Aliasing - In computer graphics, the process by which smooth curves and other lines become jagged because the resolution of the graphics device or file is not high enough to represent a smooth curve. Smoothing and antialiasing techniques can reduce the effect of aliasing.

Alpha Channel - In graphics, a portion of each pixel's data that is reserved for transparency information. 32-bit graphics systems contain four channels -- three 8-bit channels for red, green, and blue (RGB) and one 8-bit alpha channel. The alpha channel is really a mask -- it specifies how the pixel's colors should be merged with another pixel when the two are overlaid, one on top of the other.

Animated GIF - A type of GIF image that can be animated by combining several images into a single GIF file. Applications that support the animated GIF standard, GIF89A, cycle through each image. GIF animation doesn't give the same level of control and flexibility as other animation formats but it has become extremely popular because it is supported by nearly all Web browsers. In addition, animated GIF files tend to be quite a bit smaller that other animation files, such as Java applets.

Antialiasing - In computer graphics, antialiasing is a software technique for diminishing jaggies - stairstep-like lines that should be smooth. Jaggies occur because the output device, the monitor or printer, doesn't have a high enough resolution to represent a smooth line. Antialiasing reduces the prominence of jaggies by surrounding the stairsteps with intermediate shades of gray (for gray-scaling devices) or color (for color devices). Although this reduces the jagged appearance of the lines, it also makes them fuzzier.


Bézier Curve - Pronounced bez-ee-ay, curved lines (splines) defined by mathematical formulas. Nearly all draw programs support Bézier curves. Named after the French mathematician Pierre Bézier, Bézier curves employ at least three points to define a curve. The two endpoints of the curve are called anchor points. The other points, which define the shape of the curve, are called handles, tangent points, or nodes. Attached to each handle are two control points. By moving the handles themselves, or the control points, you can modify the shape of the curve.

Bit Map - A representation, consisting of rows and columns of dots, of a graphics image in computer memory. The value of each dot (whether it is filled in or not) is stored in one or more bits of data. For simple monochrome images, one bit is sufficient to represent each dot, but for colors and shades of gray, each dot requires more than one bit of data. The more bits used to represent a dot, the more colors and shades of gray that can be represented.

Bleed - The amount of image that extends past the area of the page that is going to be trimmed off. This is
usually 1/8 of an inch. Or, the dimension of an image that is larger than the window it is to be placed into -
usually 1/16 of an inch.

Blueline - Inexpensive proofs usually done in the early stages of a project only to show the layout, design, text, and position of images for approval by the customer in an effort to reduce the use of more costly
It is similar to an architects blueprint.

Back to top of page

Calibration - Adjustment of devices to a constant standard to insure consistency of the final product. Such
devices may include professional grade color printers, densitometers (for measuring light transmission through photographic film), image setters (film output devices), offset and digital presses, etc.

Camera Ready - Mechanicals, photographs and art fully prepared for reproduction according to the technical requirements of the printing process being used. Also called finished art and reproduction copy.

CD - Compact Disk - An optical disk that can hold up to a present maximum of 700 MB of data. See also DVD.

Clipping Path - A vector path that is usually drawn with an image retouching program and utilized by
an image layout program for the purpose of silhouetting a subject from its background.

CMYK - Abbreviation used in the printing industry for the colors Cyan ( C ), Magenta ( M ), Yellow ( Y ) and Black ( K ). Also known as process colors. In printing, combinations of the three primaries Cyan, Magenta and Yellow can reproduce nearly all other colors. Black is used for shading and depth.

Coarse Screen - Halftone screen with ruling of 65, 85 or 100 lines per inch (26, 34 or 40 lines centimeter).

Color Balance - Refers to amounts of process colors that simulate the colors of the original scene or photograph.

Color Cast - Unwanted color affecting an entire image or portion of an image.

Color Control Bar - Strip of small blocks of color on a proof or press sheet to help evaluate features such as density and dot gain. Also called color bar, color guide and standard offset color bar.

Color Correct - Due to deficiencies in the printing or lithographic process, whether it be offset or digital, color
adjustments are still necessary to bring the reproduction as close as possible to the original.

Color Curves - Usually referring to the tonal values representing the amount of tone or color from highlight to
shadow in an image. These tonal values can be represented as a curve in a graph where they can be manipulated to alter the color or tone of the image.

