Dithering is a design technique that simulates additional colors on a display to smooth transitions in images with limited color palettes.
Web and graphic designers typically use dithering to overcome the constraints of limited colors on specific devices and platforms by placing pixels of various shades to create the illusion of additional colors not previously supported natively.
For example, consider a device limited to displaying only a few shades of red. It may struggle to render a smooth gradient transitioning from light to dark red, leading to abrupt changes or banding. Dithered images solve this issue by carefully arranging pixels in patterns — such as a checkerboard — to simulate the desired gradient. This technique tricks the human eye into perceiving a seamless transition, simulating extra shades of color.
Dithering is particularly useful when display devices or file formats enforce color limitations, such as with GIFs or older web browsers.
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