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The Many Faces of Black & White


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Grayscale vs. Line Art
B/W Grayscale vs B/W Line Art

Black and White Photos are really many shades of gray

Images by Jacci Howard Bear
In photography, Black & White photographs are actually shades of gray. In digital imaging these B&W images are called grayscale to differentiate them from black and white line art.

Grayscale images store values for levels of brightness as opposed to color information. A typical grayscale image is 256 shades of gray ranging from 0 (black) to 255 (white).

Black & White Line Art is typically 2-color (usually black and white) clip art, pen and ink drawings, or pencil sketches. Converting a photograph to line art (as seen in the illustration) may be done for special effects but with only black or white pixels, the details of photographs are lost.

When converting a color photo to B&W, a grayscale image is the goal.

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