Color Depth - The number of distinct colors that can be represented by a piece of hardware or software. Color depth is sometimes referred to as bit depth because it is directly related to the number of bits used for each pixel. A 24-bit video adapter, for example, has a color depth of 2 to the 24th power (about 16.7 million) colors. One would say that its color depth is 24 bits.

Color Electronic Prepress System - Computer, scanner, printer and other hardware and software designed for image assembly, color correction, retouching and output onto proofing materials, film or printing plates. Abbreviated CEPS.

Color Gamut - The entire range of hues possible to reproduce using a specific device, such as a computer screen, or system, such as four-color process printing.

Color Key - Brand name for an overlay color proof. Sometimes used as a generic term for any overlay color proof. Rarely used since the advent of inexpensive, press quality inkjet printers.

Color Separation - Technique of using a camera, scanner or computer to divide continuous-tone color
images into four halftone negatives. The four halftone negatives represent the four primary process
colors necessary for printing (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).

Color Sequence - Order in which inks are printed. Also called laydown sequence and rotation. Also the order
that colors are applied to a proof such as a MatchPrint.

Color Shift - Change in image color resulting from changes in register, ink densities or dot gain during four-color process printing.

Composite Art - Mechanical on which copy for reproduction in all colors appears on only one surface, not separated onto overlays. Composite art has a tissue overlay with instructions that indicate color breaks.

Composite Film - Film made by combining images from two or more pieces of working film onto one film for making one plate.

Composite Proof - Proof of color separations in position with graphics and type. Also called final proof, imposition proof and stripping proof.

Composition - (1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

Contact Platemaker - Device with lights, timing mechanism and vacuum frame used to make contact prints, duplicate film, proofs and plates. Also called platemaker and vacuum frame.

Continuous-tone Copy - All photographs and those illustrations having a range of shades not made up of dots, as compared to line copy or halftones. Abbreviated contone.

Contrast - The degree of difference between tones in an image ranging from highlight to shadow.

Copyboard - Surface or frame on a process camera that holds copy in position to be photographed.

Coverage - Extent to which ink covers the surface of a substrate. Ink coverage is usually expressed as light, medium or heavy.

Crop Marks - Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced or edge to be trimmed. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Crossover - Type or art that continues from one page of a book or magazine across the gutter to the opposite page. Also called bridge, gutter bleed and gutter jump.

Customer Service Representative - Employee of a printer, service bureau, separator or other business who coordinates projects and keeps customers informed. Abbreviated CSR.

Cyan - One of the four process colors. Also known as process blue.

Back to top of page

Data Compression - Technique of reducing the amount of storage required to hold a digital file to reduce the disk space the file requires and allow it to be processed or transmitted more quickly.

Densitometer - Instrument used to measure density. Reflection densitometers measure light reflected from paper and other surfaces; transmission densitometers measure light transmitted through film and other materials.

Density - (1) Regarding ink, the relative thickness of a layer of printed ink. (2) Regarding color, the relative ability of a color to absorb light reflected from it or block light passing through it. (3) Regarding paper, the relative tightness or looseness of fibers.

Density Range - Difference between the darkest and lightest areas of copy. Also called contrast ratio, copy range and tonal range.

Desktop Publishing - Technique of using a personal computer to design images and pages, and assemble type and graphics, then using a laser printer or imagesetter to output the assembled pages onto paper, film or printing plate. Abbreviated DTP.

Device Independent Colors - Hules identified by wavelength or by their place in systems such as developed by CIE. 'Device independent' means a color can be described and specified without regard to whether it is reproduced using ink, projected light, photographic chemistry or any other method.

Die - Device for cutting, scoring, stamping, embossing and debossing.

Die Cut - To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Digital Proofing - Proofs produced through electronic memory transferred onto paper via laser or ink-jet.

Digital Dot - Dot created by a computer and printed out by a laser printer or imagesetter. Digital dots are uniform in size, as compared to halftone dots that vary in size.

Direct Digital Color Proof - Color proof made by a laser, ink jet printer or other computer-controlled device without needing to make separation films first. Abbreviated DDCP.

