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The Premier Digital Glossary

(December 1999) posted on Thu Dec 16, 1999

A comprehensive digital dictionary with terms from sign and related industries


Color gamut: The tonal range of colors that can be reproduced by a digital device.

Color measurement: The scientific determination of color. It uses specialized measuring machines to compare colors numerically. There is a CIE worldwide standard that helps the industry compare and match colors.

Color model: Also referred to as color space. A color model is a geometric or mathematical representation of visible colors. Well-known color models include, CMYK, RGB and HLS (hue, lightness, saturation).

Color profile: Also called device profile. This term refers to the relationship between the color models of the system devices.

Compression: The process of removing irrelevant information and reducing unneeded space from a file in order to make the file smaller.

Continuous tone: Like original photographs, drawings or paintings, continuous-tone images contain real gradients of grays or colors.

Cutting plotter: A vector-driven device (similar to CAS plotters) for cutting sign-making substrates. Recent designs include digital-print (inkjet) systems combined with cutting-plotter systems. (See also, Plotter and Printer/cutter.)

Default: An automatic decision that is made by computer software and hardware programs. The decision will automatically be carried out unless the user changes the default settings.

Densitometer: An instrument that measures transmitted or reflected light by indicating the percentage of a given area that is covered by halftone dots. This instrument is used to ensure consistency between films, proofs and printed pieces.

Desktop: In Mac and Windows, desktop simulates the top of the user's desk; the simulated environment appears on the computer monitor being used. The user's virtual desktop is organized through the tiling, cascading or overlaying of Windows.

DIC (device-independent color): The goal of DIC is to provide an independent, universal standard against which color spaces of all devices in a system can be referenced.

Digital camera: A lensed camera that uses a digital sensor for the film. Images are recorded on a disk and can be immediately output on a computer.

Digital color printing: To use multiple printheads that place specified colors of inks in predetermined places. The results are similar to photographs, but are often larger. In fact, some are billboard size.

Digital color-printing software: The computer programs that create digital color printing. The process uses mathematical algorithms to enlarge and print an image. Also, this software often includes add-on features such as color-calibration software, various pattern selections or a print-instruction screen. (See also, RIP.)


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