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About Pixel

This article is about the picture element. For other uses, see Pixel (disambiguation).
This example shows an image with a portion greatly enlarged, in which the individual pixels are rendered as small squares and can easily be seen.
A photograph of sub-pixel display elements on a laptop's LCD screen

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. The address of a pixel corresponds to its physical coordinates. LCD pixels are manufactured in a two-dimensional grid, and are often represented using dots or squares, but CRT pixels correspond to their timing mechanisms and sweep rates.

Each pixel is a sample of an original image; more samples typically provide more accurate representations of the original. The intensity of each pixel is variable. In color image systems, a color is typically represented by three or four component intensities such as red, green, and blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

In some contexts (such as descriptions of camera sensors), the term pixel is used to refer to a single scalar element of a multi-component representation (more precisely called a photosite in the camera sensor context, although the neologism sensel is sometimes used to describe the elements of a digital camera's sensor), while in others the term may refer to the entire set of such component intensities for a spatial position. In color systems that use chroma subsampling, the multi-component concept of a pixel can become difficult to apply, since the intensity measures for the different color components correspond to different spatial areas in such a representation.

The word pixel is based on a contraction of pix ("pictures") and el (for "element"); similar formations with el  for "element" include the words voxel

and texel.

  1. ^ Foley, J. D.; Van Dam, A. (1982). Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0201144689. 
  2. ^ Rudolf F. Graf (1999). Modern Dictionary of Electronics. Oxford: Newnes. p. 569. ISBN 0-7506-4331-5. 
  3. ^ Michael Goesele (2004). New Acquisition Techniques for Real Objects and Light Sources in Computer Graphics. Books on Demand. ISBN 3-8334-1489-8. 
  4. ^ Foley, James D.; Andries van Dam; John F. Hughes; Steven K. Feiner (1990). "Spatial-partitioning representations; Surface detail". Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. The Systems Programming Series. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-12110-7. "These cells are often called voxels (volume elements), in analogy to pixels." 

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