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Dictionary

A collection of insightful tips and guides to help you become a great designer.

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Dictionary

Dictionary

Your glossary of design terms.

A

Alpha Channel

The Alpha Channel indicates the transparency of an image or video footage. It is also used in 3D graphics to create additional textures for the reflectivity, bump,
displacement, or visibility properties influencing the rendered texture of a 3D model. The Alpha Channel contains no color information, only transparency information. It is visualized in the channel as a black and white image.

The value of Alpha can be measured as a real value, a percentage, or an integer: The full transparency is defined as 0.0 ; 0% or 0, visualized in the Alpha Channel as pure black, the full opacity is defined as 1.0, 100%, or 255, visualized in the Alpha Channel as pure white.

If you for example reduce the opacity of the overlying layer to alpha = 60%, the color of the underlying layer will become visible at 40% opacity in the areas where both layers overlap.The resulting color-blending effect will create the illusion of a completely new color to the viewer.

The image formats that contain the Alpha Channel are generally composed of the following components:

R = Red Channel
G = Green Channel
B = Blue Channel
A = Alpha Channel

Read more: What is the Alpha Channel ->

Align Options

A tool found inside the Arrange Tab. It allows you to line up two or more layers against each other, or line up layers to the edges of an Artboard or group.

Read more: How to align objects in Vectornator ➞

Anchor Point (or Bèzier Node)

Points that connect paths on a vector tool.

Read more: Editing Bèzier Nodes ➞

Artboard

A type of layer that is used to contain other layers and displays a fixed frame on the canvas.

Read more: Using Artboards in design ➞

Aspect Ratio

It is the proportional relationship between a graphic’s width and height.

Read more: What is the Aspect Ratio ➞

Auto Trace

Turning an image into vectors with just one tap.

Read more: How to vectorize an image ➞

B

Bézier Curve

Vector paths used in computer graphics to draw shapes. They can mainly be created using the Pen Tool.

Read more: Creating curves with the Pen tool ➞

Boolean Operations

They allow you to create new paths and complex shapes. The term “boolean” describes how shapes are combined, using values such as “and”, “or,” “not,” or a combination of these.

Watch the video: How can I use Booleans in Vectornator?

Brush Tool

A tool used for drawing freeform paths with variable widths, also known as tapered paths. You can find it inside the Toolbar (left side, sixt icon from the top) or by pressing the ~key~ B ~key~ keyboard shortcut.

Read more: How can I draw Brush Strokes?

C

Color Wheel

The color wheel was created by Newton so that relationships between colors were easier to define and identify. He decided to display the color spectrum in a circle because he felt that indigo (the last color in the color wheel) was similar to the first color, red.

This wheel is comprised of three main color categories:

  • Primary colors: red, yellow, and blue
  • Secondary colors: orange, green, and violet
  • Tertiary colors: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet
Read more: Using the Color Wheel to Create Designs ->

D

Descender

A descender is the portion of a letter that descends below the baseline.

Read more: What is a Descender ➞

G

Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical formula that yields the number 1.618. When used effectively, it creates designs that can achieve a balance of beauty whether you're designing typography, UI/UX, or a logo.

Read more: What is the Golden Ratio ➞

Gradient

A range of mixed colors (two or more) to make certain elements visually more exciting and striking. Through them, we can give visual emphasis and beautify an interface in a modern and subtle way. A way to add depth and dimension to your design.

Read more: Gradients in Vectornator ➞

I

Isolate State

The Isolation State is used to edit objects or paths within a mask, compound path, or group. When you enter the Isolate State, anything not within the isolated object will appear dimmed out. To enter Isolate State you can simply double tap/click the object you want to edit. Then, repeat the acion to exit.

Read more: Editing masks in Isolate State ->

K

Kerning

The amount of space between two letters and the process of adjusting that space.

Read more: What is Kerning ➞

L

Leading / Line Height

The spacing between the baselines of the typeface.

Read more: What is Leading ➞

M

Mask

Used to show parts of an object into a specific shape.

Read more: Masking Objects in Vectornator ➞

N

Node Type

Created by handles that extend from a bezier node when it is set as either Mirrored, Asymmetric, or Disconnected.

Read more: Changing Node Types ➞

P

Path

The outline of a vector shape between two vector points. Paths are vector lines made of a minimum of two points connected by a straight line segment.

  • They can be created by using the Line Tool or tapping anywhere on the canvas with the Pen Tool to create connected anchor points.
  • You select paths for editing with the Selection Tool in the Toolbar or by pressing <key>P<key>. A bounding box will appear around the entire path, and this will also activate the Quick Actions menus (available only on iPad or iPhone).
  • The Direct Selection (also called the Node Tool) can also be used to select instead the Bézier Nodes that compose your path.
  • We often refer to `paths` as any line (straight or curved) that links two nodes.
Read more: Vector Paths ➞

Pen Tool

A tool used for creating custom paths. You can find it inside the Toolbar (left side, fifth icon from the top) or by pressing the ~key~ P ~key~ keyboard shortcut.

The Pen Tool allows you to create Bézier curves (also known as vector paths) that you can draw, curve, edit, and close. Their direction and angle are determined by the position of the node handles.

Read more: What is the Pen Tool ➞

Pencil tool

A tool used to create freehand paths. You can find it inside the Toolbar (left side, fifth icon from the top) or by pressing the ~key~ W ~key~ keyboard shortcut.

The Pencil Tool works like a freehand tool and allows you to create a vector path that follows the path of your hand. It can follow it precisely, or follow it with a more consistent line, depending on the Smoothness you set.

Read more: Drawing vector paths with the Pencil Tool ➞

Pivot Point

The Pivot Point is the center of rotation of an object. 

This can be compared to a wheel that rotates around its own axis, the axis here is the Pivot Point of the wheel. 

In graphical programs, the Pivot Point is generally located in the center of the object by default. This can be seen when an object or a shape is selected and the transform functions are activated. The bounding box will be automatically displayed with a small circle in the middle. The circle indicates the Pivot Point of the object or shape. 

In most graphics programs, the pivot can be shifted from the center of the bounding box to any place in the document. It is normally sufficient to simply select the Pivot Point and then tap/click onto a new position. The object will now rotate around the newly positioned Pivot Point.

Watch the video: How to Rotate Shapes in Vectornator changing the Pivot Point.

S

Scissor Tool

The Scissor Tool can be used to split an existing shape or paths between two bezier nodes.

Read more: How to cut a vector path or split it into different parts in Vectornator?

Shape Tool

The Shape Tool allows you to create pre-made geometric shapes, such as rectangles, circles, polygons, or straight lines, but also stars and spirals.

Read more: How to create pre-made shapes ->

Skeuomorphism

In digital design, a style that mimics materials and dimensionality to create a connection to real life objects. It can guide customers to follow intended actions and imply usage through familiarity. For example, some desktop operating systems use a trash can or recycle bin icon to represent the deletion of files. Or, Skeuomorphic Icons (also called 3D icons) are designed to imitate their real-life counterparts.

Skeuomorphism started receding in popularity after Apple introduced a flat redesign of their mobile operating system in iOS 7.

Read more: Skeuomorphism in Icon Design ->

V

Vector

A type of image made up of points connected by paths. Can scale to any size without losing quality. They can be open or closed: Shapes are vector elements made of closed paths, meaning all the anchor points on the path are connected to each other.

Shapes can be created using the Shape, Pencil, Pen, and Brush Tools.

Read more: What is a vector? ➞
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