Each of us, one way or another, is faced withimages. Let's look at the question of understanding this term a little more broadly. After all, image formats include not only graphics (drawings, photos, animations, animations, etc.), but also video. Let's dwell on the issues of converting files, as well as storing one or another type of information.

What are image formats?

This is information stored in a file that is designed to visualize data (display it on a playback device like a monitor, TV, printer, mobile device, etc.).

image formats

As for the information in the file, it is moreIn part, it describes the way of visualization, the method of creating a single static or dynamic image, its size (not to be confused with the size of the file itself), the number and depth of colors and their shades, and so on.

The concept of vector and raster graphics

First, let's consider what image formats are used exclusively in the standard understanding of graphics. It should be clearly delineated between vector and bitmap graphics. These two types are basic.

what image formats

Vector graphics allow you to producevisualization of an object on the basis of a mathematical description of the set of cumulative elements that make up the image, which are usually called primitives. These include the simplest concepts familiar to everyone from the school's bench. These are points, lines, curves, circles, polygons, etc.

The advantage of this approach isthe possibility of describing in an mathematical model an arbitrarily large number of individual elements without significantly increasing the final file size. In addition, scalability is very strong here, which allows you to resize each individual element or a complete set without losing the quality of the entire image. Such descriptive algorithm is suitable mainly for graphics created manually, for example, in some graphic editor. For photos, this method is not applicable.

image file formats

Raster graphics involve the use ofA special grid consisting of rectangular objects (points) of different colors, called pixels. Here, the quality of the picture is determined by the size of the grid (the more pixels in length and width or their total representation, the better the image), the number of colors and their depth, the applied color gamut (color space) and resolution (the number of pixels per unit area). In this case, this method allows you to process objects of any complexity and set the same smooth transitions from one color to another, which is not in the vector graphics. But with this simple images often have a very large file size, and the possibility of accurate scaling is reduced to almost zero.

The most common types of graphic images

Now let's look at the image file formats themselves, which are used in computer technologies most often.

BMP - the simplest version based on colorRGB scheme (red, green, blue) and having a rather weak compression algorithm without loss of quality. Advantages he has no, also files are very large.

JPG (JPEG) is the most common format,used most often to store photos. The compression is significant, but the loss of quality is very large. After strong compression, the source material can not be restored, but if minimized, the differences will be barely noticeable, and the file size will become significantly smaller.

PNG is one of the most interesting formats thatcan be compressed without any loss of quality. Animation does not support this format (as well as the previous two), but when using the so-called alpha channel, each pixel can be set with a transparency level, which makes it somewhat similar to the next type of graphics.

GIF - format, supporting animation and algorithmsstrong compression without loss of quality. Its main advantage is that you can create a series of images with a cyclic repeat or a change of one another. Despite the feeble depth of color, it is used mainly for "live" wallpaper, animated smiles and avatars.

TIFF is the format most commonly usedprofessional web designers because it has a high color depth (192 bits). Compression is done without loss, but working with this format without special preparation is very difficult. Browsers of this type almost do not support.

ICO - format for creating icons, becauseallows you to use very small size drawings. In terms of structure, it is somewhat similar to BMP, however, it supports transparency parameters like GIF and PNG.

EPS - a format of two varieties: vector and raster graphics. It is mainly used in publishing houses or for creating fonts, if in the future the image output involves the use of PostScript devices.

PICT is the most common Macintosh format. Its versatility lies in the fact that a single image file can contain vector and bitmap graphics, sound, have any color depth, and also use the progressive RLE compression method.

PCX - a format for storing raster images with a color depth of 24 bits. Compression is very fast, but not suitable for converting detailed graphics, such as photos.

RAW is a universal format used forimages coming directly from digital cameras. About it you can say that this is the format of the best image quality. Can serve as a source material when processing not only images, but also sound. In addition, meta-data support provides huge potential for processing and applying lossless compression algorithms or with loss of any level. The format is quite specific and requires certain knowledge when working with it.

File formats of specialized graphics editors

In addition to the standard types, you can separate out separately the formats of graphic images used in specialized editors.

