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Glossary of Terms

New to Gimp? Below you will find an extensive list of commonly used terms in GIMP. While some of these terms are basic, keep in mind that many of them are more advanced. If you’re having trouble identifying an element in GIMP or perhaps understanding part of a GIMP tutorial, the GIMP glossary of terms can help:

  • Alpha Value
    An Alpha value indicates the transparency of a pixel.
  • Alpha Channel
    An alpha channel can make areas of a layer appear transparent.
  • Antialiasing
    This is the process of reversing an alias. Antialiasing adjusts the boundaries between the background and the pixel region to produce smoother curves.
  • Bézier curve
    First, you will need to understand what a spline is: basically, a spline is a curve that is represented mathematically. It has a set of control points. A Bézier is a cubic spline that has four control points.
  • Bitmap
    A bitmap is a mapping from a computer domain.
  • BMP
    BMP is an uncompressed image file format that it is not well-suited for use over the internet.
  • Bump mapping
    Bump mapping is a technique that is used to dispaly extremely detailed objects without increasing the geometrical complexity of the objects.
  • Channel
    A channel refers to a part of an image.
  • Channel Mask
    This is a special type of mask that can determine the transparency of a selection.
  • Clipboard
    The Clipboard is an area you can use to temporarily store data that you want to transfer between applications or documents. For example, when you Cut, Copy or Paste in GIMP, this data is stored on the clipboard.
  • CMY, CMYK
    CMYK is a color model that stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. It is a subtractive color model that is complementary to the RGB color model. GIMP does not currently support the CMYK model.
  • Color depth
    Color depth is simply the number of bits used to represent a color.
  • Color model
    A color model is a way of describing a specific color.
  • Dithering
    This is a technique that is used to create the illusion that there are more colors in an image when it has a low color depth.
  • EXIF
    EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File format. This is the format used by digital cameras.
  • Feathering
    Feathering is a technique used to softly blend the edges of an area.
  • Gamma
    Gamma or gamma correction is used to encode and decode luminance or color values in video or still image systems. It is most often used to straighten out a curved signal-to-light or intensity-to-signal response.
  • Gamut
    The gamut, or color gamut, is a complete subset of colors.
  • GIF
    GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. A GIF is a file format that compresses images.
  • GNU
    The GNU project was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman with the goal of developing a completely free operating system: https://www.gnu.org/
  • Grayscale
    Grayscale is used to encode images with black, white and shades of gray.
  • Guides
    Guides are lines that help you position a selection or a layer on an image.
  • Histogram
    A histogram is a graph that represents the statistical frequency of the gray values or the color values in an image. A histogram can tell you about the occurrence of gray values or color values, as well as the contrast range and the brightness of the image.
  • HSV
    HSV is a color model with components for Hue (the color, such as blue or red), Saturation (how strong the color is) and Value (the brightness).
  • HTML
    HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. This the standard language used for creating web pages.
  • Image Hose
    An image hose in GIMP is a special type of brush that consists of several images.
  • Indexed Colors
    Indexed color mode is a mode for encoding colors in an image.
  • Interpolation
    Interpolation means calculating intermediate values. GIMP offers three interpolation methods: when you Scale an image, Scale a layer and when you Transform an image.
  • JPEG
    A JPEG is a file format that supports compression and works at all color depths.
  • Layer
    A layer is a transparent slide that can be stacked. Each layer represents an aspect of the image and the image. For example, a bottom layer represents the background and the top layer the foreground.
  • Marching ants
    A term used to describe the dotted line that surrounds a selection.
  • Masks
    A mask is similar to putting a veil over a layer. There are two types of masks: a layer mask and a channel mask.
  • Moiré Effect
    This is an unintended pattern that appears when a regular pattern of grids or lines interferes with another regular pattern that is placed over it.
  • Parasite
    A Parasite is additional data that can be written to an XCF file.
  • Path
    A Path is used to form a selection in GIMP. It can be composed of straight lines, curves, or both.
  • PDB
    PDB stands for the Procedure Database (PDB). Here, developers can find everything they need to know about GIMP, including programming information.
  • PDF
    PDF stands for Portable Document Format. A PDF is a secure file format.
  • Pixel
    A pixel represents a single dot, or a “picture element”, of an image.
  • Plugin
    Plugins are optional features that you can download for GIMP.
  • PNG
    PNG is a file format that stands for “Portable Network Graphic.” This filr format allows you to save your images several times without losing data each time.
  • PostScript
    PostScript is a page description language mainly used by printers and other output devices.
  • PSD
    PSD is Adobe Photoshop’s native file format. GIMP can handle PSD files, however only older versions of PSD are supported.
  • Quantization
    The process of reducing the color of a pixel by matching the color to the nearest color in the colormap.
  • Rendering Intent
    Rendering intent is a way of dealing with colors that the destination space is incapable of producing.
  • RGB
    RGB is a color model that stands for Red, Green and Blue.
  • Sample Merge
    Sample Merged is an option you can select when you use various selection tools found in the Toolbox. When you select the Sample Merged option, the color is applied to all visible layers.
  • Saturation
    This term refers to the depth of color.
  • Supersampling
    Supersampling is an advanced technique that is used to reduce jagged edges along a slanted or curved line.
  • SVG
    SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. It is a format for two-dimensional vector graphics, both static and animated.
  • TGA
    TGA stands for TARGA Image File. TGA is a file format which supports 8, 16, 24 or 32 bits per pixel and optional RLE compression.
  • TIFF
    TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. A TIFF is a file format for scanned raster graphics for color separation.
  • Tile
    GIMP divides images into smaller pieces called tiles.
  • URI
    URI stands for A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). A URI is a string of characters that serves to identify an abstract or a physical resource.
  • URL
    URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs are the primary source of identification for the source of something found on the internet.
  • Value
    A value refers to the light intensity or the luminosity of a color.
  • XCF
    XCF is GIMP’s native file format. This format was designed specifically to store all of the data that makes up a GIMP image. Because of this, few programs other than GIMP can read XCF file formats.
  • YUV
    YUV is a color model that represents the color information via the luma (the strength of the light per area) and the chrominance, or proportion of color (chroma).

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