)The use of many shades of gray to represent an image. Continuous-tone images, such as black-and-white photographs, use an almost unlimited number of shades of gray. Conventional computer hardware and software, however, can only represent a limited number of shades of gray (typically 16 or 256). Gray-scaling is the process of converting a continuous-tone image to an image that a computer can manipulate.
While gray scaling is an improvement over monochrome, it requires larger amounts of memory because each dot is represented by from 4 to 8 bits. At a resolution of 300 dpi, you would need more than 8 megabytes to represent a single 8½ by 11-inch page using 256 shades of gray. This can be reduced considerably through data compression techniques, but gray scaling still requires a great deal of memory.
Many optical scanners are capable of gray scaling, using from 16 to 256 different shades of gray. However, gray scaling is only useful if you have an output device -- monitor or printer -- that is capable of displaying all the shades. Most color monitors are capable of gray scaling, but the images are generally not as good as on dedicated gray-scaling monitors.
Note that gray scaling is different from dithering. Dithering simulates shades of gray by altering the density and pattern of black and white dots. In gray scaling, each individual dot can have a different shade of gray.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
From secure messaging to document editing, our top free must-have apps have been rated, reviewed and named the best free Android apps of 2015. Read More »The Five Generations of Computers
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »Cloud Computing Market Leaders, 2015
If not for AWS, Microsoft would dominate the cloud. The race to capture market share will grow ever more fierce in the years ahead. Here's a look... Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »