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    GraphicsAcademy.com  >  Glossary  >  Bitmap

       

     

    Bitmap

    A bitmap is a method of representing an image.

    Bitmaps work by dividing up an image into a grid (which may be rectangular or square). For each cell on the grid ("pixel"), the lightness, darkness or color is recorded.

    Here is an example of a bitmap image:


    If we zoom in (enlarge the bitmap) so that we can see the individual pixels, it looks like this:


    Bitmaps are widely used by computers and peripherals, both as a permanent storage format (see Bitmap File Formats), and in computer memory for displaying and manipulating images.

    One disadvantage of bitmaps is that they have little built-in intelligence. For example, if I have a bitmap picture of a house, there is no easy way to pick up or work with all the pixels that correspond to (for example) the roof: While one might think one could simply pick up all "roof-colored" pixels, what happens if the roof is shaded with multiple colors?

    Another disadvantage of working with bitmaps, is there can be some odd effects if they are scaled up (enlarged) or scaled down (shrunk):
    • If a bitmap is scaled up, it will appear to have jagged edges (see "Jaggies").

    • If a bitmap is scaled down, then as there will be less pixels after scaling, but each pixel can only contain a single color, some data (usually fine detail) will be lost. We discuss this issue in more detail, in our article on Anti-Aliased Scaling.

    Discuss Bitmap


       

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