Dithering - Creating the illusion of new colors and shades by varying the pattern of dots. Newspaper photographs, for example, are dithered. If you look closely, you can see that different shades of gray are produced by varying the patterns of black and white dots. There are no gray dots at all. The more dither patterns that a device or program supports, the more shades of gray it can represent. In printing, dithering is usually called halftoning, and shades of gray are called halftones.

Dot Gain - Phenomenon of halftone dots printing larger on paper than they are on films or plates, reducing detail and lowering contrast. Also called dot growth, dot spread and press gain.

Dot Size - Relative size of halftone dots as compared to dots of the screen ruling being used. Within a given screen ruling dots are referred to in percentage values.

DPI or Dots-per-inch - Measure of resolution of input devices such as scanners, display devices such as monitors, and output devices such as laser printers, imagesetters and monitors. Also called dot pitch.

Double Black Duotone - Duotone printed from two halftones, one shot for highlights and the other shot for midtones and shadows.

Dropout - Halftone dots or fine lines eliminated from highlights by overexposure during camera work.

Duotone - Black-and-white or color photograph reproduced using two halftone negatives, each shot to emphasize different tonal values in the original. The two halftone negatives may each be printed with black,
or any two combinations of colors to produce different effects.

Dummy - Simulation of the final product. Also called mockup.

DVD - Short for digital versatile disc or digital video disc, a type of optical disk technology similar to the CD-ROM. A DVD holds a minimum of 4.7GB of data, enough for a full-length movie. DVD's are commonly used as a medium for digital representation of movies and other multimedia presentations that combine sound with graphics. The DVD specification supports disks with capacities of from 4.7GB to 17GB and access rates of 600KBps to 1.3 MBps. One of the best features of DVD drives is that they are backward-compatible with CD-ROMs, meaning they can play old CD-ROMs, CD-I disks, and video CDs, as well as new DVD-ROMs. Newer DVD players can also read CD-R disks.

Dylux - Brand name for photographic paper used to make blue line proofs. Often used as alternate term for blueline.

Back to top of page

Electronic Publishing - (1) Publishing by printing with device, such as a photocopy machine or ink jet printer, driven by a computer that can change the image instantly from one copy to the next. (2) Publishing via output on fax, computer bulletin board or other electronic medium, as compared to output on paper.

Emboss - To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface. Also called cameo and tool.

Emulsion - A layer of light-sensitive chemicals on papers, films, printing plates and stencils.

Emulsion Up/Down - Film whose emulsion side faces down (away from the viewer) or up (toward the viewer) when ready to make a plate or stencil. Abbreviated ED, EU. Also called E up/down and face down/face up.

Encapsulated Postscript File ( EPS ) - Computer file containing both images and PostScript commands.

Engraving - Printing method using a plate, also called a die, with an image cut into its surface.

Etch - To use chemicals to carve an image into metal, glass or film.

EXIF - Short for Exchangeable Image File, a format that is a standard for storing interchange information in digital photography image files using JPEG compression. Almost all new digital cameras use the EXIF annotation, storing information on the image such as shutter speed, exposure compensation, F number, what metering system was used, if a flash was used, ISO number, date and time the image was taken, whitebalance, auxiliary lenses that were used and resolution.

Back to top of page

Fake Duotone - Halftone in one ink color printed over screen tint of a second ink color. Also called dummy duotone, dougraph, duplex halftone, false duotone, flat tint halftone and halftone with screen.

Fast Color Inks - Inks with colors that retain their density and resist fading as the product is used and washed.

Feathering - In desktop publishing, feathering is the process of softening the edges of an image in the foreground so that it blends into the background image with less contrast.

Fifth Color - Ink color used in addition to the CMYK inks needed by four-color process. Fifth and sixth colors may be used to enhance or create colors that are not generally possible with the standard four-color process. Examples include colors like Candy-Apple Red, Gold, Silver, etc.

File Format - A format for encoding information in a file. Each different type of file has a different file format. The file format specifies first whether the file is a binary or ASCII file, and second, how the information is organized.

Film Gauge - Thickness of film. The most common gauge for graphic arts film is 0.004 inch (0.1 mm).

Film Laminate - Thin sheet of plastic bonded to a printed product for protection or increased gloss.

