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  • Definition of clip art

    Clip art has become a huge enterprise with the world really responding to visual ways of expression. A famous person once said, “A picture paints a thousand words”, and a quick look up on Google demonstrates that across the world there are sayings that convey the very same message. This is because humans can interpret visual information quicker than listening to a description or reading it.

    What do you mean by ClipArt ?

    Clip art is defined as being simple line drawings that are mass-produced, either by hand or by computer-aided design (CAD) to represent simple images, almost symbolically. For instance, we see a line drawing of a cat as two circles on top of each other with two small triangles on the top and a squiggle at the bottom. We know to interpret this as a cat, although it does not really look like a cat, symbolically it is a cat.

    Similarly, clip art has become a huge industry as simple drawings can be inserted into word documents to assist in promoting an idea. They are generally very cheap to reproduce, with some websites allowing free use. In this instance, the artist is likely to have agreed to have their images licensed for distribution with particular sites.

    Emoji are a very simple type of clipart as they are line drawings that convey a particular idea that is hard to misinterpret. Clip art captures the essence of what a person may be trying to convey. Clip art can be used to enhance business presentations, school assignments, and teaching aids.

    Depending on the base design, you may be able to increase their size, however, you need to beware that in some cases, the clipart design is used only for a specific size, and especially if it is in a .bmp format it will not look good if the size is increased. Most programs are able to accommodate the insertion of clip art into them, and usually, you can move them around in the document easily, because of their properties as they are designed to be ‘clipped in’ to the program.

    Because clip art is designed to be copied into documents or other formats, it is arranged and labeled within galleries that help you to find what they are via descriptors. For example, clipart is typically organised into categories to assist with locating the type of image you would like, for instance, people, objects, nature, etc. You can easily find the types of images you need for your project by searching by keywords.

    Clip art collections are increasing all the time. Although the line simplicity is still constant, the subject matter has expanded to include almost any category that you can think of. Popular categories will always be animals (pets), vehicles, occupations, sports, children, food, buildings (eg school, work, gym), pastimes (for instance, having a coffee with a friend).Generally, you will be able to choose from hundreds of images to find the one that best suits the style and theme of the work you are creating.

    PNG for Portable Network Graphic

    You probably have noticed when you are selecting an image to save from printing or if you are capturing an image from the internet and you want to save it to your laptop it will prompt you for a few different file types. The most common ones are: BMP, .JPEG, .GIF, .TIFF, and now PNG.

    Whereas a common choice for photos for high resolution has normally been .jpeg, it appears that PNG is becoming the industry standard for image sharing software applications due to its special feature of reducing the size without compromising the image quality.

    What is PNG?

    PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics (and people pronounce it as ‘ping’) it is a type of file format as its name suggests, to be portable, in the same way that .pdf stands for ‘portable document format’. It was developed in 1995 as a way to easily share high-resolution images over the internet. It can be compressed to a very small file size without losing quality. Geeks refer to this quality as ‘lossless compression’. It is different from the other commonly used sharing file format, GIF and experts predict that within a few years it will be the universal format for sharing graphics files.

    It is provided by an open source licence which makes it attractive as there are no other costs associated with its use, unlike the GIF format. This free use aspect means that any software developer or website developer does not have to be involved in any further licence applications to use it which makes it ultimately more user-friendly.

    Features of PNG

    Similar to a GIF, the image information is restored after the file is decompressed by the viewing application, after being compressed (shrunk) when it was placed within a file or application. A PNG can be compressed to a smaller file size than a GIF, up to 30%. The PNG format includes these features:

    • Opacity: You have a great deal of flexibility in controlling the transparency of an image (opacity). You can isolate each colour and control how transparent each one is relative to others.
    • Interlacing: when images are downloaded the viewer can see the stretching of the image as it fully loads. It is faster to download compared to a GIF.
    • Gamma correction: this feature allows the developer to fine tune the image with respect to how vibrant the colours are, which is an important feature for the display, and certain display manufacturers require this feature.
    • Colour management: PNG formatted images can be saved using true colour as well as palette and gray-scale formats.
    • File integrity checking: there are in-built processes within the PNG format that check the integrity of the files that are being transferred. It allows for integration across both MAC, PCs and apps due to this level of file checking.

    Even without understanding the complexities and coding requirements of PNG, it is clear that it is a versatile and important contribution to the environment of image sharing.