Holy jumpin' JPEGs Batman!
Anyone who has tried to get or send images has faced this dilemma.
What file type is best?
What's the difference anyway? Tiff, Gif, Biff! who cares?
Truth is, there is a world of difference in the various file types and no quicker way to send an editor into a psychotic fury than give him or her the wrong one on deadline.
Here's a quick-and-dirty rundown of the most common image file types and where it's best to use them.
|This clever image show a progressive|
scale of compression from L>R
It's really clever because when you create the file (either in the camera or with computer software) you can specify how much compression (quality) you think you need. On a scale of 1-100, 100 being virtually no compression and super quality.
JPEGs (.jpg or .jpeg) files travel really well over email and file transfer. You can have really big images (in pixel dimensions) travel in fairly lightweight files, so if you are sending images with your press release or story, JPEGs are by far the preferred standard.
Compression requires compromise, meaning that you are trading some level of image quality for economy. You can get away with lesser quality for screen (online) publication than print, but with the new High Definition LCD screens in devices like iPads, this gap is closing.
The whizbang software compresses areas of like colour or tone. So, an image of one solid colour will compress to almost nothing, while one with lots of fine detail will not compress as readily. This is why comparing file size (in kBs or MBs) to image size (in pixels) can be confusing.
The Tagged Image File Format (.tif or .tiff) is a useful file still preferred by graphic artists and designers using Adobe products for desktop publishing. It can store lots of different types of data besides just the image.
|A PNG image|
|Closeup of JPG (L) and GIF (R)|
click to enlarge
The Portable Document Format is just that, a format for documents.
PICT - Classic Macintosh QuickDraw file
He is now an award-winning travel writer and photographer.