Fine Screen - Screen with ruling of 150 lines per inch (80 lines per centimeter) or more.

Finish - (1) Surface characteristics of paper. (2) General term for trimming, folding, binding and all other post press operations.

Finished Sized - Size of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.

Fit - Refers to ability of film to be registered during stripping and assembly. Good fit means that all images register to other film for the same job.

Flat Color - (1) Any color created by printing only one ink, as compared to a color created by printing four-color process. Also called block color and spot color. (2) color that seems weak or lifeless.

Flat Size - Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Flexography - Method of printing on a web press using rubber or plastic plates with raised images. Also called aniline printing because flexographic inks originally used aniline dyes. Abbreviated flexo.

Fold Marks - With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.

Font - A design for a set of characters. A font is the combination of typeface and other qualities, such as size, pitch, and spacing. For example, Times Roman is a typeface that defines the shape of each character. Within Times Roman, however, there are many fonts to choose from -- different sizes, italic, bold, and so on. (The term font is often used incorrectly as a synonym for typeface.)

Format - ( 1 ) Size, style, shape, layout or organization of a layout or printed product. ( 2 ) To prepare a storage medium, usually a disk, for reading and writing. When you format a disk, the operating system erases all bookkeeping information on the disk, tests the disk to make sure all sectors are reliable, marks bad sectors (that is, those that are scratched), and creates internal address tables that it later uses to locate information. You must format a disk before you can use it.

Back to top of page

Ghosting - (1) Phenomenon of a faint image appearing on a printed sheet where it was not intended to appear. Chemical ghosting refers to the transfer of the faint image from the front of one sheet to the back of another sheet. Mechanical ghosting refers to the faint image appearing as a repeat of an image on the same side of the sheet. (2) Phenomenon of printed image appearing too light because of ink starvation.

GIF - Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g) stands for graphics interchange format, a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, but because it is limited to 256 colors, it is more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos.

Graduated Screen Tint - Screen tint that changes densities gradually and smoothly, not in distinct steps. Also called degrade, gradient, ramped screen and vignette.

Graphic Arts - The crafts, industries and professions related to designing and printing on paper and other substrates.

Graphic Arts Film - Film whose emulsion yields high contrast images suitable for reproduction by a printing press, as compared to continuous-tone film. Also called litho film and repro film.

Graphic Design - Arrangement of type and visual elements along with specifications for paper, ink colors and printing processes that, when combined, convey a visual message.

Graphics - Visual elements that supplement type to make printed messages more clear or interesting.

Gravure - Method of printing using metal cylinders etched with millions of tiny wells that hold ink.

Gray Balance - Printed cyan, magenta and yellow halftone dots that accurately, reproduce a neutral gray image.

Gray Component Replacement - Technique of replacing gray tones in the yellow, cyan and magenta films, made while color separating, with black ink. Abbreviated GCR. Also called achromatic color removal.

Gray Levels - Number of distinct gray tones that can be reproduced by a computer.

Gray Scale - Strip of gray values ranging from white to black. Used by process camera and scanner operators to calibrate exposure times for film and plates. Also called step wedge.

GSM - The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).

Gutter - In the book arena, the inside margins toward the back or the binding edges.

Back to top of page

Hairline ( Rule ) - Subjective term referring to very small space, thin line or close register. The meaning depends on who is using the term and in what circumstances.

Halftone - (1) To photograph or scan a continuous tone image to convert the image into halftone dots. (2) A photograph or continuous-tone illustration that has been halftoned and appears on film, paper, printing plate or the final printed product.

Halftone Screen - Piece of film or glass containing a grid of lines that breaks light into dots. Also called contact screen and screen.

Halo Effect - ( 1 ) Faint shadow sometimes surrounding halftone dots printed. Also called halation. The halo itself is also called a fringe. ( 2 ) Certain settings in electronic sharpening cause an undue brightness fringe in lighter tones that are near darker tones.

Hard Dots - Halftone dots with no halos or soft edges, as compared to soft dots.

Hard Mechanical - Mechanical consisting of paper and/or acetate and made using paste-up techniques, as compared to electronic mechanical.

Hickey - Spot or imperfection in printing, most visible in areas of heavy ink coverage, caused by dirt on the plate or blanket. Also called bulls eye and fish eye.