PDF is a format that can contain text andgraphic data. Developed by Adobe. This format involves using different compression methods for each particular element contained in the final file. Today it is universal mainly for technical documentation in electronic form.

CDR - vector format of the graphic editor Corel Draw. You can process it only with this software package. Other editors are not supported, but easily exported to other formats.

AI - format of the program Adobe Illustrator,supported by most other editors. The main feature is the highest image stability and full compatibility with PostScript technology. Can be used as an intermediate format when translating from one to another.

PSD - the best image format softwarepackage Adobe Photoshop for intermediate editing complex images. Allows the use of layers and modes of mixing, but has a larger size compared to other formats. As the final format for saving files is used exclusively in the program itself.

Large Format Images

If we are talking about processing large-format images where high detail is required, then RAW, TIFF or PSD should be used.

image compression formats

However, many professional photo- andvideo cameras that have matrices at the level of 20-25 MP have their own standards. Most of them are adapted to the most common types of formats. Here everything depends only on the settings of the camera itself. The same goes for mobile devices.

Basic types of video and animation

Now let's briefly dwell on the video, becauseit can also be interpreted in a sense as an image, or rather as a set of alternating images (frames). Here the decisive factor is frame rate per second (fps) and image size in pixels.

image formats

Initially, at the dawn of digital video development, thisThere was a well-known AVI format, which is still used, because it is a kind of container containing information processed or compressed with completely different methods (codecs). A special decoder is required for playback.

A little later, there were such well-known formats asWMV, MPG, MKV, MP4, VOB, TS and many others, the latter can be considered even as the image formats of a high-definition TV, allowing you to play back files with HD, Full HD (2k) or Ultra HD (4k) quality standards.

Large format images

As for the animation, today the most famousis the technology of Flash. Originally it was the development of the corporation Macromedia, but then it was purchased by Adobe and substantially modernized. The format of such files is SWF. It is used mainly to create small animated movies, computer animation, banners or for simple games.

Mobile Systems

If we talk about mobile systems (smartphonesor tablets based on Android, iOS, Blackberry, etc.), then specialized image formats are extremely rare. In general, standard computer image formats are used for both graphics and video. However, without the installed codecs and decoders, some types of video will not be played. That is why we will have to solve the problem of converting the source material into another type.

For example, conventional phones perceive only the 3GP format. Android or iOS recommend using MP4. But in general, there are enough options.

Change the basic settings for images

Probably everyone understands perfectly well that editing should be done with the help of special programs.

best image format

The simplest operations on resizing, reflection, rotation, tilt and others can be performed even in the most primitive Paint editor, which is included in the package of any Windows operating system.

If more complex actions are required, say,changes in color, saturation, contrast, editing layers, splitting the image into separate components, etc., then you will have to use professional packages like the above-mentioned Corel Draw or Adobe Photoshop.

To edit the video there are their utilities,for example, Vegas Pro. In addition to the standard features, they can use specialized effects and modeling systems that allow you to transfer to a pre-built mathematical model a real image of the type of shooting of the Morpheus and Neo fight in the first part of the Matrix.

Convert formats

Conversion (conversion) is performed atutilities, called converters. One of the most prominent representatives is Xilisoft Video Converter, which can convert both graphics and video.

For graphics, you can prefer, for example, ACDSee Ashampoo Photo Commander, Free Image Convert And Resize or something else. Today, such programs can be found very much.

The only thing worth paying attention to isfinal format and possible loss of quality (image compression formats). When you view a picture or video on a smartphone or tablet, it will not be so noticeable, but on the TV panel the difference becomes very noticeable.

What format is preferred for data storage?

You can store photos on your computer in theJPG-format. When viewing them on the monitor, special clarity is not needed. Another thing is when the pictures need to be printed. It is better to use the original camera formats.

When translating one format to another, restore"Source" sometimes it will be simply impossible, so, providing files to the studio, changing their initial appearance is not recommended. An exception is if you have the necessary knowledge and edit yourself using professional software.

The same goes for the video. It all depends on which device it will be viewed on.


Image formats are numerous and varied,it can be graphics and video. The most popular formats were considered in the article. The issues of their processing and transformation, choice of software tools, the format used to store data, etc., each user decides himself.

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