wheel

A circular diagram which represents the spectrum of visible colors. Color wheels are available which show the various different kinds of color harmony. These are made with two discs fastened with a rivet at their axis point. The first disc has a color wheel printed on it and the second disc has cutouts representing the different color...

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