High-key Photo - Photo whose most important details appear in the highlights.

Highlights - Lightest portions of a photograph or halftone, as compared to midtones and shadows.

HLS - Abbreviation for hue, lightness, saturation, one of the color-control options often found in software, for design and page assembly. Also called HVS.

Hot Spot - Printing defect caused when a piece of dirt or an air bubble caused incomplete draw-down during contact platemaking or film exposure, leaving an area of weak ink coverage or visible dot gain.

Back to top of page

Image Area - The actual area on the printed matter that is not restricted to ink coverage,

Imagesetter - Laser output device using photosensitive paper or film usually to produce halftone negatives.

Imposition - Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

Ink Balance - Relationship of the densities and dot gains of process inks to each other and to a standard density of neutral gray

Ink Jet Printing - Method of printing by spraying droplets of ink through computer-controlled nozzles. Also called jet printing.

Integral Proof - Color proof of separations shown on one piece of proofing paper, as compared to an overlay proof. Also called composition proof, laminate proof, plastic proof and single-sheet proof.

Back to top of page

Jaggies - Stairlike lines that appear where there should be smooth straight lines or curves. Jaggies can occur for a variety of reasons, the most common being that the output device (display monitor or printer) does not have enough resolution to portray a smooth line. In addition, jaggies often occur when a bit-mapped image is converted to a different resolution. This is one of the advantages vector graphics has over bit-mapped graphics -- the output looks the same regardless of the resolution of the output device.

JPEG - Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg. JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail may be lost in the compression.

Back to top of page

K - Abbreviation for black in four-color process printing. Hence the 'K' in CMYK.

Key - ( 1 ) The screw that controls ink flow from the ink fountain of a printing press. ( 2 ) To relate loose pieces of copy to their positions on a layout or mechanical using a system of numbers or letters. (3) Alternate term for the color black, as in 'key plate.'

Keylines - Lines on a mechanical or negative showing the exact size, shape and location of photographs or other graphic elements. Also called holding lines.

Key Negative or Plate - Negative or plate that prints the most detail, thus whose image guides the register of images from other plates. Also called key printer.

Kiss Impression - Lightest possible impression that will transfer ink to a Substrate.

Back to top of page

Laminate - A thin transparent plastic sheet (coating) applied to usually a thick stock (covers, post cards, etc.) providing protection against liquid and heavy use, and usually accents existing color, providing a glossy (or lens) effect.

Landscape - Artist style in which width is greater than height. (Portrait is opposite.)

Layout - A sample of the original providing (showing) position of printed work (direction, instructions) needed and desired.

Leading - Amount of space between lines of type.

Letter Fold - Two folds creating three panels that allow a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope. Also called barrel fold and wrap around fold.

Letter Paper - In North America, 8 1/2' x 11' sheets. In Europe, A4 sheets.

Letterpress - Method of printing from raised surfaces, either metal type or plates whose surfaces have been etched away from image areas. Also called block printing.

Line Copy - Any high-contrast image, including type, as compared to continuous-tone copy. Also called line art and line work.

Line Negative - Negative made from line copy.

Lithography - Method of printing using plates whose image areas attract ink and whose nonimage areas repel ink. Nonimage areas may be coated with water to repel the oily ink or may have a surface, such as silicon, that repels ink.

Live Area - Area on a mechanical within which images will print. Also called safe area.

Logo ( Logotype ) - A company, partnership or corporate creation (design) that denotes a unique entity. A possible combination of letters and art work to create a "sole" entity symbol of that specific unit.

Loose Proof - Proof of a halftone or color separation that is not assembled with other elements from a page, as compared to composite proof. Also called first proof, random proof, scatter proof and show-color proof.

Loupe - Lens built into a small stand. Used to inspect copy, film, proofs, plates and printing. Also called glass and linen tester.

Low Key Photo - Photo whose most important details appear in the shadows.

Back to top of page

Magenta - One of the four process colors.

Makeready - ( 1 ) All activities required to prepare a press or other machine to function for a specific printing or bindery job, as compared to production run. Also called setup. ( 2 ) Paper used in the makeready process at any stage in production. Makeready paper is part of waste or spoilage.

Markup - Instructions written usually on a "dummy."

