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The act of making a 2D image with a mobile phone camera. The display of the mobile phone shows the image being made. Image created with a mobile phone.png
The act of making a 2D image with a mobile phone camera. The display of the mobile phone shows the image being made.
A scanned image of the definition of image and imagery, from Thomas Blount's Glossographia Anglicana Nova, 1707. Image in Glossographia.png
A scanned image of the definition of image and imagery, from Thomas Blount's Glossographia Anglicana Nova, 1707.
An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white area on the lower right edge of the island. Lava flows at the summit crater appear in shades of green and brown, while vegetation zones appear as areas of purple, green and yellow on the volcano's flanks TEIDE.JPG
An SAR radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is visible as the purple and white area on the lower right edge of the island. Lava flows at the summit crater appear in shades of green and brown, while vegetation zones appear as areas of purple, green and yellow on the volcano's flanks

An image is a visual representation of something. It can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or somehow otherwise feed into the visual system to convey information. An image can be an artifact, such as a photograph or other two-dimensional picture, that resembles a subject. In the context of signal processing, an image is a distributed amplitude of color(s). [1]


In optics, the term “image” may refer specifically to a 2D image.

An image does not have to use the entire visual system to be a visual representation. A popular example of this is of a greyscale image, which uses the visual system's sensitivity to brightness across all wavelengths, without taking into account different colors. A black and white visual representation of something is still an image, even though it does not make full use of the visual system's capabilities.

Images are typically still, but in some cases can be moving or animated.


Images may be two or three-dimensional, such as a photograph or screen display, or three-dimensional, such as a statue or hologram. They may be captured by optical devices – such as cameras, mirrors, lenses, telescopes, microscopes, etc. and natural objects and phenomena, such as the human eye or water.

The word 'image' is also used in the broader sense of any two-dimensional figure such as a map, a graph, a pie chart, a painting or a banner. In this wider sense, images can also be rendered manually, such as by drawing, the art of painting, carving, rendered automatically by printing or computer graphics technology, or developed by a combination of methods.

A volatile image is one that exists only for a short period of time. This may be a reflection of an object by a mirror, a projection of a camera obscura, or a scene displayed on a cathode ray tube. A fixed image, also called a hard copy, is one that has been recorded on a material object, such as paper or textile by photography or any other digital process.

A mental image exists in an individual's mind, as something one remembers or imagines. The subject of an image need not be real; it may be an abstract concept, such as a graph, function, or imaginary entity. Different scholars of psychoanalysis as well as the social sciences such as Slavoj Žižek and Jan Berger have pointed out the possibility of manipulating mental images for ideological purposes.

In culture

Images perpetuated in public education, media as well as popular culture have a profound impact on the formation of such mental images:

"What makes them so powerful is that they circumvent the faculties of the conscious mind but, instead, directly target the subconscious and affective, thus evading direct inquiry through contemplative reasoning. By doing so such axiomatic images tell us what we shall desire (liberalism, in a snapshot: the crunchy honey-flavored cereals and the freshly-pressed orange juice in the back of a suburban one-family home) and from what we shall obstain (communism, in a snapshot: lifeless crowds of men and machinery marching towards certain perdition accompanied by the tunes of Soviet Russian songs). What makes those images so powerful is that it is only of relative minor relevance for the stabilization of such images whether they actually capture and correspond with the multiple layers of reality, or not." [2] - David Leupold, sociologist.[ page needed ]

The development of synthetic acoustic technologies and the creation of sound art have led to a consideration of the possibilities of a sound-image made up of irreducible phonic substance beyond linguistic or musicological analysis.

Still or moving

Static image drawn with a pencil Pencil drawing of a girl in ecstasy.jpg
Static image drawn with a pencil

A still image is a single static image. [3] [4] This phrase is used in photography, visual media and the computer industry to emphasize that one is not talking about movies, or in very precise or pedantic technical writing such as a standard.

A moving image is typically a movie (film) or video, including digital video. It could also be an animated display such as a zoetrope.

A still frame is a still image derived from one frame of a moving one. In contrast, a film still is a photograph taken on the set of a movie or television program during production, used for promotional purposes.

Two-dimensional (2D)

A two dimensional (2D) image is a visual representation of something that is represented using only two spatial dimensions. Many 2D images are in the shape of rectangles. A common process by which 2D images have historically been displayed is called rasterization. As of 2021, 2D images are the most common types of image.

Three-dimensional (3D)

Three-dimensional (3D) images are less common than two-dimensional images. Three dimensional images feed into the visual system’s perception of depth to more accurately portray visual information. Common physical forms of 3D images include holograms.


In literature, imagery is a "mental picture" which appeals to the senses. [5] [ example needed ] It can both be figurative and literal. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Computer vision</span> Computerized information extraction from images

Computer vision is an interdisciplinary scientific field that deals with how computers can gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. From the perspective of engineering, it seeks to understand and automate tasks that the human visual system can do.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Photography</span> Creating images by recording light

Photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing, and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holography</span> Recording to reproduce a three-dimensional light field

Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront to be recorded and later re-constructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating three-dimensional images, but it also has a wide range of other applications. In principle, it is possible to make a hologram for any type of wave.

