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Chapter 3. Image Essentials: It's All Zeros and Ones

Chapter 3. Image Essentials: It's All Zeros and Ones

Let's get one thing perfectly clear: this book is not about pictures or work flow or even computers. This book is about zeros and ones. As Laurie Anderson so plainly pointed out, no one wants to be a zero, and everyone (at least in America) wants to be “number one.” The digital age is built entirely on the interplay between the two.

To be sure, the digital world (in which zeros and ones, offs and ons, and whites and blacks frolic together in cooperation, not competition) is not as confusing as some people make it out to be. And, as it turns out, you can't really be efficient with digital imaging without knowing a little bit about that dark underworld. In this chapter we're going to break it all down for you. To some of you, most of this chapter is going to sound pretty basic, but we urge you to peruse it anyhow. You might be surprised at how many power users find themselves stumped by something as small as a misunderstanding of how—and why—bitmapped images work.


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