Mask - To prevent light from reaching part of an image, therefore isolating the remaining part. Also called knock out.

Match Print - A form of a four-color-process proofing system. For many years this was accepted as the industry standard prepress proofing system. But with the advent of professional grade digital proofing systems, the Match Print system has become a part of history.

Matte Finish - Flat (not glossy) finish on photographic paper or coated printing paper.

Mechanical - Camera-ready assembly of type, graphic and other copy complete with instructions to the printer. A hard mechanical consists of paper and/or acetate, is made using paste-up techniques, and may also be called an artboard, board or paste-up. A soft mechanical, also called an electronic mechanical, exists as a file of type and other images assembled using a computer.

Mechanical Separation - Color breaks made on the mechanical using a separate overlay for each color to be printed.

Mechanical Tint - Lines or patterns formed with dots creating artwork for reproduction.

Megapixel - One million pixels. The term is used in reference to the resolution of a graphics device, such as a scanner, digital camera or monitor.

Midtones - In a photograph or illustration, tones created by dots between 30 percent and 70 percent of coverage, as compared to highlights and shadows.

Mockup - A reproduction of the original printed matter and possibly containing instructions or direction.

Moiré - Undesirable pattern resulting when halftones and screen tints are made with improperly aligned screens, or when a pattern in a photo, such as a plaid, interfaces with a halftone dot pattern.

Back to top of page

Neutral Gray - Gray with no hue or cast.

Newton Ring - Flaw in a photograph or halftone that looks like a drop of oil or water. Original cause is a rainbow-like phenomenon produced by two high gloss surfaces coming tightly in contact with each other - such as film in a vacuum frame.

Nonimpact Printing - Printing using lasers, ions, ink jets or heat to transfer images to paper.

Nonreproducing Blue - Light blue that does not record on graphic arts film, therefore may be used to preprint layout grids and write instructions on mechanicals. Also called blue pencil, drop-out blue, fade-out blue and nonrepro blue.

Back to top of page

Offset Printing - Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

Opacity - ( 1 ) Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents printing on one side from showing through the other side. ( 2 ) Characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.

Opaque - ( 1 ) Not transparent. ( 2 ) To cover flaws in negative with tape or opaquing paint. Also called block out and spot.

Outline Halftone - Halftone in which background has been removed or replaced to isolate or silhouette the main image. Also called knockout halftone and silhouette halftone.

Overlay - Layer of material taped to a mechanical, photo or proof. Acetate overlays are used to separate colors by having some type or art on them instead of on the mounting board. Tissue overlays are used to carry instructions about the underlying copy and to protect the base art.

Overlay Proof - Color proof consisting of polyester sheets laid on top of each other with their image in register, as compared to integral proof. Each sheet represents the image to be printed in one color. Also called celluloid proof and layered proof.

Overprint - To print one image over a previously printed image, such as printing type over a screen tint. Also called surprint.

Back to top of page

Page Proof - Proof of type and graphics as they will look on the finished page complete with elements such as headings, rules and folios.

Pagination - ( 1 ) In the book arena, the numbering of pages. ( 2 ) In Prepress layout of that book, the order of pages printed side by side so when the booklet is folded, or the signatures are bound, the pages are in the proper sequence. For example: A 16 page booklet will have pages 1 and 16 printed together on one side of the press sheet, while pages 2 and 15 are printed on the other side, etc.

Palette - ( 1 ) In computer graphics, a palette is the set of available colors. For a given application, the palette may be only a subset of all the colors that can be physically displayed. ( 2 ) In paint and illustration programs, a palette is a collection of symbols that represent drawing tools. For example, a simple palette might contain a paintbrush, a pencil, and an eraser.

Paste-up - To paste copy to mounting boards and, if necessary, to overlays so it is assembled into a camera-ready mechanical. The mechanical produced is often called a paste-up.

PE - Proofreader mark meaning printer error and showing a mistake by a typesetter, prepress service or printer as compared to an error by the customer.

Pica - A unit of measure in the printing industry. A pica is approximately 0.166 in. There are 12 points to a pica.

Pixelated - Describes an image in which individual pixels are apparent to the naked eye.

Photomechanical Transfer - Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for photostat. Abbreviated PMT.

