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continuous tone
Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 1998 

Refers to images that have a virtually unlimited range of color or shades of grays. Photographs and television images, for example, are continuous-tone images. In contrast, computer hardware and software is digital, which means that they can represent only a limited number of colors and gray levels. Converting a black-and-white continuous-tone image into a computer image is known as gray scaling.

Continuous-tone printers can print each dot at many different shades of lightness and darkness. Though this isn't true continuous-tone because the level of shades is limited, there are enough shades (256 or more) so that the difference between one shade and the next is imperceptible to the human eye.

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