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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Image File Formats

When working with images there are several things that need to be taken into consideration.  One major element is image file formats. How do you know which format to use?
Digital Output Formats
Digital output meaning web sites, multimedia and really anything that will have a final output on a monitor.  The standard rule of thumb is JPEG for full color images such as photos and GIF for line drawings and illustrations like a logo. 
Jpegs show off full color images nicely, with the capability of dropping enough pixels to compress the file yet maintaining the integrity of the image.  A properly saved jpeg can show all the vivid details of a photo yet maintain a reasonable file size for digital transmission. 
Gifs show off line drawings well because they don’t drop pixels.  Really something as simple as a line drawing can’t afford to have the loss in pixels that a jpeg would produce.  In addition a gif has the capability of knocking out the background which allows more design freedom.
Print Output Formats
Print means just that, final output is through a printer on to a hard copy like paper.  If you are printing a low level image to your home printer you could get away with a high resolution jpeg.  If you plan on having professional printing done then you need to format images like photos as TIFF files, and line drawings or illustrations as EPS.  These format requirements could vary based on the equipment your professional print shop has so it is a great idea to ask your print representative their requirements up front.
Having just the right image format for your project can mean the difference between crystal clear graphics and fuzzy graphics so take the extra time to save properly in production to save you headaches and even money later in the project.

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