Thumbnails (/ˈθʌmneɪl/) are reduced-size versions of pictures or videos, used to help in recognizing and organizing them, serving the same role for images as a normal text index does for words. In the age of digital images, visual search engines and image-organizing programs normally use thumbnails, as do most modern operating systems or desktop environments, such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, KDE (Linux) and GNOME (Linux). On web pages, they also avoid the need to download larger files unnecessarily.
Thumbnails are ideally implemented on web pages as separate, smaller copies of the original image, in part because one purpose of a thumbnail image on a web page is to reduce bandwidth and download time.
Some web designers produce thumbnails with HTML or client-side scripting that makes the user's browser shrink the picture, rather than use a smaller copy of the image. This results in no saved bandwidth, and the visual quality of browser resizing is usually less than ideal.
Displaying a significant part of the picture instead of the full frame can allow the use of a smaller thumbnail while maintaining recognizability. For example, when thumbnailing a full-body portrait of a person, it may be better to show the face slightly reduced than an indistinct figure. However, this may mislead the viewer about what the image contains, so is more suited to artistic presentations than searching or catalogue browsing.
Thumbnail makes for smaller, more easily viewable pages and also allows viewers to have control over exactly what they want to see.
In 2002, the court in the US case Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation ruled that it was fair use for Internet search engines to use thumbnail images to help web users find what they seek.
The word "thumbnail" is a reference to the human thumbnail and alludes to the small size of an image or picture, comparable to the size of the human thumbnail.While the earliest use of the word in this sense dates back to the 17th century, the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms is reported to have documented that the expression first appears in the mid-19th century to refer to 'a drawing the size of the thumbnail'. The word was then used figuratively, in both noun and adjective form, to refer to anything small or concise, such as a biographical essay. The use of the word "thumbnail" in the specific context of computer images as 'a small graphical representation, as of a larger graphic, a page layout, etc.' appears to have been first used in the 1980s.
The term vignette is sometimes used to describe an image that is smaller than the original, larger than a thumbnail, but no more than 250 pixels in the long dimension.
Art directors, storyboard artists and graphic designers, as well as other kinds of visual artists, use the term "thumbnail sketch" to describe a small drawing on paper (usually part of a group) used to explore multiple ideas quickly. Thumbnail sketches are similar to doodles, but may include as much detail as a small sketch. A "comprehensive" thumbnail sketch of a printed project, more or less to final size, is often referred to as a "comp", and can be highly detailed, with production information included.The purpose of thumnails was to visualize the ideas in a miniature form, similar to a illustration shorthand. Often, the old school animators used this process to quickly jot down the key "poses" that were part of an animation sequence. These compact drawing were then pinned up above the animation table, within easy view. As the animator worked through creating the final drawings of each pose, the thumbnails helped to keep the original ideation relevant.
The Graphics Interchange Format is a bitmap image format that was developed by a team at the online services provider CompuServe led by American computer scientist Steve Wilhite on 15 June 1987. It has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability between applications and operating systems.
In digital imaging, a pixel, pel, or picture element is a physical point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in an all points addressable display device; so it is the smallest controllable element of a picture represented on the screen.
Portable Network Graphics is a raster-graphics file format that supports lossless data compression. PNG was developed as an improved, non-patented replacement for Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).
Digitization is the process of converting information into a digital format. The result is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or signal by generating a series of numbers that describe a discrete set of points or samples. The result is called digital representation or, more specifically, a digital image, for the object, and digital form, for the signal. In modern practice, the digitized data is in the form of binary numbers, which facilitate processing by digital computers and other operations, but, strictly speaking, digitizing simply means the conversion of analog source material into a numerical format; the decimal or any other number system that can be used instead.
A digital image is an image composed of picture elements, also known as pixels, each with finite, discrete quantities of numeric representation for its intensity or gray level that is an output from its two-dimensional functions fed as input by its spatial coordinates denoted with x, y on the x-axis and y-axis, respectively. Depending on whether the image resolution is fixed, it may be of vector or raster type.
A penciller is a collaboration artist who works in creation of comic books, graphic novels, and similar visual art forms, with focus on primary pencil illustrations, hence the term "penciller".
