Glossary Of Terms

The SGIA Glossary of Terms serves as an excellent industry terminology resource. It is the language by which we all communicate, without it universal understanding would be impossible. Language and our ideas about how it is interpreted change rapidly. SGIA is aware of this and continues its effort to keep our constituents well informed about changes to the increasingly complex industry terminology. The definitions are for general reference only. Usage may vary between companies, individuals, or national and country customs. The information presented is as accurate as the authors and editors can ascertain and SGIA assumes no responsibility for the use of information presented herein.


  • Camera angle
    The angle defined by the position of the subject matter in relation to the camera lens; viewpoint.
  • Camera back
    The paper/film-holding section of a process camera, used for holding photosensitive material to the filmback.
  • Camera exposure
    The subjecting of light rays reflected or transmitted by a subject being photographed, under controlled conditions of time and intensity, of a photosensitive film for the purpose of producing a latent image thereon.
  • Camera lens
    An arrangement of circular concave or convex pieces of glass that control incoming light rays by focusing them on a ground glass or photosensitive film.
  • Camera mount
    The trace or base where the camera is fixed or secured to eliminate vibration.
  • Camera process
    A camera designed to create a halftone image or color separations for photomechanical reproduction.
  • Camera shutter
    A device that controls time and amount of light that acts on sensitive material.
  • Camera-ready art
    (1) All printing elements prepared to be photographed; (2) An original design, completely finished as it is to appear in the reproduction.
  • Can top easel
    An easel for display cards that are to be placed on top of round metal cans.
  • Cancellation proof
    The final print in a fine art edition.
  • Candela
    A unit of measure indicting the amount of intensity developed by an artificial light.
  • Candela per square meter
    Unit used to define luminous intensity of a light source.
  • Canopy easel
    For simultaneously setting up a display card and supporting a canopy.
  • Cap printing machine (textiles)
    A specifically engineered device for printing onto the rounded surfaces of a cap using a flat or flexible curved screen.
  • Capability analysis
    Study of the ability of a process to meet established requirements.
  • Capability performance index (Cp)
    A measure of the relationship between the allowable process spread (part tolerance) and the actual process spread (natural balance).
  • Capacitance
    The property of conductors and dielectrics to allow storage of an electrical charge when voltage is applied.
  • Capacitor (condenser)
    An electrical circuit element consisting of two metallic plates separated by a dielectric or insulating material such as glass, ceramic, mica, or other non-conducting material used to store an electrical charge temporarily.
  • Capillary action
    The movement of a liquid with or against the law of gravity, into a very small opening, usually tubular in shape, or as in a surface of closely matted very fine fibers. (Liquid penetration and flow rate in porous surfaces is dependent on pressure, surface tension, and radius of the opening, among other factors).
  • Capillary film
    A pre-sensitized, uniformly coated stencil film that is adhered to a water wet screen mesh under slight pressure through capillary action.
  • Capture
    Acquiring information, such as an image, with a scanner or digital-camera device.
  • Car topper
    A display that can be attached to the top of a car or truck either permanently or temporarily for either show room or street use.
  • Carbon adsorption
    Ability of treated carbon to attract and retain on its surface structure toxic vapors, such as from organic solvents.
  • Carbon arc (arc lamp)
    A light source of high actinic value, contains two carbon rods spaced slightly apart at the tips through which passes an electric current that bridges the gap between the tips, the resulting arc emits light extremely high in actinic value. (Note: Carbon arc lamps were once used for exposing photo stencil films and emulsions, but they have been largely replaced by other types of exposure units.)
  • Carbon black
    An intensely black, finely divided pigment obtained by burning natural gas or petroleum oil with a restricted air supply used for formulating black ink; also refer to channel black.