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Terms Used In Digital Art That Every Beginner Should Know

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Some artists use materials like paints and brushes to create art. Today, many others also use modern means of exploring creativity, like video technology, television, and computers. This type of art is called digital art.

Digital art is work made with digital technology or presented on digital technology. This includes images done completely on computer or hand-drawn images scanned into a computer and finished using a software program like Adobe Illustrator. Digital art can also involve animation and 3D virtual sculpture renderings as well as projects that combine several technologies. Some digital art involves manipulation of video images.

The term ‘digital art’ was first used in the 1980s in connection to an early computer painting program. (This was long before they were called apps!) It’s a method of art-making that lends itself to a multimedia format because it can potentially be viewed in many ways, including on TV and the Internet, on computers, and on multiple social media platforms. In short, digital art is a sort of merger between art and technology. It allows many new ways to make art.

Digital Art Terms

Upon embarking on your journey into digital art, have you come across new terms that you’ve never heard before? A new drawing medium means new terms related to it. This article introduces some of these terms to improve your understanding while reading tutorials.

Abstract: A term given to forms created by the artist that usually don’t resemble the original object at all. Usually forms are simplified or rearranged to suit the needs of artistic expression. 

Terms Used in Digital Art

Additive Color: Additive color or additive mixing is a property of a color model that predicts the appearance of colors made by coincident component lights, i.e. the perceived color can be predicted by summing the numeric representations of the component colors.

Modern formulations of Grassmann’s laws describe the additivity in the color perception of light mixtures in terms of algebraic equations. Additive color predicts perception and not any sort of change in the photons of light themselves. These predictions are only applicable in the limited scope of color matching experiments where viewers match small patches of uniform color isolated against a grey or black background.

Analogous Colors: Analogous colours are sets of three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Usually they match really really well with each other, creating very pleasing, harmonious palettes. You can often find examples of analogous color sets in nature.

Animation: Animation is used to create movement with digital imagery. Animators manipulate figures so they would appear as moving images.

Traditionally animation was created by drawing or painting images on transparent paper and then photographed and exhibited on film. Nowadays the technological advances allow for amazing computer-generated imagery (CGI). Both 3D and 2D computer animation is widely used in the creative fields, depending on the project and it’s goal.

Appropriation Art: Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literary, visual, musical and performing arts). In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of human-made visual culture. 

Terms Used in Digital Art

Arbitrary Color: Color in an artwork, that is completely different from how the same thing would be in real life (neon pink people, black oak trees, etc)

Asymmetrical Composition: Asymmetrical balance results from unequal visual weight on each side of the composition. One side of the composition might contain a dominant element, which could be balanced by a couple or more lesser focal points on the other side. One visually heavy element on one side might be balanced by a handful of lighter elements on the other.

Terms Used in Digital Art

Asymmetrical balance is more dynamic and interesting. It evokes feelings of modernism, movement, energy and vitality. Asymmetrical balance offers more visual variety, although it can be more difficult to achieve because the relationships between elements are more complex.

Background: In an image, the area that appears furthest away from the viewer. Everything else is on top. In digital art usually referencing the background layers,(layers that are under the rest) as the rest of the layers contain other objects in the painting that are in front of the background.

Balanced Composition: A balanced composition is a compositional choice in art in which the frame feels balanced. Different compositional aspects carry “weight,” for example brightness, color, and placement of the main subject.

To create a balanced composition these things must be taken into consideration and distributed around the frame for a balanced feel. As with anything in art, a composition does not have to be balanced, but it’s a good idea to understand what this means so you can make a conscious decision whether to use a balanced or an unbalanced composition.

Blend Modes (Mixing Modes): In digital art you can draw on separate layers—you can draw the sketch on one layer, ink the line art on another one, and then remove the sketch without affecting the line art.