Photostat - Brand name for a diffusion transfer process used to make positive paper prints of line copy and halftones. Often used as alternate term for PMT.

Pin Register - Technique of registering separations, flats and printing plates by using small holes, all of equal diameter, at the edges of both flats and plates.

Pixel - Short for picture element, a dot made by a computer, scanner or other digital device. Also called pel.

Plate - Piece of paper, metal, plastic or rubber carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

Plate Maker - ( 1 ) In quick printing, a process camera that makes plates automatically from mechanicals. ( 2 ) In commercial lithography, a machine with a vacuum frame used to expose plates through film.

Plate-ready Film - Stripped negatives or positives fully prepared for platemaking.

Pleasing Color - Color that the customer considers satisfactory even though it may not precisely match original samples, scenes or objects.

PMS - Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colors in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colors, not PMS Colors.

PMT - Abbreviation for photomechanical transfer.

Point - ( 1 ) Regarding paper, a unit of thickness equating 1/1000 inch. ( 2 ) Regarding type, a unit of measure equaling 1/12 pica and .013875 inch (.351mm).

Portrait - An art design in which the height is greater than the width. (Opposite of Landscape.)

Position Stat - Photocopy or PMT of a photo or illustration made to size and affixed to a mechanical.

Positive Film - Film that prevents light from passing through images, as compared to negative film that allows light to pass through. Also called knockout film.

Prepress - Camera work, color separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Prepress Proof - Any color proof made using ink jet, toner, dyes or overlays, as compared to a press proof printed using ink. Also called dry proof and off-press proof.

Press Check - Event at which makeready sheets from the press are examined before authorizing full production to begin.

Press Proof - Proof made on press using the plates, ink and paper specified for the job. Also called strike off and trial proof.

Printer Spreads - Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads. See also Pagination.

Printing - Any process that transfers to paper or another substrate an image from an original such as a film negative or positive, electronic memory, stencil, die or plate.

Printing Plate - Surface carrying an image to be printed. Quick printing uses paper or plastic plates; letterpress, engraving and commercial lithography use metal plates; flexography uses rubber or soft plastic plates. Gravure printing uses a cylinder. The screen printing is also called a plate.

Process Camera - Camera used to photograph mechanicals and other camera-ready copy. Also called copy, camera and graphic arts camera. A small, simple process camera may be called a stat camera.

Process Color ( Ink ) - The colors used for four-color process printing: yellow, magenta, cyan and black.

Proof - Test sheet made to reveal errors or flaws, predict results on press and record how a printing job is intended to appear when finished.

Proofreader Marks - Standard symbols and abbreviations used to mark up manuscripts and proofs. Also called correction marks.

Proportion Scale - Round device used to calculate percent that an original image must by reduced or enlarged to yield a specific reproduction size. Also called percentage wheel, proportion dial, proportion wheel and scaling wheel.

Back to top of page

Raster Image Processor - Device that translates page description commands into bitmapped information for an output device such as a laser printer or imagesetter. Abbreviated "RIP"

Reflective Copy - Products, such as fabrics, illustrations and photographic prints, viewed by light reflected from them, as compared to transparent copy. Also called reflex copy.

Register - To place printing properly with regard to the edges of paper and other printing on the same sheet. Such printing is said to be in register.

Register Marks - Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.

Resolution - Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium.

Resolution Target - An image, such as the GATF Star Target, that permits evaluation of resolution on film, proofs or plates.

RGB - Abbreviation for red, green, blue, the additive color primaries.

Right Reading - Copy that reads correctly in the language in which it is written. Also describes a photo whose orientation looks like the original scene, as compared to a flopped image.

Rule - Line used as a graphic element to separate or organize copy.

Ruleup - Map or drawing given by a printer to a stripper showing how a printing job must be imposed using a specific press and sheet size. Also called press layout, printer's layout and ruleout.

Back to top of page

Scale - To identify the percent by which photographs or art should be enlarged or reduced to achieve, the correct size for printing.

Scanner - Electronic device used to scan an image transforming it into pixels.

Screen Angles - Angles at which screens intersect with the horizontal line of the press sheet. The common screen angles for separations are black 45 degree, magenta 75 degree, yellow 90 degree and cyan 105 degree.

