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Above are shown demonstrations of various thicknesses of lines (non-anti-aliased).

But I wonder how they're named.

Is a named "a thickness of 1"?
Is c named "a thickness of 2"?
What would b be named then?

Edit: I would like to point out, that this is NOT the same as the thickness number setting in image editors! Their output is based on the nearest neighbor algorithm and cannot possibly consistently produce the results in the examples a, b or c: https://i.sstatic.net/5n5DD.png

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    Hi Piotr, Welcome to Graphic Design.StackExchange. We hope you enjoy sharing experience and knowledge.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 17:31
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    Using the tool you chose to create that arc (and the other two) what was the thickness setting given by the software? Was it 1, or 2? Are you wanting a definition? Your question is rather vague by asking the "name" of something usually given as a variable quantity. Please edit your question.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 17:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as being too vague and seemingly unrelated to graphic design in the context of the site (too broad). Not that I'm a genius; but, I'm unable to understand what Piotr is asking.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 18:45
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    I voted to reopen this. Please take into account that the OP is asking about terminology in pixel art, as stated in the tags. This sheds the question in a completely different light.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 21:43
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    I don't believe that this question should be closed. I think I understand it. Forget about design applications and stroke widths in points for a second and focus on the pixels. Line a and b are both aliased 1 px lines but with two different ways of creating the curves. Line a only has diagonal meetings. Line b "fills" in the gaps. Line c is clearly a 2 px stroke. I think the OP wants to know if there is a way to describe the difference between these methods of drawing alised lines.
    – Wolff
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 21:46

4 Answers 4


I'd say the lines differ through the line drawing algorithm. A and C look like a 1px and 2px Bresenham algorithm, while B is 1px and was drawn with some other algorithm.


In graphic design, the thickness of a line (often called a stroke) is usually referred to as its weight, or width. However, since weight is often measured in increments called "points," this often forms a shorthand for talking about line weight.

In your example if a has a weight of 1, and c has a weight of 2, then b looks to have a weight of around 1.5.

What I might actually say, to answer your question, is something like

b has a line weight of 1.5 points


b is a 1.5-point stroke

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    Point is a unit of measure (1/72th of an inch), maybe better call the width pixels, no? And this is also why adobe uses 72 dpi as unit not set, so their intrnal model is one unit equals one pixel.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 22:31
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    It doesn't make sense to say b has a thickness of 1.5 pixels. If you measure the horizontal thickness and the vertical thickness, both turn out to be 1 in case of a and b. Where they differ is the diagonal thickness. But the thickness of a 45° angle is in increments of not 1, not 0.5, but √0.5, which is about 0.707106781187. So, a horizontal or vertical line can have thickness 1, 2, 3, etc., a 45° diagonal line can have thickness 0.7, 1.4, 2.1, etc. but a curved line or an arbitrary outline requires a different terminology. Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 5:58
  • @PiotrGrochowski if you make a straight line, how thick is that? Use that value as your label.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 7:49
  • Take the length of the straight line (with the Pythagorean theorem) and divide it by the number of pixels the line occupies. While making a horizontal or vertical line of exactly 1 pixel of thickness is possible, making a diagonal line of exactly 1 pixel of thickness doesn't really make sense; as I said, the thickness of a 45° angle is in increments of not 1, not 0.5, but √0.5, which is about 0.707106781187. Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 9:13
  • @PiotrGrochowski same problem exists with any other measuring systems
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 17:58

How to differentiate/specify (name) line thickness.

Line thickness is usually specified in term of how it would appear as printed at 100% (scaled/actual size).

Thus, a line when printed can be measured using various units suitable for specifying "thickness."

Most common units are given in millimetres, inches, and points, within the graphic design community. There are fractional and decimal subdivisions within these broad categories.

When the thickness of the line varies, it is referred to as a stroke rather than a line. It is difficult to specify a stroke with a simple parameter.

  • You can also specify a thickness in pixels if you're using a bitmap program.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 7:51

In pixel art, typically A is called 1 pixel thick, and I think most people would call C 2 pixel thick. That leaves B as 1.5 pixels thick.

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