Although you can’t do something like this in traditional art, traditional painting has layers as well—they just merge by default. A new layer may affect the look of the previous layer in a couple of different ways:

  • It may cover it completely (oil paint)
  • It may cover it slightly, brightening or darkening it (watercolors)
  • It may change the hue of it (alcohol-based markers)
  • It may change the saturation of it and add a sheen (varnish)

Bleed (Printing): In printing, bleed is printing that goes beyond the edge of where the sheet will be trimmed. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on the side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for natural movement of the paper during guillotining, and design inconsistencies.

Artwork and background colors often extend into the bleed area. After trimming, the bleed ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document. 

Chiaroscuro: Method of using strong light and dark contrast, affecting all of the composition. Also a term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrast to achieve a sense of volume when modelling.

Terms Used in Digital Art

Closed Composition: A closed composition photograph is the sort of image where all the elements are arranged neatly inside the frame. The elements of an image that uses closed composition do not draw the viewer’s eye away or make it jump from one object to another.

In other words, it is the sort of composition where the main subject or object is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the frame and instantly draws your attention. Often, though not always, the main subject or object is located near the center of the image and not at the corners/borders.

CMYK: CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) is the color space for printed materials.

Terms Used in Digital Art

A printing machine creates images by combining CMYK colors to varying degrees with physical ink. This is known as subtractive mixing. All colors start as blank white, and each layer of ink reduces the initial brightness to create the preferred color. When all colors are mixed together, they create pure black.

Color Emotion (Color Psychology): Whether the individual person realises it or not – colours subconsciously evoke associations and emotions in us. Some of it is subjective, but there are some overarching elements that can be seen almost as a fact. Also what needs to be kept in mind is that different cultures can perceive the emotion and the language of colours differently.

Overall, especially when it comes to art pieces and relaying a mood and/or emotion in the piece, these are the following emotions that colours relay:

  • Red tones: passion, aggression, importance, domination, energy
  • Orange tones: playfulness, enthusiasm, energy, youthfulness, invitation, vitality
  • Yellow tones: happiness, friendliness, energy, spontaneity
  • Blue tones: serenity, balance, trustworthiness, invitation, spirituality, openness, calmness, professionalism
  • Green tones: nature, stability, freshness, prosperity, health, calm, optimism
  • Purple tones: luxury, mystery, creativity, romance, nobility, wealth
  • Pink tones: youthfulness, charm, naivety, playfulness, innocence, femininity, romance
  • Brown tones: groundedness, sturdiness, age, stability, support, practicality, experience
  • Gray tones: formalness, seriousness, professionalism, neutrality, gloominess, lack of emotion, pessimism
  • Black: power, boldness, sofisticatedness, edginess (need a better word?), class, seriousness
  • White: cleanliness, minimalism, purity, calmness, health, simplicity, virginity

Keep in mind that these are mostly overall suggestions and talks about these colours in their more neutral range of value and intensity. Any neon colour will always convey energy, even if it’s one of the colours that would express calm. Any dark tones will always be more filled with mistique or grim feeling. Not to mention when you’re using certain colours together to try to convey more complicated moods and designs. Context matters a lot.

Color Wheel: Radial diagram where primary, secondary, and tertiary colors are displayed. It is arranged specifically to show the relationships between all the displayed colors – red , yellow and blue, which are considered primaries in this case, are put in three equally spaced points, and the rest of the colors are determined accordingly – mixtures of the primary colors in between them, mixtures between the primaries and secondaries between those, etc.

Terms Used in Digital Art

Complementary Colors: Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (like orange and blue). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation.

Composition: Organization or arrangement of the visual elements in an attempt to develop a unity in the total work of art. There are different classic composition types, like rule of thirds, centre composition, symmetrical composition, frame within a frame, rule of odds, etc.

Contour Lines: A contour line defines the outline of a form, as well as interior structure, without the use of shading. A fundamental basis of drawing, contour lines are usually the first technique children adopt to draw people, houses, and trees.

A simple contour line can create a form with minimal embellishment while allowing for a range of line quality. A reliance on contour lines shaped the style of Ancient Greek red figure vases, while figure studies from the Renaissance, such as those of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci, reveal clearly defined lines and naturalistic depictions of the human figure. 

