Image Formats: Which is Best for What


If you are a busy person who uses the computer everyday, chances are you have found yourself dealing with image formats for pictures, posters, and logos among many other things and wondering about the differences.

The question is always: what format is the best to use in most instances? The answer is: None of them and all of them.

Confused?

You see, it isn’t a question of what format is best. It’s not about JPG being better than PNG being better than GIF. It’s about which format is the best for which situation. One format might be perfect for one use and perfectly horrible for another.

Let’s take a look at a few of these image formats and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

celestial light

The most popular image format for the Internet is a JPG (or JPEG). This format is easy to use and compresses so that it can be easily sent (via email) and readily used.  Because it can be so easily compressed, the JPG will lose some of its quality. Still for easy use, a decent look and good color, the JPG is the winner for most Internet photo use.

BMP – Bitmap

BMP - Bitmap Image format

Probably the classiest format with the best quality is the BMP or Bitmap. This format cannot be compressed, so it is not as easy to use but the look is incredible.

GIF – Graphic Interchange Format

GIF - Graphic Interchange Format

The GIF format has low volume and works with animation but because of its lack of a complete color spectrum, it is unsuitable for some photos or artwork.

PNG – Portable Network Graphics

PNG - Portable Network Graphics

The PNG has great quality, even with data compression, but is not as “voluminous” as the BMP. Because it has the ability to have a transparent background, the PNG format can be very appealing in the right circumstances.

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format

TIFF - Tagged Image File Format

TIFF is a printer friendly image format that is excellent for desktop publishing and FAXing.

Raw File

Raw files are unprocessed information that come from your camera. This is a format that is an excellent place to begin any digital editing for your personal photos.

What Image Formats are Best Where?

Printing

The best formats for personal printing and desktop publishing are the TIFF or PNG files. files. TIFF is the best bet for actual printing; PNGs works well when sending through the Internet

Web Use

As previously mentioned, JPGs are the over-all best choice for the Internet, but the GIF as well as the PNG formats have their place in internet use. If you are working with animation, then GIF is the format you will want to use. PNGs are high in volume, making them not as easy to use in all cases, but the quality is so good that they should be considered when high quality is absolutely necessary.

The Winner

And as mentioned previously, the over-all winner for easy use and a relatively good look, is the JPG, If you are on the web a lot, especially as a blogger, then the JPG may be the best use for your personal computer needs.


This is a guest post by Aimee Sway, blogging for PrintExpress.co.uk, one of the top printing companies. Follow her on Twitter @ PrintExpressUK and like on Facebook!

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