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Computer Graphics Glossary  


Following are common computer-related terms with which you may be unfamiliar.

This type of file is used to store bitmap (paint type) pictures.

Computers store and process information as a series of on (one or white) and off (zero or black) instructions. A series of eight on or off instructions is known as a byte (or an ASCII character). The number of bytes used in a file determines how much memory and disk storage space is required by that file.

When you use the CUT or COPY commands (in the Edit Menu), the currently selected file or text is written to a temporary storage location, known as the Clipboard. From the Clipboard, the file or text may be PASTED to a different location or imported to another application. See your Windows documentation for more information regarding the Windows Clipboard.

To make a duplicate using a pantograph-type tool.

Color Depth / Color Resolution
This refers to the number of colors which may be used in a file. This may be black & white (2-bit), 16-colors (4-bit), 256-colors (8-bit) or 16.7 million colors (24-bit or True Color). The maximum number of colors distinguishable by the human eye is less than 16.7 million colors. Generally speaking, the more colors in an image's Color Depth, the larger the image will be (although some File Types compress the information in the image).

A cursor is the indicator used to track the movement of your mouse on the screen. The most common cursor is a small arrow, but the cursor may change shape for different functions.

The files on your disks are usually organized into groups known as directories. Each directory usually contains files related to each other. Directories may also contain other directories which are called sub-directories. The directory which contains a sub-directory is known as a root directory.

A mouse action which consists of pressing the left mouse button, and holding the button down while moving the mouse to a new position on the screen.

Drop-down Menu
When you click on items in the row of categories displayed just below the ImageForge title bar, a list of commands and functions will be displayed. You may click on a command or function on these lists (menus) to enable it. You may also use the ALT key in combination with the underlined letter in the category title to drop down the list of selections. Some drop-down menus are indicated by small buttons containing downward-pointing arrows.

A file format for vector line drawings. ImageForge PRO is able to import many types of .DXF drawings. Use File/Open to select the .DXF file and to specify how to convert the line drawing to an image.

You may export your picture to a different image file format. Image formats supported by ImageForge include BMP, JPG, TIF, PCX, and PNG. Simply use the Save As command and type the new file name with the three letter extension for the format to which you wish the image to be exported (or simply select the format from the File Type drop down list).

An icon is a small picture representing a commonly used function. On the tool bars, you usually click on icons to activate their corresponding functions.

An image is any bitmapped picture. Bitmaps consist of individual screen pixels, rather than mathematical formulae (or raster graphics). The ImageForge can read and write many common image formats, including BMP, JPG, PNG, PCX and TIFF formats.

You may load image files produced in other software for use within ImageForge. Use the Open command from the File menu to import images.

In ImageForge, this term means to take elements from two layers (e.g., the bitmap and vector object layers) and place them into the main image.

When editing an image on a computer, this refers to the selection of colors available for a particular image. The number of colors available depends on the Color Depth (or Color Resolution).

A file's location on your system is called its "Path." The path consists of the disk drive letter, plus the directories and subdirectories needed to go from the disk's root directory to the subdirectory containing the file (e.g., a file on the C drive which is contained in the CANDIES subdirectory of the COOKBOOK directory would have a path of C:\COOKBOOK\CANDIES\.

A pixel is equivalent to a single dot on your screen. A pixel is the smallest unit used for the screen resolution being displayed. On a standard computer each pixel is composed of a Red, a Blue and a Green phosphor, which are combined to produce the color of the dot.

Selected Area
An area of your image which has been chosen with either the Scissors tool, or the Select All function. This area becomes active, and you may use the Cut, Copy, Delete, Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical, Clear and other commands to manipulate the selected area. You may also move the selected area by placing your mouse cursor within the boundaries of the area and dragging it to a new location (if you do not wish to clip the area, leaving a blank, hold down the Shift key as you drag).

Vector Object
While a Bitmap image is made up of colored pixels, Vector drawings are made up of lines, curves and other shapes. In ImageForge, Vector Objects reside on a separate layer (access this by clicking on the tab at the bottom of the window), where they may be modified until they are Merged into the Image. You may also import some types of Vector drawings and convert them to images.

Wildcard characters
These characters are used as placeholders during searches. The asterisk (*) character and the question mark (?) are used as wildcard characters. The ? acts as a placeholder for a single character, while the * acts as a placeholder for all characters in that position and following. E.g., using the string NO?E.T* to search for file names would find all files which began with NO and which had any character in the third position and had an E in the fourth position, and which ended with the letters .T plus any characters following the T (such as NOTE.TXT, NOME.TOT or NODE.TNT).

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