Terms Used in Digital Art

Convergence: Communication across the world has evolved with the advent of technology and media. There are now several ways to exhibit your work, voice your opinions on issues and spread knowledge and information globally. Related to these, is a phenomenon called Media Convergence. This has emerged due to the immense digitalization and the widespread use of the internet.

Industries and organizations across the world have started transforming their methods and have merged the many types of media for better functioning and growth. In this blog, we will go through the various characteristics of media convergence, examples, advantages, and more.

Crop Marks: Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your publication’s sheet or sheets of paper to show the printer where to trim the paper. They are used by commercial printers for creating bleeds where an image or color on the page needs to extend all the way to the edge of the paper.

Printers generally can’t actually print to the very edge of the paper, so instead they print on a larger sheet of paper and then trim it down to the correct size, and crop marks are used to define where to trim. So, to print crop marks, you must print on a paper size that is larger than the page size you have set for your publication.

Curvilinear: Curvilinear style, in visual arts, two-dimensional surface ornamentation that dominates the art of the Gulf of Papua region in southeastern Papua New Guinea. The style is characterized by a curving line used to form abstract patterns, such as spirals, circles, swirls, and S-shapes, as well as to define human facial features.

The straight line and the right angle are practically nonexistent in both the abstract and the anthropomorphic types of ornamentation. In representations of human faces—which display the typical features of the Neolithic Melanid tradition, the oldest cultural strain in Oceania—the forehead, nose region, and perimeter of the face are described by an unbroken, curving line that outlines the nose, swings up over the eyes, and descends to the chin; the eyes are usually circular, and the mouth is set very near the bottom of the face.

Diptych: A diptych is a painting or relief carving made of two parts, which are usually joined by hinges. They are invariably small in size and, if an altarpiece, were used for private devotion. Diptychs are hinged so that they can be closed like a book to protect the interior paintings.

DPI – Dots Per Inch: The number of pixels per inch (ppi), also called dots per inch (dpi), describes the resolution of the image. … In other words, for a painting of any size, if you have a digital image that’s 4×5 inches at 300 dpi, then the largest that image can be printed is 4×5 inches.

Expressive Line: Quality of line that appears to relate to emotions. Curvilinear, angular, thinness or thickness, lightness or darkness, direction, formality, implied lines are related to emotions.

Filters: Art filters are a fun photography tool, but not a replacement for the genuine mediums or artists they try to emulate. While digital art and filtered photos might both be made with a computer, they require completely different levels of effort and are not the same thing. Art filter photos posted to social media shouldn’t be claimed as handmade drawings or paintings.

Focal Point: Focal points are also elements or areas of dominance, just not to the same degree as your one dominant element, which could be defined as your most dominant focal point. Focal points are areas of interest, emphasis or difference within a composition that capture and hold the viewer’s attention.

Freehand: Drawn by hand without the use of mechanical devices like straight edges, compass, protractor, computer equipment, etc. Also without tracing. Opposite of mechanical drawing.

Giclée Print: Giclée is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine-art printing, usually archival, printed by inkjet. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high quality printing, but is an unregulated word with no associated warranty of quality.

Golden Mean / Golden Section: The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, is a special number (equal to about 1.618) that appears many times in geometry, art, and architecture. … Some artists and architects believe that the golden ratio makes the most beautiful shapes.

Gray Scale: Painting in grayscale, or painting in “black and white”, means that you’re using a limited range of gray values as opposed to a full spectrum of color.

Hatching: Hatching, also called cross-hatching, technique used by draftsmen, engravers, and other artists who use mediums that do not allow blending (e.g., pen and ink) to indicate shading, modeling, and light and shade. It consists of filling in the appropriate areas with a mass of parallel lines, of varying length, the intensity of effect being achieved by the number of lines used and their proximity to one another.

Terms Used in Digital Art

When these lines are crossed by others, the process is known as cross-hatching. Contrasting threads produce this effect in textiles.

