Understanding Common Image File Types

Understanding Image File Types, Lovelytocu.ca

When you purchase art work online, whether for your website or blog, a digital craft project or to print out and use as a physical product it is handy to know and understand the file types that are being offered with your purchase.

The following is a list of the most common image file types and design file types offered with a digital art work purchase:

Common Image Types

JPEG - this is the default file format for photographs and is ideal for any image file with complex color gradients. JPG does not support transparency and if repeatedly edited and saved will be degraded in quality each time.

TIFF - used mainly in professional photography printing this file type is not widely supported by web browsers.  

PNG - used specifically for clip art as this file type offers transparency enabling images to be easily layered into design work.  Well supported by web browsers PNG files are lossless and often provide a sharper web image for illustrations containing simple color blocks than JPEG versions.  

SVG - there is a lot more to this file type than I will describe here, but the basics are that this image file is scalable, meaning you can resize without any resolution loss.  this is a popular file type for use with cutting machines like Cricut or Silhouette and more traditionally in web design.

DXF - this is a type of AutoCAD file and typically presents as a simple outline of a graphic. this is now commonly used by cutting machine users wanting to edit and personalize graphics in their cutting machine software.

GIF - this file type has been around for a long while and is suitable for static images with few colors and a simple design.  It's popular for mini animation with a low file size perfect for web applications.

BMP - created originally for Windows (think MS Paint) this file type doesn't support transparency but does provide nice sharp graphics.  Unfortunately the file size for BMP does not make them useful for web so they remain a print only file format when used.

Image as Document File

PDF - a file format that is used to present and share documents containing text or graphics independent of software, hardware or operating system. this offers a reliable way to present printable art work or design files. PDF files can be either fixed or editable depending on how they are designed and set up.

Software Specific Files

AI - Adobe Illustrator software files which can only be opened in software programs compatible with this file extension

PSD - Adobe Photoshop software files which can only be opened in software programs compatible with this file extension

EPS - typically created by Adobe Illustrator, the advantage of an EPS version is that it can be opened in other software programs aside from Adobe. however depending on which software you have used to open it with you may only be able to access the image preview.

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