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Some artist on DeviantArt seriously recommended a Matting calculator which supposedly greatly aids in the process of matting. Unfortunately both the artist and the site for the calculator already assume the reader knows what matting is.

At first I thought they mean making images look older by removing sheen / adding matt, but apparently this isn't it - it has something to do with borders. I checked three dictionaries (Webster, Free, Dictionary.com) and not a single definition relates to matting in relation to artwork (other than mat making) or any activity that might require a calculator.

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There's mat (carpet), matt (not gloss), and matte (a mask), all of which have matting as a participle/gerund. The spelling of matte can be varied to mat or matt, just to add to the confusion. [A matting calculator is calculating a masked area, as per @J.R.'s answer.] – Andrew Leach Nov 14 '12 at 9:13
@AndrewLeach: Plus mating with its few meanings and identical pronunciation... – SF. Nov 14 '12 at 9:17
Um... mating and matting are pronounced differently. The doubled consonant makes a difference: /ˈmeɪtɪŋ/ /ˈmatɪŋ/ – Andrew Leach Nov 14 '12 at 11:59
@AndrewLeach: Thanks. I'm horrible at pronunciation... – SF. Nov 14 '12 at 12:54
@AndrewLeach "Matt" without an e for the opposite of glossy? Really? I have only ever seen that one as matte, as in this Wikipedia article. Some simple checks suggest that the matte spelling is still more common. Is this a British thing, perhaps? – tchrist Nov 14 '12 at 20:46
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The mat is the area between the inside of the frame, and the outside of the framed document or artwork; in other words, the burgundy part of this certificate:

enter image description here

You can see how all these components fit together with this figure:

enter image description here

I assume the Matting calculator helps determine the inner and outer widths of the mat(s) used in the frame.

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Until a few months ago, I had never known that as anything but a matte. A mat was something wrestlers put down on the floor so as not to bounce their noggins too hard. Notice how in this B&H Photo listing for a matte knife the product description uses matte but the packaging uses mat. – tchrist Nov 14 '12 at 20:42

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