  • Parallel Hatching – the simplest hatching technique that uses only parallel lines.
  • Contour Hatching – In contour hatching lines follow the contour of the subject, instead of being only parallel. Using this allows the artist to enhance the sense of volume.
  • Cross Hatching – hatching using criss cross lines, used to effectively convey very dark values.
  • Basket Hatching – small sets of parallel lines that stand adjacent to another set of parallel lines, but facing in almost perpendicular direction, used to give more graphic feel.

Highlight: The highlights are the areas on an object where light is hitting the object. Highlights are generally created by using the tint of the color. The opposite of highlights are shadows.

Hue: Hues are the types of color regardless of Brightness and Saturation. A red apple and a red cherry have the same hue, even if they have different colors. There are three primary hues that our eyes recognize: red, green, and blue.

Illustration: Digital illustration is essentially the use of digital tools, such as a mouse or tablet, in combination with drawing software, such as Corel Painter, to create an illustration. With the universal appeal of digital illustration, an artist can now look at a blank canvas in a whole new light.

Implied Line: Implied line refers to the path that the viewer ‘s eye takes as it follows shapes, colors, and forms along any given path. Straight or classic lines provide stability and structure to a composition and can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal on a work’s surface.

Implied Shape: A compositional device where figures or objects are arranged in invisible shapes: triangle, pyramid, s-curve, c-curve.

Interweave: How an artist manipulates the elements and principles into a harmonious composition where layers and lines seem to interlace or intertwine.

Landscape: Type of art piece that displays a view of scenery in nature. Seascapes or city-scales are some of the examples of landscapes.

Lasso Tool: One of the tools in most digital painting software. Most common types of lasso tool are Lasso, Polygonal Lasso and Magnetic Lasso. Lasso tool essentially allows you to mark a particular bit of your layer as a selection, isolating it from the rest of the painting, so you can do the adjustments planned only in that part of the piece.

Layer: Digital work areas that are stacked on one another. They can be individually manipulated through raster or vector functions in Photoshop. One can hide or move the layers to allow other layers to be revealed.

There are different layer types that each serve a specific function: 

  • Main layers / layer masks Layer mask lets you edit / hide part of the layer.
  • Image layers Very straightforward – when importing
  • Adjustment layers A layer that allows you to apply changes on the original layer, without actually changing it.
  • Fill layers Lets you fill a layer with a solid color / gradient, etc.
  • Type layers Very straightforward – just layers where you can use typing tool to use different pre-installed fonts to add text to your image.

Layout: The arrangements of elements of art using the principles of design. Organizing or setting out images and/or text on a page. It is a plan.

Line Character / Line Quality: Line quality is one of the most important aspects of manga and comic storytelling, but often forgotten about. Making your manga read clearly is crucial. It can mean having someone continue reading or quickly walking away. Whoever is reading your manga, they should be able to grasp what’s going on instantly, especially since the majority of the readers will look at the panel for just a few seconds.

Linear Perspective: Linear perspective relies on the use of lines to render objects leading to the illusion of space and form in a flat work of art. It is a structured approach to drawing. One point perspective gets its name from the fact that it utilizes a single vanishing point.

Local Color: In painting, local color is the natural color of an object unmodified by adding unrealistic light and shadow or any other distortion. The color that the eye observes is altered by lighting conditions such as time of day or the surrounding environment. Local color is best seen on a matte surface, due to it not being reflected, and therefore distorted.

In fine art realism and scientific descriptions of color perception, local color is the color the brain perceives an object to be. This may be radically different from the actual wavelength of light received by the pupil. For example, an apple is painted to appear red in comparison to the colors around it, but the actual pigment mixture used may be a pale green. This effect, known as color constancy, can also be observed under colored lighting in reality, and in photographs with strong color tints such as The Dress.

In contemporary sculpture local color is the original color of raw material that remains unpainted in the completed work.

Lossless Compression: Lossless compression is a class of data compression algorithms that allows the original data to be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data. By contrast, lossy compression permits reconstruction only of an approximation of the original data, though usually with greatly improved compression rates (and therefore reduced media sizes).