In digital signal processing, spatial anti-aliasing is a technique for minimizing the distortion artifacts (aliasing) when representing a high-resolution image at a lower resolution. Anti-aliasing is used in digital photography, computer graphics, digital audio, and many other applications.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stereoscopy</span> Technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image

Stereoscopy is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by means of stereopsis for binocular vision. The word stereoscopy derives from Greek στερεός (stereos) 'firm, solid', and σκοπέω (skopeō) 'to look, to see'. Any stereoscopic image is called a stereogram. Originally, stereogram referred to a pair of stereo images which could be viewed using a stereoscope.

Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation.

Visual effects is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a live-action shot in filmmaking and video production. The integration of live-action footage and other live-action footage or CGI elements to create realistic imagery is called VFX.

Rollout photography, a type of peripheral photography, is a process used to create a two-dimensional photographic image of a three-dimensional object. This process is the photographic equivalent of a cylindrical map projection in cartography. It is used predominantly for the projection of images of cylindrical objects such as vases or ceramic vessels. The objective of this process is to present to the observer a planar representation of the object's characteristics, most notably the illustrations or artwork extant on the outside surfaces of such vessels. This planar representation is captured using photographic imaging techniques.

Graphics are visual images or designs on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, screen, paper, or stone, to inform, illustrate, or entertain. In contemporary usage, it includes a pictorial representation of data, as in design and manufacture, in typesetting and the graphic arts, and in educational and recreational software. Images that are generated by a computer are called computer graphics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Color photography</span> Photography that reproduces colors

Color photography is photography that uses media capable of capturing and reproducing colors. By contrast, black-and-white or gray-monochrome photography records only a single channel of luminance (brightness) and uses media capable only of showing shades of gray.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ambiguous image</span> Image that exploits graphical similarities between two or more distinct images

Ambiguous images or reversible figures are visual forms that create ambiguity by exploiting graphical similarities and other properties of visual system interpretation between two or more distinct image forms. These are famous for inducing the phenomenon of multistable perception. Multistable perception is the occurrence of an image being able to provide multiple, although stable, perceptions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Composition (visual arts)</span> Placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art

The term composition means "putting together". It can be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art. Composition can apply to any work of art, from music through writing and into photography, that is arranged using conscious thought.

Holonomic brain theory, also known as The Holographic Brain, is a branch of neuroscience investigating the idea that human consciousness is formed by quantum effects in or between brain cells. This is opposed by traditional neuroscience, which investigates the brain's behavior by looking at patterns of neurons and the surrounding chemistry, and which assumes that any quantum effects will not be significant at this scale. The entire field of quantum consciousness is often criticized as pseudoscience.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Digital photography</span> Photography with a digital camera

Digital photography uses cameras containing arrays of electronic photodetectors interfaced to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to produce images focused by a lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The digitized image is stored as a computer file ready for further digital processing, viewing, electronic publishing, or digital printing.

The following are common definitions related to the machine vision field.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">3D computer graphics</span> Graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data

3D computer graphics, or “3D graphics,” sometimes called CGI, 3D-CGI or three-dimensional computer graphics are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering digital images, usually 2D images but sometimes 3D images. The resulting images may be stored for viewing later or displayed in real time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Graphic communication</span> Communication using graphic elements

Graphic communication as the name suggests is communication using graphic elements. These elements include symbols such as glyphs and icons, images such as drawings and photographs, and can include the passive contributions of substrate, colour and surroundings. It is the process of creating, producing, and distributing material incorporating words and images to convey data, concepts, and emotions.

A holographic display is a type of 3D display that utilizes light diffraction to display a three-dimensional image to the viewer. Holographic displays are distinguished from other forms of 3D displays in that they do not require the viewer to wear any special glasses or use external equipment to be able to see the image, and do not cause the vergence-accommodation conflict.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Computer graphics</span> Graphics created using computers

Computer graphics deals with generating images with the aid of computers. Today, computer graphics is a core technology in digital photography, film, video games, cell phone and computer displays, and many specialized applications. A great deal of specialized hardware and software has been developed, with the displays of most devices being driven by computer graphics hardware. It is a vast and recently developed area of computer science. The phrase was coined in 1960 by computer graphics researchers Verne Hudson and William Fetter of Boeing. It is often abbreviated as CG, or typically in the context of film as computer generated imagery (CGI). The non-artistic aspects of computer graphics are the subject of computer science research.

Cultural property imaging is a necessary part of long term preservation of cultural heritage. While the physical conditions of objects will change over time, imaging serves as a way to document and represent heritage in a moment in time of the life of the item. Different methods of imaging produce results that are applicable in various circumstances. Not every method is appropriate for every object, and not every object needs to be imaged by multiple methods. In addition to preservation and conservation related concerns, imaging can also serve to enhance research and study of cultural heritage.


  1. Chakravorty, Pragnan (September 2018). "What is a Signal? [Lecture Notes]". IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. 35 (5): 175–77. Bibcode:2018ISPM...35e.175C. doi:10.1109/MSP.2018.2832195. S2CID   52164353.
  2. Leupold, David (2020-04-08). "Image and ideology". Medium. Retrieved 2020-09-28.
  3. Karen Woodcock (2011-06-26). "Static Image".{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. "National archives".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 1 2 Chris Baldick (2008). The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford University Press. pp. 165–. ISBN   978-0-19-920827-2.