9 File Formats Explained

Ample Labels What are the File Formats

Nine file formats explained.

Each file format (Bitmap) you see printed on paper, plastic, or even a t-shirt came from an image file. Each file is optimized for a specific purpose and can come in a variety of different formats. File formats are also made for organizing and storing digital images. They are then used to transport information from one platform to the next.
Choosing the right file can mean the difference between a picture-perfect image or a poor quality image.

Let’s dive in!
Ample File Types

Lossy vs. Lossless

Depending on how the file format handles the image data, each file is either a lossy or a lossless file format. But what is a Lossy and Lossless file? Let us explain.

LOSSLESS (EX. RAW) Preserves or captures all the files’ original data. All photos, art pieces, and text are NOT lost. Lossless files can be compressed and still preserve all the files’ data to its original state.
 
LOSSY (EX. JPEG) Loses the data and quality of an image file, which is irreversible. The Lossy files will get rid of unnecessary data. Making the file smaller and, in the process, reducing the quality of the image.
 
Let’s look at each format up-close to find out when and when not to use them!

9 File Formats Explained

9 File Formats Explained

Raster Image Files:

JPEG/JPG

JPEG is a raster format that stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is the most used online file format because of the flexibility of compression. If you need an image to download quickly, JPEG is a perfect choice. Using the method of lossy compression for photos, email graphics, and large web images. Granted, JPEG file sizes can leave a poor-quality image by an increase or decrease of an image compressed. As a result, JPEG’s are created for posting online and are not recommended for printing.

Eagle Uncompressed Image Ex

Uncompressed File

Compressed Eagle Image Example

Compressed File

9 File Formats Explained

Use JPEG when:

Don't use JPEG when:

GIF

Nine file formats explained.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
 
GIFs are a series of soundless animated videos or images that loop continuously together and doesn’t require anyone to press play.
For instance, GIF files are a web image format, typically used for animated graphics like ads, emails, and social media memes. They are exported in several customizable settings that reduce file size, colors, and image information.

9 File Formats Explained 

How do you pronounce gif? The creator of GIF says “JIFF” like peanut butter, while a large part of the world calls it “GIFF” with the “GUH” sound. It’s up to you how you want to pronounce it.

Use GIF when:

Don't use GIF when:

PNG

PNG (Portable Network Graphics). 
PNGs are best used for online text and graphics with high-quality image sizes. They have a built-in transparency background that allows other images to be seen behind them. Also, allowing a true replication of a RAW image with reduced file size. PNGs are quickly becoming one of the most common image formats used online.

PNG File Ex

Use PNG when:

9 File Formats Explained

Don't use PNG when:

TIFF/TIF

TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format which, are large file formats with extremely high-quality raster images used with professional photography. The files; are also used as a storage container for multiple image files like JPEGs to be edited at a later date.

TIFF File Ex.

Use TIFF when:

Don't use TIFF when:

PSD

PSD Logo File

PSD = Photoshop Document (works with photos).
PSD is a proprietary layered image format that stands for
Photoshop Document. These are original design files created in Photoshop that are fully editable with many layers and image adjustments. PSDs are primarily used to create and edit raster images, making them flexible for many different projects. as a result, PSD files can be exported into any number of image file formats, including all the raster formats listed above.

PSD File Ex.

Use PSD when:

Don't use PSD when:

9 File Formats Explained

Vector Files:

RAW

A RAW image contains the unprocessed data captured by a digital camera or scanner’s sensor. These files are of the highest quality that you can get in any image format. Typically, images are processed and then converted and compressed into another format (e.g. JPEG or TIFF). Raw images store the unprocessed and processed data in two separate files. So you’re left with the highest quality image possible that you can then edit with either Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.

There are dozens and dozens of raw formats, but some of the typical formats are CRW (Canon), NEF (Nikon), and DNG (Adobe).

Use RAW when:

Don't use RAW when:

PDF

PDF (Portable Document Format) is an image file format used to display documents and graphics. No matter the device, PDF files have a powerful vector graphic foundation. They can display everything from digital graphics to spreadsheets while keeping the quality intact. PDF files are often the standard file format requested by printers to be sent into production. Both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator can export straight to PDFs. Great for sharing with clients.

Acrobat Logo for PDF File
PDF Poster File Ex.

Use PDF when:

Don't use PDF when:

AI

Adobe Illustrator Logo Ex.

AI is an exclusive vector program that stands for Adobe Illustrator. The format is great for printing but cannot be embedded online. AI files are a vector-based format, that can also include embedded or linked raster images. Furthermore, AI files are easy for reviewing and printing and can be exported to both PDF and EPS files. For web-use and further editing, Ai can use JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and PSD

Create Abstract Graphics

Logo Ai File Format Ex.

Create Logos

Use AI when:

Don't use AI when:

9 File Formats Explained

EPS

EPS Logo File
Adobe Illustrator Logo Ex.

Lastly, EPS is a graphics format that stands for Encapsulated PostScript. An EPS File is a Vector based format made for Adobe Illustrator. Just as a JPEG file is a Raster file format for Adobe Photoshop. Although it is used primarily as a vector format, an EPS file can include both vector and raster image data. Typically, an EPS file includes a single design element that can be taken and used in a larger design. EPS files are print-ready files converted to PNG, JPG, or GIF files for web use, but not for online use itself. Ideal for any design element that needs to be resized.

Use EPS when:

Don't use EPS when:

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