By operation of the pigeonhole principle, no lossless compression algorithm can efficiently compress all possible data. For this reason, many different algorithms exist that are designed either with a specific type of input data in mind or with specific assumptions about what kinds of redundancy the uncompressed data are likely to contain. Therefore, compression ratios tend to be stronger on human- and machine-readable documents and code in comparison to entropic binary data (random bytes).

Lossless data compression is used in many applications. For example, it is used in the ZIP file format and in the GNU tool gzip. It is also often used as a component within lossy data compression technologies (e.g. lossless mid/side joint stereo preprocessing by MP3 encoders and other lossy audio encoders).

Lossless compression is used in cases where it is important that the original and the decompressed data be identical, or where deviations from the original data would be unfavourable. Typical examples are executable programs, text documents, and source code.

Some image file formats, like PNG or GIF, use only lossless compression, while others like TIFF and MNG may use either lossless or lossy methods. Lossless audio formats are most often used for archiving or production purposes, while smaller lossy audio files are typically used on portable players and in other cases where storage space is limited or exact replication of the audio is unnecessary.

Lossy Compression: Lossy compression techniques involve some loss of information, and data that have been compressed using lossy techniques generally cannot be recovered or reconstructed exactly. In return for accepting this distortion in the reconstruction, we can generally obtain much higher compression ratios than is possible with lossless compression.

In many applications, this lack of exact reconstruction is not a problem. For example, when storing or transmitting speech, the exact value of each sample of speech is not necessary. Depending on the quality required of the reconstructed speech, varying amounts of loss of information about the value of each sample can be tolerated.

If the quality of the reconstructed speech is to be similar to that heard on the telephone, a significant loss of information can be tolerated. However, if the reconstructed speech needs to be of the quality heard on a compact disc, the amount of information loss that can be tolerated is much lower.

Manga: Japanese comics / graphic novels that have a distinct style. In most cases they are black and white for various reasons, one of them being that the style has developed in a way that color can actually distract from the linework impact. While manga originates in Japan, lately the term has been blurred, as there’s many mangakas (artists creating manga) that are not Japanese but are widely accepted.

Marquee: Tool in most digital software that allows the artist to define and select a rectangular, elliptical,or circular area to be copied, inserted, moved, or deleted within a digital work area.

Mask (Masking): A mask is an image editing software feature that selects, hides, and prevents editing of a specific area. It is a useful feature that can significantly improve your work efficiency.

Matte Painting: Painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that is not present at the filming location. Usually this technique uses cutouts of actual imagery and then the artist manipulates them and paints over them till the finished landscape looks realistic.

Monochromatic: Monochrome means one color, so in relation to art, a monochrome artwork is one that includes only one color.

However, it’s not as simple as “one color.” Designers will understand just how many varieties there are of a single color. Monochrome colors are all the varieties of a single hue – the tints, shades, and tones. A monochromatic color scheme will range between lighter and darker versions of the base color or hue. So before continuing, let’s catch up on some color theory. 

Motif: A repetition figure or design in decorative pattern, used as a central focus or thematic variations in a work of art.

Naturalism: The approach to art in which the forms used by the artist are essentially descriptive of things that the artist sees.

Negative Space: In 2D or 3D work of art, a void or empty space.

One Point Perspective: Point-of-view in a work of art where all lines move from the foreground to a single vanishing point on the horizon line in what appears to be the distance in the picture plane.

Open Composition: In two dimensional art, open compositions appear to have shapes running off the edges and sides of the picture plane. … The art elements, such as line (either actual or implied), shape, value, texture, and color, create direction and movement through repetition or selective placement.

Outline: A single line that defines the perimeter of a flat, 2D shape.

Overlapping: Stacking or placing things on top of each other. In art, overlapping different subjects of the painting gives it a more natural and realistic feeling.

