List Of Common Image File Types

A person viewing several images on the web

In today’s digital era, visual content, such as images, has become an integral part of enhancing the online user experience. This is because images are known to attract users’ attention and improve user engagement. However, adding images to your website or web app isn’t enough. You need to optimize them the right way. Uploading large images that aren’t correctly optimized for the web can slow down your site and drive customers away. Web designers also need to ensure that the pictures they upload are responsive across different devices. As a result, people are mostly confused about the right image file type and size for the web. 

Fortunately, several tools are available today to resize and align images according to the web. For instance, you can use Filestack, the best file uploader, for React file upload

Why Is It Important To Choose The Correct Image File Type?

Today, hundreds of image formats are available with different characteristics. Knowing the characteristics of the common image formats can help you choose the most appropriate one for your project.

Whether you want to upload responsive photos to social media and websites, or design logos and edit graphics, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of each file type. Using the correct image file type can help you in many ways.

Ease of Sharing

When you use the correct image type for a specific project, designers and printers can easily open the files you send, and vice versa.

Better Image Quality

The right image format provides sharp results and correct colors without pixelation or distortion.

Software Compatibility

With the correct image file type, others can effortlessly edit your logos, images, and graphics.

Resizing Ability

With the right image resizing and cropping tool, you get the flexibility to scale to a variety of sizes, such as printing a business card, a movie poster, or a website.

Filestack API offers various transformation engines to enhance and filter pictures, create collages, and resize and crop images. For example, you can resize a photo, apply a filter, and convert it to a polaroid using Filestack. It also helps developers with fast image uploads and supports in-browser image editing. Filestack also offers a JavaScript file picker that allows you to integrate a file picker for the web, Android and iOS.

What Are The Different Types Of Image Files?

Different image file types

Raster Image Files

Raster images use a series of pixels or individual blocks with color and tonal information to form an image. The quality of these pixel-based image files depends on the resolution – the number of pixels an image consists of and the number of pixels displayed per inch. The higher the number of pixels an image has, the higher the resolution and image quality will be. For example, when you stretch the pixels, they become distorted, resulting in blurry or unclear images.

Raster images are commonly used in everyday life. For example, every photo you find online or in print is a raster image. Some of the most used raster image extensions include GIF, JPEG, and PNG.

Vector Image Files

Vector images use points, curves, and lines, and are constructed using mathematical formulas instead of pixels. This makes vector images far more flexible than raster images. As a result, it’s possible to resize vector images infinitely with any image quality issues. If you’re creating graphics that require frequent resizing, it’s best to use EPS, PDF, or AI. 

You should always create logos and brand graphics as vector images, and must have a master file on hand.

What Are Some Of The Most Commonly Used Image File Formats?

Numerous image file formats are available today, and it can be challenging to decide which file type best suits your image needs. Below are the most common image file types to help you choose the right ones for your projects:

TIFF

Developed in 1986, TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. These are lossless image files for storing raster images. This means TIFF images don’t lose any image quality or information (although there are options for compression) allowing for very high-quality images and larger file sizes. Graphic designers, photographers, and the publishing and printing industry mostly use TIFF images. A TIFF file has a “.tiff” or “.tif” extension. 

Bitmap

Developed by Microsoft for Windows, Bitmap or BMP image file type is another raster graphics image format. Like TIFF, there is no compression or information loss with BMP files, resulting in high-quality images with large file sizes. However, BMP is a proprietary format, so using TIFF files is the better option.

JPEG Image File Type

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Groups. It is a lossy compression file format, which means the image is compressed to make a smaller file. Due to the compression, there is a slight loss in image quality. However, this loss is generally not noticeable. You can adjust the degree of compression for optimal storage size and image quality. 

JPEG files are very common on the Internet and are also a popular format for digital cameras. They are ideal for web use and non-professional prints.

GIF

GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, files are widely used for web graphics. The use of GIFs on social media platforms is also pretty common these days. These files are typically small in size and are very portable. 

Some key characteristics of GIF files include:

  • They are limited to only 256 colors
  • They allow for transparency
  • You can animate GIFs

PNG Image File Type

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. A PNG file is a lossless image format that was originally designed to improve and replace the GIF format. PNG images can handle up to 16 million colors, unlike the 256 colors supported by the GIF image file type.

EPS 

An EPS, or Encapsulated PostScript, file is a common vector image file type used for high-quality image printing. These use cases of these image files include large posters and billboard ads. Popular illustration applications such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW also support this image file type.

PDF

PDF files use the same PostScript language that powers EPS vector image files. You can use this file format to save images, illustrations, magazine covers, and more. 

PSD

PSDs or Photoshop Documents are the standard file format of Adobe Photoshop, the most popular graphics editing software. These files are saved with the “.psd” extension and contain multiple image layers and various imaging options. Hence, modifying such images is much easier. A PSD file can hold as many as 30,000 pixels (both width and height), and the file size can extend to up to 2 gigabytes. Publishers, graphic designers and artists, and many other professionals use PSD files. 

AI

AI image format is also developed by Adobe. However, it allows users to save not just an image, but also the project state. Like PSD, it’s not meant for use on the web – no current web browser supports this file format.

How Can You Optimize Your Images For Web?

Filestack API

Here are some tips for you to ensure the graphics on your website are beautiful and crisp:

Are You Saving Images In The Proper Color Space?

Computers use two color spaces to display images, namely RGB and CMYK. RGB, or “red, green, blue” is the standard color space for digital devices and screens. Any image produced by a camera or computer is saved in this color profile by default. In contrast, the CMYK color profile is for print. You can also use a program like Adobe Photoshop to convert CMYK RGB to ensure your images are vivid and bright on the web.

If your image is of low quality, you can use Filestack image enhancer to improve image quality.

Do You Compress The File Sizes?

If you’re saving images for the web, it’s best to use a file size of less than 2MB (2048 kilobytes) for fast page loading speeds. The image quality depends on several factors, including the final file size and compression. With the right mix of compression, image size, and quality, you can achieve optimal image quality and small file size.

Filestack Auto Image Conversion automatically modifies the encoding of an image to deliver a compressed and optimized WebP or JPEG image for better app performance.

Are You Using The Correct File Format?

The correct file format is the key to uploading high-quality images with the right file size. For example, JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG are perfect for the web, while PSD and AI formats are made for the web. We’ve discussed different types of common image formats above to help you choose the right one for your needs. 

Do You Upsize Smaller Images?

If your raster image is small and you want to resize it to be larger, we recommend upsize it by 115% incrementally in Adobe Photoshop. Doing this will reduce the amount of pixelation that will occur as you increase the physical size of the image.

Filestack helps you create responsive images and also allows you to instantly generate a new version of the image at the perfect size.

Conclusion

There are several different image file formats available today, and choosing the right one for a specific use case can help you produce high-quality images. For instance, you can use JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG for the web. 

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