In optics, the scattering of light rays from a relatively straight path into a variety of paths, either as the light passes through a medium or as it is reflected off of a medium. An example of diffusion is a frosted window; the translucent glass prevents light from passing through it in a straight line, resulting in the blurry and unidentifiable appearance of figures seen through it. Diffusion is also the result of matte surfaces (such as paper or film), which, unlike glossy surfaces, reflect the light waves back toward the viewer in a wide variety of directions, the result being that the surface looks flat and dull. Colors printed on a matte surface will appear softer and lighter, due to diffusion, than colors printed on a glossy surface.

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