There are many different types of graphics file formats. Which file format to choose when saving your work is important, and needs to be chosen based on a number of factors, including what kind of image you are working with, what you plan to do with the image next, and if you intend to publish the image, and if so where. In this tutorial, I shall review some of the main image file formats that Photoshop users should be aware of, when each one is best used, the pluses and minuses of each different format, and other points that you should think about when deciding between the various file formats.
If you are an Adobe Photoshop user, the most important format that you will use is PSD. PSD is Photoshop’s own native format for storing images. The big advantage of PSD is it retains all the intelligence (including layers), which allow you to easily manipulate the image. The disadvantages of this format are that PSD files tend to frequently be uncomfortably large, and additionally, PSD files can normally only be read by other Photoshop users (i.e. other graphics professionals), and not by ordinary mortals who don’t have access to the program. In summary, PSD is an ideal working format, and you should use it for projects that you are still working on. You should also keep a copy of the project saved into PSD format after the project is completed (so that you can go back to it to do further work if necessary), but you must always save into another format when distributing images to the public, or when preparing your work for printing.
Easily, the next most important file format is JPEG. JPEG files are best-known for saving photographic images, for example, images captured using a digital camera or scanner (as well as subsequent enhancements you have made to these images). This file format is based on a very clever and sophisticated compression scheme which is able to pack large and very detailed images into amazingly small file sizes. You should however be aware that JPEG is a lossy format that discards some fine detail from your images – not usually enough detail to noticeably affect photographic-type images – but this enough to make it unsuitable (because it leads and odd artifacts) for computer-drawn pictures with continuous areas of color.
There are numerous other file formats that you may encounter, but easily the next three most important are BMP, GIF and PNG.
* BMP is a file format used by many Microsoft Windows-based programs (including some of the applications bundled with Microsoft Windows). BMP files are usually not compressed at all, and that means BMP files tend to be large files, except in the cases where the BMP files contain only very small images.
* GIF and PNG are formats which are most frequently used on the internet – particularly for graphics embedded within web pages. GIF and PNG are compressed file formats but are both based on lossless compression, so they cause no loss of image detail from your images. GIF and PNG do not produce as small files as JPEG (especially not in the case of photographic images), but they won’t distort your images either. Take note however that the GIF format is limited to just 256 colors – but on the other hand, an advantage of GIF is that one file can efficiently store a whole series of images and these can be displayed in sequence thus producing a simple cartoon-like animation.
One final format which you could come across is TIFF. Once upon a time, TIFF was often required for desktop publishing applications, but nowadays I expect you’ll find that PNG or JPEG files are just as, if not even more, suitable.
Source by Sunil Tanna