Graphics Formats

ADI, AI ,BMP, CGM, CLP, CT, EPX, FPX, GIF, HRF, IFF, IMG, IMJ, JFIF, JPG, JPEG, JIF, MAC, MNG, MSP,
PCD, PCX, PIC, PICT, PNG, PS, PCD, RAS, RAW, RGB, RTF, SPX, TGI, TIF, TIFF, WMF, WPG

Listed above are some of the more common graphic formats.

 

Graphic files can be grouped into two basic types: Bitmap (or Raster) and Vector

Bitmap - Bitmapped files, also called Raster files, contain graphics information described as pixels, such as photographic images. The image is built up dot by dot; if you zoom in, the pixels get bigger and the image ends up looking like Lego. Rescaling the image often results in lose of definition.

Vector - Bitmapped files describe a picture in terms of pixels, while vector files describe it in terms of geometry. A line here, a curve here, this area filled with this colour, and so on. Vector files are much larger for an image of a given detail level, but they can be magnified as much as you like without turning into giant pixels.

 

Popular Raster (bitmap) graphic formats

BMP (bitmap), GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), PNG (Portable Network Graphics), and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) are raster image formats.

Bitmap (BMP)

The Microsoft Windows® BMP format (.bmp file extension) can display millions of colors. Because it is supported by several programs, it is an extremely practical file format to use when you are providing an image to someone who may not have the program in which you created the image.

Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)

The GIF format (.gif file extension) is one of the two most common file formats for images on the World Wide Web, because it is supported by almost all Web browsers. Because this format can only display a maximum of 256 colors, it is best used for black-and-white line drawings, color clip art, and pictures with large blocks of solid colors. The GIF89a format also supports both transparency and animation. Use GIF files for:

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

The JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg file extension) is the other most common file format for images on the Web. It is not limited to 256 colors, so you can use it to display high-quality photographs, or pictures containing millions of colors. Because it is designed as an image storage format, it can efficiently compress large, high-quality photos into very compact files, so it is very useful when you want to send a large image in e-mail. However, the more you reduce your image's file size (or modify and re-save the image), the more image information is discarded — and quality is decreased. Moreover, this format does not support transparency or animation. Use JPEG files for:

Portable Network Graphics (PNG)

The PNG format (.png file extension) can display millions of colors. Because it is such a newer format, not all browsers currently support it (although it is quickly gaining support). Images saved in this format will not degrade in quality, even if the file is compressed. It supports transparency, but it does not support animation because it cannot contain multiple images.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

The TIFF format (.tif or .tiff file extension) produces very high-quality images and is therefore used in publishing quite often. It can display millions of colors (although grayscale images are limited to 256 colors or shades), and typically results in larger image files than the GIF or JPEG formats. If you plan to edit an image in a program other than the one in which you created it, saving it in this format is helpful because it is widely recognized by various programs.

 

LOSSLESS AND LOSSY IMAGES

Some graphic formats result in information being lost when converting images back and forth. Lossless formats allow images to be converted back and forth and maintain the same quality. Examples of lossless formats include GIF, PNG, TIFF, and all vector formats. Lossy formats on the other hand use a compression algorithm that possibly "drops" some of the data. JPEG is an example of a lossy image.

 

 

Figure out the best file format for your task

Action BMP GIF JPEG PNG TIFF
Post an image on a Web page
X
X
X
Export easily to other computer imaging programs
X
X
X
X
X
Compress a large image to create a small file to send in e-mail
X
X
Use transparent areas in images
X
X
Create animation files
X
x1
Decompress images without loss of quality
X
X
Create highest quality images (for publishing, etc.)
X
Display millions of colors in an image
X
X
X
X
Retain image quality through numerous saves
X
X
X
X

x1 - PNG can store animation in Adobe Fireworks and some other programs


Graphics Formats Explained by Dan's Data

Comparision of Graphics File Formats

Bitmapped / Raster file types

Vector file types