Palette: Traditionally – a piece of flat material on which paints and their colors may be mixed to achieve color for painting. In digital art, usually referring to the artist’s choice of the colors in the art piece. Most digital painting software have tools that let you save a set of colours, a.k.a. a palette, imitating the traditional approach.

Principle of Design: Repeated colors, shapes, lines, or motifs in a design. 10 classes of patterns include both natural and human made: spirals, mosaics, lattices, symmetry, waves, fractals,meanders, polyhedral, branching, and spheres.

Primary Colors: The sets of colors that, when mixed, create a new range of colours, and that cannot be created by mixing any other colour. There’s two sets of primary colours, depending on the colour mixing type. In subtractive colour mixing the primary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. In additive colour mixing the primary colours are Red, Green and Blue. 

Perspective: A system of lines, horizon line, and vanishing point to achieve a 3D look on a flat surface.

Perspective tool is a digital painting software tool that allows you to set up the perspective of your painting very quickly, without you needing to create a perspective grid on your own.

Pixel: A pixel is the smallest element of a raster image. It is these pixels that make up digital images; the number of them defines the visual quality both on screen and in print. Pixels are measured as dots per inch (dpi) or as pixels per inch (ppi).

Polyptych: A polyptych Greek: poly- “many” and ptychē “fold”) is a painting (usually panel painting) which is divided into sections, or panels. Specifically, a “diptych” is a two-part work of art; a “triptych” is a three-part work; a tetraptych or quadriptych has four parts, and so on.

Historically, polyptychs typically displayed one “central” or “main” panel that was usually the largest of the attachments; the other panels are called “side” panels, or “wings”. Sometimes, as evident in the Ghent and Isenheim works (see below), the hinged panels can be varied in arrangement to show different “views” or “openings” in the piece. The upper panels often depict static scenes, while the lower register, the predella, often depict small narrative scenes.

Positive Space: Positive space refers to the main focus of a picture, while negative space refers to the background. When used creatively and intelligently, positive and negative space together can tell a story using visual composition alone.

PPI – Pixels Per Inch: PPI (pixels per inch) is how many pixels are in 1 inch when viewed on a screen, so on a monitor of 150PPI, a canvas that’s 300 pixels tall and 300 wide will appear to be 2 inches tall. DPI (dots per inch) is similar, but it’s how many ‘pixels’ are in 1 inch when printed.

Rasterize: Rasterization (or rasterization) is the task of taking an image described in a vector graphics format (shapes) and converting it into a raster image (a series of pixels, dots or lines, which, when displayed together, create the image which was represented via shapes). 

Reference: An object or image of an object that the artist uses to be able to more successfully replicate the said object in their artwork.

Rendering: Rendering or image synthesis is the process of generating a photorealistic or non-photorealistic image from a 2D or 3D model by means of a computer program. The resulting image is referred to as the render. Multiple models can be defined in a scene file containing objects in a strictly defined language or data structure.

The scene file contains geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information describing the virtual scene. The data contained in the scene file is then passed to a rendering program to be processed and output to a digital image or raster graphics image file. The term “rendering” is analogous to the concept of an artist’s impression of a scene. The term “rendering” is also used to describe the process of calculating effects in a video editing program to produce the final video output.

Resize: Reference to scaling the dimensions of a digital image for reproduction, projection, or sending via email.

Resolution: The visual quality of a digital image expressed in ppi (pixels per inch) on screen or dpi (dots per inch) in printing. PPI and DPI however are often used interchangeably, although they technically are different.

RGB: The RGB color model is an additive color model in which the red, green, and blue primary colors of light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

Rhythm: When we think of rhythm, we think of pattern and repetition. … The slight differences in a pattern create rhythm and the repetition of elements of art create rhythm. The rhythm of a piece of art can be controlled by everything from color and value to line and shape. 

Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds dictates that if you divide any composition into thirds, vertically and horizontally, and then place the key elements of your image along these lines or at the junctions of them, the arrangement achieved will be more interesting, pleasing and dynamic.

