How to Choose an Image File Format – Howtoshtab – how to, lifehacks, tips and tricks

– Hey everyone, so recently I was talking to my sister and she was working on this image project and she was asking me “What file format to save it as”. I realize file formats isn’t the topic I’ve ever made a video about but it would actually make a pretty interesting video. So we’re gonna do that, right now. Let’s learn. Ok so to start off with the very basics an image file can be either raster or vector. Raster means that it’s made out of pixels and vector means that it’s made out of mathematical formulas, it can be shrunk to any size or blown up to any size without losing any quality. Raster files can be either uncompressed or compressed, and there are two types of compression. Lossless compression preserves a perfect copy of the original file.

However the file sizes are usually huge. On the other hand, lossy compression appears to be a perfect copy of the image but actually brings the quality down slightly so that the file sizes can be a lot smaller. So in terms of actual file types, let’s start with the jpeg. Most of you have probably heard of jpegs before. But did you know that it stands for joint photographic experts group. And it uses lossy compression. The file extension is either .jpg or .jpeg, I don’t really know if there’s much of a difference between them. Jpeg is your go to file type for most images that you’re putting on the web. It doesn’t support transparency but it does support 24 bit images so it looks like a real photo without getting all pixely and stuff. You just have to be careful if you’re repeatedly opening and editing and re-saving jpeg files because as you keep re-saving the quality will continue to degrade.

If you have to keep editing a file multiple times try saving it as a Photoshop document or some kind of lossless file a compression format so that you can produce a fresh new jpeg each time. As for printing, as long as it’s 300 dpi and large enough for what you wanna print jpegs are usually fine to print from. Super professional photographers with their 10,000 dollar cameras and lenses strapped to their belts and art students where quality is like super super important and you can never never print from a jpeg. They probably wouldn’t print from jpegs but just for every day use, you’ll be fine. The next file type is tiff, which stands for tagged image file format. The extension is .tif or .tiff again I don’t really think there’s much of a difference between them. It’s a lossless file format, which means it doesn’t lose any quality when you save it.

It can keep your Photoshop layers intact unlike a jpeg which flattens everything. But if you have a big file with a ton of layers the file size is going to be huge. Tiff isn’t really used on the web, but if you need to save a file in the highest quality format that can be read by a variety of programs that you’re gonna be printing in all these different places or whatever then tiff is the way to go. Now moving on to everybody’s favorite, the GIF or GIF. I say gif, deal with it. If you’ve ever been on tumblr you know that gif supports animation, which is really their main draw these days. Gif stands for graphics interchange format and it is an eight bit file type which means it supports way less colors then a jpeg would. So you don’t really wanna be saving large photographs as a gif since they’ll look kind of pixelated but on tumblr the gif has seriously become an art form.

It actually uses lossless compression but since it uses so few colors and the files are usually pretty small, the file sizes don’t get that big. Gifs also support transparency along with pngs which I will get to right now. Png which doesn’t have a fun initialism how are you suppose to say it? Ping, pinng, stands for portable network graphics. It was designed as a free open source follow up to the gif. Pngs are supported on the web. So if you need a still transparent image with a wider range of colors or big blocks of a single color then pngs are the way to go. For normal images though that don’t need the transparency jpegs are usually smaller file sizes and just look a little nicer. So if you don’t need the transparency then you should probably stick with jpeg. Moving on, if you’ve ever owned a DSLR camera you have probably come across raw images which are specific to each type of camera.

In general they’re lossless images that can be manipulated a lot more broadly than the already compressed images. You’re not gonna print or share a raw image. Think of them as digital negatives. If you’re doing professional photography raw images offer a lot more flexibility but if you’re just doing normal every day stuff it’s really not super necessary to use them. Confession time, I never actually use raw images when I’m editing photos. It’s just a bit of a hassle. Photoshop’s extension is .psd and they can be read by other Adobe programs but outside of the Adobe family you might noe be able to open them. Psds are what you use while your project is in progess to keep all of your layers intact and not have any compression. And if you’re using multiple Adobe products then they can all read Photoshop layers so if you’re doing like animation and after effects then psds will be your best friend. Pdfs or portable document format will also keep Photoshop layers intact, although obviously that will increase the file size.

They can also handle both raster and vector images and pretty much every computer out there these days has a program that can read pdfs. So pdfs are great to print from and to share across computers but you’re not really gonna embed a pdf on the web. I mean unless you’re like sharing a document but not like an image file. Ok so speaking of vector file formats, Ai is an Adobe Illustrator document. Just like the psd is, it’s a file format you’ll use while you’re in progress on a project. Like psds they can’t always be read outside of the Adobe Suites, so that is where the eps comes in. Eps stands for encapsulated post script. And it is a much more flexible vector format. So if you have a logo or a vector illustration that needs to be shared across a variety of programs than eps is the way that you want to go. So there you go, I know there are a lot of other specialized file formats that I didn’t really talk about and I know I kind of lost over a little bit of the technical details but I just wanted to cover the stuff that you might come across and actually use in your daily life.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and or what other graphic design-y things you want me to talk about next. Also I will give a virtual high five to anyone who goes back through this video and counts how many times I used either an acronym or an initialism. So if you missed my last two videos you can watch them right here and right here. Sorry I’m kind of filming this in advance. So I’m not entirely sure what those two videos are going to be, but you guys know, I don’t know, you know, you can see them right there. As always, I’ll have a playlist down below that has all of my graphic design videos all in one place and I think that’s it. Thank you so much for watching and I will see you all next time. Yeah, I’m actually filming this before I’m leaving on my road trip to pick up the Ford Fiesta even though I’ll be posting it after that so time travel, so if I got into like some terrible car accident and I’m sitting in a coma by the time you’re watching this, that’s really morbid, I don’t, I don’t wanna think about that.

Let’s not think about that. Follow me on Twitter that way you’ll know I’m okay. Okay bye guys..

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