Is there anyone who expects to work with low-quality images in his/her project? Surely not! No one will ever think of destroying image quality while saving it. Well! Before capturing in the most appropriate format, you must know about its types along with their features.
Image formats are different file formats to store your images for different purposes. The two most popular categories of the formats are Raster Images and Vector Images. We have dedicated this article to explore 11 of the best quality image formats which we are listing below.
The most widely used image format is JPEG. JPEG (or JPG) is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPEG format is supported by major browsers and platforms all around the internet and even the pictures you click on your mobile are automatically saved in jpeg format.
But since is a Raster Image Format with lossy compression, it’ll reduce both the quality, text readability, and size of your image.
Short for Portable Network Graphics, the PNG format is the next most popular image format after JPEG. It is another Raster Image Format that has lossless compression supported by the vast majority of browsers. This means that this format stores your image in high quality and preserves color and contrast as well as better text readability.
The biggest disadvantage to using png is that the file sizes are large and if used excessively, it can slow down your website.
AI is a part of the vector image format category which is exclusive to Adobe Illustrator. It is also a popular choice for storing graphic images and illustrations for many purposes. The format not only stores illustrations but also the project states and each line, layer, or strokes that can be customized or reversed.
Raster images can also be linked or embedded within this file format and it offers zero loss of image quality. The drawback though is that AI format images are not meant for web usage. Browsers or other platforms do not support this format and hence you have to ultimately convert the images to other formats for using them elsewhere.
Photoshop Document or PSD is an uncompressed Raster Image Format used exclusively for Adobe Photoshop. It is used mostly to flawlessly retain the quality of your image and to save pictures that you may want to edit more in the future since all the filters, transparency, and edits can be customized and reversed.
But this will not work if you have already merged all the separate layers together. Also, the scale of the images cannot be changed using this format, unlike AI. Though, much like AI, this format is also not meant for web usage.
SVG is the abbreviation for Scalable Vector Graphics. The name of this format is very self-explanatory. It is a vector image format that is best used for scaling images. It was originally a markup language created by W3C for correctly rendering 2D images within the browsers. The format uses XML texts to outline shapes and lines instead of using pixels.
So, images in SVG format can be used to scale images without losing quality. But the format itself isn’t the most ideal image file format due to its lack of versatility in functions. The SVG format is not supported by default image editors and is also not suitable for complex drawings.
Encapsulated Postscript or EPS is another vector code-based image format that does not need to rely on pixels or color mapping to outline shapes or lines much like SVG. It is great for storing illustrations from Adobe Illustrator or other AI-based photo editors. As it does not rely on traditional outlining techniques, this format offers lossless scaling for images and is also the best image format for large scale printing.
But the drawback to this format is that it is not supported by any major browsers or online platforms. Shots or Artworks are also not suited to be stored in EPS format.
The RAW format is the default format in which images clicked with a digital camera are stored for later use. RAW file formats can be divided into more different types of file formats such as — CRW (Canon), NEF (Nikon), KDC (Kodak), ARW (Sony), etc. This format allows images to have 16,348 different shades per color channel meaning that it is 14bit. This allows the user the flexibility to make more changes to the image’s color and contrast.
The RAW format is not supported by any major web browsers or graphic editors and so one has to ultimately convert it to JPEG or TIFF which means loss of quality to some extent and even then the files are very large meaning that it’ll slow down your website heavily.
BMP or Bitmap is a Raster file format that is almost uncompressed. It works by mapping pixels just like JPEG but the resolution it offers is usually much better. Bitmap files conserve memory and color depth so the quality of images stored in this format is higher and is good for complex real-life images.
BMP is not suitable for web uses or printing purposes. Also, as this format offers almost no compression, it creates large files that are impractical for usage when other better formats exist and hence the BMP format is now considered mostly outdated.
Another popular raster image format is TIFF that stands for Tagged Image File Format. It has lossy compression but is versatile in a way as it is also used as a lossless picture format. Professional graphic editing software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop supports this file format and the format is also well known for retaining image quality even for printing purposes.
But just like other formats, there are cons to the TIFF format as well. It has limited web support and major browsers cannot usually handle TIFF images without extra add ons. The files are also large so if used frequently, your website may slow down.
Short for Portable Document Format, PDF is mostly used for text-based documents that rely heavily on readability. But the thing that is unknown to many people about PDF is that this format stores data in the same Postscript language that is found in EPS file formats. Meaning that it is great for storing quality images and illustrations.
The disadvantage to this format though is that although supported on most major web browsers, as the format is mainly used for documents, regular graphic editing software does not support PDF formats for editing purposes.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is one of the popular Raster image formats with lossless compression. Having lossless compression means that there will be no information loss when images are stored in this format. It has great animation support which is supported by the majority of web browsers and platforms.
The drawback to this format is that it stores images in 8bit, meaning that your color palette is limited to 256 colors per channel only so quality is not preserved. Also, this format does not support printing at all.
So, finally…. Which image file format is perfect for your project? The answer to this question was the aim of our whole article where we dived into basic information, along with the uses of each format. But the final choice should be made by keeping in mind what your image will be used for.