The display resolution or display modes of a digital television, computer monitor or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. It can be an ambiguous term especially as the displayed resolution is controlled by different factors in cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, flat-panel displays and projection displays using fixed picture-element (pixel) arrays.
DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, indexed color images, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy compression for bitonal (monochrome) images. This allows high-quality, readable images to be stored in a minimum of space, so that they can be made available on the web.
IrfanView is an image viewer, editor, organiser and converter program for Microsoft Windows. It can also play video and audio files, and has some image creation and painting capabilities. IrfanView is free for non-commercial use; commercial use requires paid registration. It is noted for its small size, speed, ease of use, and ability to handle a wide variety of graphic file formats. It was first released in 1996.
A spacer GIF is a small, transparent GIF image that is used in web design and HTML coding. They were used to control the visual layout of HTML elements on a web page, at a time when the HTML standard alone did not allow this. They became mostly obsolete after the browser wars-fueled addition of layout attributes to HTML 2.0 table tags, and were mostly unused by the time Cascading Style Sheets became widely adopted.
Photo CD is a system designed by Kodak for digitizing and saving photos onto a CD. Launched in 1991, the discs were designed to hold nearly 100 high quality images, scanned prints and slides using special proprietary encoding. Photo CDs are defined in the Beige Book and conform to the CD-ROM XA and CD-i Bridge specifications as well. They were intended to play on CD-i players, Photo CD players, and any computer with a suitable software.
Image file formats are standardized means of organizing and storing digital images. An image file format may store data in an uncompressed format, a compressed format, or a vector format. Image files are composed of digital data in one of these formats so that the data can be rasterized for use on a computer display or printer. Rasterization converts the image data into a grid of pixels. Each pixel has a number of bits to designate its color. Rasterizing an image file for a specific device takes into account the number of bits per pixel that the device is designed to handle.
In computer graphics and digital imaging, imagescaling refers to the resizing of a digital image. In video technology, the magnification of digital material is known as upscaling or resolution enhancement.
The canvas element is part of HTML5 and allows for dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2D shapes and bitmap images. It is a low level, procedural model that updates a bitmap and does not have a built-in scene graph, but through WebGL it allows 3D shapes and images to be displayed. HTML5 Canvas also helps in making 2D games.
Thumbshots are screenshots of online documents such as web page in small thumbnail sizes. Thumbshots help users to visualize web sites or preview links before clicking. The dimension of a thumbshot image is generally much smaller than the actual online document allowing users to download and view a sample of the document quickly. Thumbshots can be automatically generated by custom software or manually screen captured using popular graphics programs.
Digital photography uses cameras containing arrays of electronic photodetectors to produce images focused by a lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The captured images are digitized and stored as a computer file ready for further digital processing, viewing, electronic publishing, or digital printing.
The Sony Reader was a line of e-book readers manufactured by Sony, who produced the first commercial E Ink e-reader with the Sony Librie in 2004. It used an electronic paper display developed by E Ink Corporation, was viewable in direct sunlight, required no power to maintain a static image, and was usable in portrait or landscape orientation.
FlashPix is a bitmapped computer graphics file format where the image is saved in more than one resolution. Its design anticipated that when an HTTP request is sent for the file by a browser plugin implementing the format, only the image compatible with the current screen resolution is returned to the browser, saving on bandwidth and download time.
FastPictureViewer is a freemium image viewer for Windows XP and later. Its aim is to facilitate quick review, rating and annotation of large quantities of digital images in the early steps of the digital workflow, with an emphasis on simplicity and speed. As an app with a freemium license, a basic version is available cost-free for personal, non-profit or educational uses, while a commercial license is required for the professional version with additional features. The basic version starts as a full version trial.
A pixel artist is a graphic designer who specializes in computer art and can refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation. Similar to chromoluminarism used in the pointillism style of painting, in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors, a pixel artist works with pixels, the smallest piece of information in an image. The technique relies on the perceptive ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones. Pixel art is often utilitarian and anonymous. Pixel design can refer to both the process (designing) by which the communication is created and the products (designs) which are generated.
Thumbnail files are designed to display quickly and allow multiple images to be displayed simultaneously on a monitor screen for browsing. Thumbnails are 160 pixels on the long-dimension.