What Are Visual Artifacts? – How-To Geek

Visual artifacts refer to anomalies or distortions that appear on digital images or videos, typically caused by errors in image processing, compression, transmission, or display. These artifacts can degrade the quality of the visual content and may manifest in various forms, depending on the specific issue at hand. Here are some common types of visual artifacts:

  1. Compression Artifacts: These occur when an image or video is heavily compressed to reduce file size. Compression artifacts often result in blocky or pixelated regions, blurring, color distortion, or loss of fine details.
  2. Aliasing: Aliasing artifacts are jagged, stair-like edges that appear when an image or video lacks sufficient resolution to represent a smooth curve or line. This can happen when scaling or resizing images.
  3. Ghosting or Motion Blur: Ghosting occurs in moving images when previous frames are faintly visible in the current frame, leading to blurred or overlapping objects. It can be a result of low refresh rates, slow response times in displays, or motion interpolation techniques.
  4. Banding: Banding artifacts are visible bands or stripes of similar colors that appear on gradients, rather than smooth transitions. These can occur due to limited color depth or excessive compression.
  5. Chromatic Aberration: Also known as color fringing, this artifact appears as color distortion, usually along the edges of contrasting elements in an image.
  6. Moire Patterns: Moire patterns are wavy or herringbone-like interference patterns that occur when fine patterns or textures in an image clash with the resolution of the display or camera sensor.
  7. Dithering Artifacts: Dithering is a technique used to simulate additional colors or shades by juxtaposing existing ones. However, this can lead to noticeable patterns or noise in the image.

Visual artifacts can be found in various digital media, including images, videos, computer graphics, and digital displays. Many of these issues are addressed by improving hardware capabilities, employing advanced image processing techniques, and using higher-quality compression algorithms. However, it’s important to be aware of these artifacts, especially when working with critical visual content or evaluating the quality of digital media.

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