Table of Contents
    Home / Definitions / Pixelated
    Monitors 2 min read

    What Does Pixelated Mean?

    The term pixelated is used to describe an image in which the individual pixels are visible to the naked eye. A pixelated image will appear blurry and blocky. An example of this would be the staircase effect, which is when a straight line on a digital screen appears to be made out of squares and resembles a set of stairs.

    What causes pixelation?

    Pixelation can be caused by many factors such as:

    Bitmap vs. vector graphics

    Any image that is displayed in pixels is either a raster or bitmap image. Some of the most common bitmap image formats include jpg, png, and gif. Since bitmap images are created with pixels, these are the types of images that have the possibility of appearing pixelated.

    An image that is created by mathematical calculations and formulas is a vector graphic image. The most common vector image format is the SVG, which has started to grow in popularity. Vector image formatting is not used for real-life images or photography, but it is often used for logos and illustrations since they are able to be resized without becoming pixelated and losing quality. Zooming in on a vector graphic does not cause the image to become grainy or lose detail.

    Deliberate pixelation

    Although pixelation is often used negatively to describe a low-quality image, sometimes it is used to deliberately hide a portion of an image. It has been used on television to disguise a person s face who has not consented to be on camera or to protect someone s identity. It has also been used to censor nudity, obscene gestures, and profanity.