Saturation: Saturation describes the intensity of the color – the amount / proportion of the hue in the color. A vivid color is of high intensity, a dull color – of low intensity. You reduce saturation of the color by adding grey to it.

Scale: Principle of art or design having to do with size. The actual size of something is full-scale.

Secondary Color: Color made by mixing together 2 primary colors. In the additive color mixing model where red, yellow and blue are the primary colors, the secondary colours are violet, yellow and green. 

Sfumato: Sfumato, (from Italian sfumare, “to tone down” or “to evaporate like smoke”), in painting or drawing, the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colours and tones creating light smoky / cloudy effect, sometimes used to make things appear out of focus.

Shade (Color): In color theory, a variety of a color is achieved by mixing the colour of your choice and black.

Shade (Volume): Value gradation on a 2D shape that gives the effect of a 3D volume on a 2D surface.

Stipping: Drawn method of shading (similar to hatching) that uses dots rather than lines.

Storyboard: A storyboard is a sequence of hand-drawn sketches or visual images that are supported by script notes or dialogue and placed in a sequence, for the viewer to visualise an animation before production.

Stroke: A mark an artist makes with a drawing tool, brush, knife, stylus, etc.

Style: An artist’s manner and character of their visual expression. While there are very known art styles like impressionism, surrealism, rococo etc. This can also mean the art style of the individual artist and the specific nuances and character in their work, that makes their work very representative of itself and lets everyone know who’s the artist upon seeing the piece.

Stylus: It’s a set of a pen and a ruler called Slide. The stylus has a Pixel point tip with pressure sensitivity that gives you accurate drawing. The Slide helps you to draw straight lines. To get start with this stylus, all you need is a compatible device, a compatible app and a mobile creative cloud.

Subtractive Color: In the subtractive color model, pigment is used to produce color using reflected light. This color model is used in printing, silk-screening, painting and other mediums that add pigment to a substrate. The subtractive colors are cyan, yellow, magenta and black, also known as CMYK.

Symmetrical Composition: Symmetrical balance is the most visually stable, and characterized by an exact—or nearly exact—compositional design on either (or both) sides of the horizontal or vertical axis of the picture plane. Symmetrical compositions are usually dominated by a central anchoring element. 

Temporal: Art in real time, that has a temporary lifespan (the lifespan of the medium it’s made in).

Tenebrism: Tenebrism, from Italian tenebroso (“dark, gloomy, mysterious”), also occasionally called dramatic illumination, is a style of painting using especially pronounced chiaroscuro, where there are violent contrasts of light and dark, and where darkness becomes a dominating feature of the image.

Tertiary Colors: Also called intermediate colour, they stand between the primary and the secondary colours in the colour circle – they are mixes of the adjacent primary and secondary colours, and just like primary and secondary colours, they differ in each of the colour models. Taking additive color model as an example , because it’s used in traditional painting – the primary colours being red, blue and yellow; secondary colours being violet, green and orange – an example of a tertiary colour would be red-orange (vermillion) or yellow-orange (amber).

Texture: An element of art referring to surface quality or the feel of an object (smooth, rough, soft, etc.) In painting, conveying different textures on a 2D surface lets the painting be more realistic, as the distinction between materials isn’t left only to context, etc.

Three-Dimensional: Three-dimensional space is a geometric setting in which three values are required to determine the position of an element. This is the informal meaning of the term dimension. In mathematics, a tuple of n numbers can be understood as the Cartesian coordinates of a location (in a n-dimensional Euclidean space).

Three Point Perspective: As you may imagine, a three-point perspective has three vanishing points. By adding a third vanishing point above (or below) the vanishing point of the two-point perspective method, you can make the camera look up or look down at an object.

Tint: In color theory, a variety of a colour is achieved by mixing the colour of your choice and white.

Tone: In art, the term “tone” describes the quality of color. It has to do with whether a color is perceived as warm or cold, bright or dull, light or dark, and pure or “dirty.” The tone of a piece of art can have a variety of effects, from setting the mood to adding emphasis.

Tonal Correction: Tonal correction is a tool in most digital painting software that allows you to edit brightness, hue, saturation, luminosity, and gradient of your selection / layer, etc.

Tracing: Copying already existing artwork / image focusing on the lines and contours. Tracing or transferring images has been a technique used by artists throughout the years to save time and ensure accuracy in representational art. It is used by more artists than you may realize.

Translucency: A property of an object – how much light can travel through the object (it’s material). Translucent objects let through only a limited amount of light, therefore making it different from transparent. You describe the material as translucent, when you can still see the material itself.

Transparency: Transparency in 2D design is simply the quality of being able to see through (or partially see through) one or more layers in an artwork. Like texture, transparency can be real or it can be implied or suggested. Opacity is a similar term but refers to the inability to see through a layer. 

Triadic Color Scheme: Triadic color scheme uses three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Complementary color scheme uses colors opposite of each other on the color wheel.

Triptych: Triptych art is made up of three panels that are intended to be displayed together. A triptych is from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχον meaning “threefold”. … Today triptych art is still defined as a work of art, usually panel paintings, digital art or photography divided into three sections.

Trompe l’oeil: Literally meaning ‘trick of the eye’, Trompe l’oeil is the technique of using realistic imagery to create an optical illusion of depth. It’s been around for centuries, with artists working hard to perfect the skill and food their audiences. Businesses have got in on the act too, with many using the style to create eye-catching billboards and video campaigns.

We’ve found the world’s greatest examples of trompe l’oeil, which vary wildly in style as they are found around the whole world. Prepare your eyes, and prepare to be amazed. 

If you’d like to see some examples of great advertising that won’t have your eyes and brain tied up in knots, check out our pick of the best billboard advertising.

Two-Dimensional: Two-dimensional things are flat — they can be measured in length and width, but they have no depth. Geometrical shapes like squares, circles, and polygons are all two-dimensional. A sheet of paper may seem to be two-dimensional, but because it does have a measurable (if tiny) depth, it’s actually three-dimensional.

Two-Point Perspective: Two-point perspective occurs when you can see two vanishing points from your point of view. Two-point perspective drawings are often used in architectural drawings and interior designs; they can be used for drawings of both interiors and exteriors. Some famous artists who used a two-point perspective were Jan Vermeer and William Hogarth. Hogarth’s The Marriage Contract shows a two-point perspective while displaying a lively scene of people planning their children’s futures.

Unsharp Mask: The unsharp mask dialog box contains three sliders that allow you to control the sharpening effect within the image: Amount, Radius, and Threshold. The filter actually enhances edge contrast to increase perceived sharpness, creating halos along contrast edges.

Vanishing Point: In linear perspective, the point on the horizon line where lines appear to converge. Objects are drawn smaller as they become further away until they disappear at a certain “vanishing point.” Linear perspective has vanishing points, and everything else is based on the lines leading to those vanishing points.

Vanitas: The vanitas was a popular theme throughout the 1500-1600s in Western art as an exploration of death and decay often featuring depictions of skulls, flowers dropping petals, snuffed-out candles and hour-glasses, to indicate the sands of time draining away. 

Vector: Vector artwork is a term that describes any art made with vector illustration software like Adobe Illustrator. Vector artwork is built from vector graphics, which are images created with mathematical formulas. In comparison, raster art (also referred to as bitmaps or raster images) is created with colored pixels.

Vector Layer: In a digital painting software – a layer that uses vectors instead of pixels. Vector layers are usually very great for line art, as changing the resolution of the vector layer will not be detrimental to the quality of the image, because the vectors are going to adjust with the help of mathematical equations.

Warm Color: Warm colors are usually described by reds, oranges and yellows. Often reminds you of fire, warmth, sunlight, and heat. Warm colors (just like dark) usually make you feel like they are closer to you, therefore they convey the feeling of coziness, an enveloping feeling.

Warp: The Warp command lets you drag control points to manipulate the shape of images, shapes, or paths, and so on. You can also warp using a shape in the Warp pop‑up menu in the options bar.

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