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Image File Formats

The three most common image file formats, the most important for printing, scanning and internet use, are TIF, JPG and GIF. However, TIF cannot be used in internet browsers. All editor programs like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements support these file formats, which will generally support and store images in the following color modes: Color data mode Bits per pixel TIF RGB - 24 or 48 bits, Grayscale - 8 or 16 bits, Indexed color - 1 to 8 bits, Line Art (bilevel)- 1 bit

For TIF files, most programs allow either no compression or LZW compression (lossless, but is less effective for 24 bit color images). Adobe Photoshop also provides JPG or ZIP compression too (but which greatly reduces third party compatibility of TIF files). "Document programs" allow ITCC G3 or G4 compression for 1 bit text (Fax is G3 or G4 TIF files), which is lossless and tremendously effective (small). PNG RGB - 24 or 48 bits, Grayscale - 8 or 16 bits, Indexed color - 1 to 8 bits, Line Art (bilevel) - 1 bit PNG uses ZIP compression which is lossless, and slightly more effective than LZW (slightly smaller files). PNG is a newer format, designed to be both verstile and royalty free, back when the LZW patent was disputed. RGB - 24 bits, Grayscale - 8 bits JPEG always uses lossy JPG compression, but its degree is selectable, for higher quality and larger files, or lower quality and smaller files. Indexed color - 1 to 8 bits GIF uses lossless LZW compression, effective on indexed color. GIF files contain no dpi information for printing purposes. Note that if your image size is say 3000x2000 pixels, then this is 3000x2000 = 6 million pixels (6 megapixels). If this 6 megapixel image data is RGB color (if 24 bits, or 3 bytes per pixel of RGB color information), then the size of this image data is 6 million x 3 bytes RGB = 18 million bytes. That is simply how large your image data is . Then file compression like JPG or LZW can make the file smaller, but when you open the image in computer memory for use, the JPG may not still have the same image quality, but it is always still 3000x2000 pixels and 18 million bytes. This is simply how large your RGB image data is (megapixels x 3 bytes per pixel).




Best file types for general purposes:

Photographic Images Properties For Unquestionable Best Quality Smallest File Size Photos are continuous tones, 24 bit color or 8 bit Gray, no text, few lines and edges TIF or PNG (lossless compression and no JPG artifacts) JPG with a higher Quality factor can be decent. TIF or JPG 256 color GIF is very limited color, and is a larger file than 24 bit JPG Graphics, including Logos or Line art Graphics are often solid colors, up to 256 colors, with text or lines and sharp edges PNG or TIF (lossless compression, and no JPG artifacts) TIF LZW or GIF or PNG (graphics/logos without gradients normally permit indexed color of 2 to 16 colors for smallest file size) TIF or GIF JPG compression adds artifacts, smears text and lines and edges

Maximum Compatibility (PC, Mac, Unix) Worst Choice

These are not the only choices, but they are good and reasonable choices. Web pages require JPG or GIF or PNG image types, because that is all that browsers can show. On the web, JPG is the best choice (smallest file, with quality being less important than size) for photo images, and GIF is common for graphic images. GIF was designed for modems by CompuServe, for earliest 8 bit video, and so GIF contains no printing dpi information, and is out of date for 24 bit photos now, but GIF still works quite well for video graphics on the internet. Other than the web, TIF file format is the undisputed leader when best quality is required (when less than maximum quality is not a consideration). So TIF is very common in commercial or professional printing environments. High Quality JPG can be pretty good too, but don't ruin them by making them too small. If the goal is high quality, then only consider making JPG large instead, and plan your work so you can only save them one or two times. Adobe RGB color space may be OK for your home printer and profiles, but if you send your pictures out to be printed, the mass market printing labs normally only accept JPG files and only process RGB color space.


Common raster image file extensions include .BMP, .TIF, .JPG, .GIF, and .PNG. 3D Image Files .3dm Rhino 3D Model .max 3ds Max Scene File

Raster Image Files .bmp .gif .jpg .png .psd .pspimage .thm .tif .yuv Bitmap Image File Graphical Interchange Format File JPEG Image File Portable Network Graphic Adobe Photoshop Document PaintShop Photo Pro Image Thumbnail Image File Tagged Image File YUV Encoded Image File

Vector Image Files .ai .drw .eps .ps .svg Adobe Illustrator File Drawing File Encapsulated PostScript File PostScript File Scalable Vector Graphics File