Screen Density - Refers to the percentage of ink coverage that a screen tint allows to print. Also called screen percentage.

Screen Printing - Method of printing by using a squeegee to force ink through an assembly of mesh fabric and a stencil.

Screen Ruling - Number of rows or lines of dots per inch or centimeter in a screen for making a screen tint or halftone. Also called line count, ruling, screen frequency, screen size and screen value.

Screen Tint - Color created by dots instead of solid ink coverage. Also called Benday, fill pattern, screen tone, shading, tint and tone.

Separations - Usually in the four-color process arena, separate film holding images of one specific color per piece of film. Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Can also separate specific PMS colors through film.

Spectrophotometer - Instrument used to measure the index of refraction of color.

Specular Highlight - Highlight area with no printable dots, thus no detail, as compared to a diffuse highlight. Also called catchlight and dropout highlight.

Spread - ( 1 ) Two pages that face each other and are designed as one visual or production unit. ( 2 ) Technique of slightly enlarging the size of an image to accomplish a hairline trap with another image. Also called fatty.

Standard Viewing Conditions - Background of 60 percent neutral gray and light that measures 5000 degrees Kelvin the color of daylight on a bright day. Also called lighting standards.

Stat - Short for photostat, therefore a general term for an inexpensive photographic print of line copy or halftone.

Strip - To assemble images on film for platemaking. Stripping involves correcting flaws in film, assembling pieces of film into flats and ensuring that film and flats register correctly. Also called film assembly and image assembly.

Subtractive Color - Color produced by light reflected from a surface, as compared to additive color. Subtractive color includes hues in color photos and colors created by inks on paper.

Subtractive Primary Color - Yellow, magenta and cyan. In the graphic arts, these are known as process colors because, along with black, they are the inks colors used in color-process printing.

SWOP - Abbreviation for specifications for web offset publications, specifications recommended for web printing of publications.

Back to top of page

Tagged Image File Format - Computer file format used to store images from scanners and video devices. Abbreviated TIFF.

Target Ink Density - Densities of the four process inks as recommended for various printing processes and grades of paper. See also Total Area Coverage.

Thumbnails - ( 1 ) Initial ideas jotted on virtually anything in regard to initial concept of a future project. ( 2 ) A miniature display of a page or image. Thumbnails enable you to see the layout of many pages or images on the screen at once.

Tint - Screening or adding white to a solid color for results of lightening that specific color.

Total Area Coverage - Total of the dot percentages of the process colors in the final film. Abbreviated for TAC. Also called density of tone, maximum density, shadow saturation, total dot density and total ink coverage.

Touch Plate - Plate that accents or prints a color that four-color process printing cannot reproduce well enough or at all. Also called kiss plate.

Transparency - Positive photographic image on film allowing light to pass through. Also called chrome, color transparency and tranny. Often abbreviated TX.

Trap - To print one ink over another or to print a coating, such as varnish, over an ink. The first liquid traps the second liquid. See also Dry Traps and Wet Traps.

Back to top of page

Undercolor Addition - Technique of making color separations that increases the amount of cyan, magenta or yellow ink in shadow areas. Abbreviated UCA.

Undercolor Removal - Technique of making color separations such that the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow ink is reduced in midtone and shadow areas while the amount of black is increased. Abbreviated UCR.

Unsharp Masking - Technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.

Back to top of page

Vector Graphics - Same as object-oriented graphics, refers to software and hardware that use geometrical formulas to represent images. Vector-oriented images are more flexible than bit maps because they can be resized and stretched. In addition, images stored as vectors look better on devices (monitors and printers) with higher resolution, whereas bit-mapped images always appear the same regardless of a device's resolution. Another advantage of vector graphics is that representations of images often require less memory than bit-mapped images do.

Vignette - ( 1 ) Decorative design or illustration fade to white. (2 ) Smooth tonal change from one density or color to another density or color, ( 3 ) A single object photographed on a background: such as a chair or table photographed on an area of carpet.

Vignette Halftone - Halftone whose background gradually and smoothly fades away. Also called degrade.


WYSIWYG - Pronounced WIZ-zee-wig. Short for what you see is what you get. A WYSIWYG application is one that enables you to see on the display screen exactly what will appear when the document is printed.

Back to top of page