Imaging refers to the science of obtaining pictures or more complicated spatial representations, such as animations or 3-D models, from physical things.
The science of photography is not quite a subset of imaging, because it includes attempts to construct images which have little relation to the physical (such as double exposures, lens effects, etc).
Imaging also includes activities such as:
- Taking photographs using non-visible ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Extracting images from living things, through techniques such as positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, near-infrared fluorescence imaging, computed axial tomography, EEG or MEG (this is called medical imaging).
- Microscopy-based image collection techniques such as dark field imaging, staining, or working with devices such as electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes or scanning tunneling microscopes.
- Writing computer programs to improve the quality of collected images, or to construct images which merge information from multiple sources. Note, though, that imaging is largely distinct from visualization.