Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of pictures, used to help in recognizing and organizing them, serving the same role for images as a normal text index does for words. In the age of digital images, visual search engines and image-organizing programs normally use thumbnails, as do most modern operating systems or desktop environments, such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, KDE, and GNOME.
Reducing a significant part of the picture instead of the full frame can allow the use of a smaller thumbnail while maintaining recognizability. For example, when thumbnailing a full-body portrait of a person, it may be better to show the face slightly reduced than an indistinct figure. This has the disadvantage that it misleads viewers about what the image contains, so it is less well suited for searching or a catalogue than for artistic presentations.
The term vignette is sometimes used to describe an image that is smaller than the original, larger than a thumbnail, but no more than 250 pixels in the long dimension.
Art directors and graphic designers use the term "thumbnail sketch" to describe a small drawing on paper (usually part of a group) used to explore multiple ideas quickly. Thumbnail sketches are similar to doodles, but may include as much detail as a small sketch.
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Agency Reviews Patent Application Approval Request for "Method of Providing Thumbnail Image and Image Phorographing Apparatus Thereof"
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