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Graphic File Formats

PSD � Adobe Photoshop File Format

PSD — Adobe Photoshop File Format

The .PSD (Photoshop Document) format stores an image as a set of layers, including text, masks, opacity, blend modes, color channels, alpha channels, Clipping paths, and duotone settings. Photoshop's popularity means that the .PSD format is widely used, and it is supported to some extent by most competing software.

Photoshop also has strong ties with other Adobe software for media editing, animation and authoring. Files in Photoshop's native format, .PSD, can be exported to and from Adobe ImageReady, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and Adobe Encore DVD to make professional standard DVDs, provide non-linear editing and special effects services such as backgrounds, textures and so on for television, film and the Web. For example, Photoshop CS broadly supports making menus and buttons for DVDs. For .PSD files exported as a menu or button, it only needs to have layers, nested in layer sets with a cueing format and Adobe Encore DVD reads them as buttons or menus.

ASL � Adobe Photoshop Style Layer File Format

ASL — Adobe Photoshop Style Layer File Format

Style that can be applied to an object or a layer in a Photoshop document; includes effects like a bevel, drop shadow, color overlay, or border. The custom Styles can reproduce the look of different objects and effects such as gold, silver, fire, water, smoky effect, old films, sepia images, diamonds, jewelry, and many other. You can view and select preset styles from the Styles palette, from the Layer Styles dialog box, or, after you select a pen tool or shape tool, from the Layer Styles pop-up palette in the options bar.

PAT � Pattern File Format

PAT — Pattern File Format

A pattern is an image that is repeated, or tiled, when you use it to fill a layer or selection. Bitmap image used as a pattern that can be imported into multiple graphics programs: Adobe Photoshop, ACD Systems Canvas, Corel Paint, Shop Pro, and CorelDRAW.

Preview the Patterns

ATN � Adobe Photoshop Action File Format

ATN — Adobe Photoshop Action File Format

An action is a series of commands that you play back on a single file or a batch of files.

JPEG � Joint Photographic Experts Group

JPEG — Joint Photographic Experts Group

The JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg file extension) is the other most common file format for images on the Web. It is not limited to 256 colors, so you can use it to display high-quality photographs, or pictures containing millions of colors. Because it is designed as an image storage format, it can efficiently compress large, high-quality photos into very compact files, so it is very useful when you want to send a large image in e-mail. However, the more you reduce your image's file size (or modify and re-save the image), the more image information is discarded — and quality is decreased. Moreover, this format does not support transparency or animation. Use JPEG files for:

  • Web images
  • Optimized Photographs
  • DVD photo-albums
  • Online photo-galleries
TIFF � Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF, TIF)

TIFF — Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF, TIF)

TIFF is a flexible bitmap image format supported by virtually all paint, image-editing, and page-layout applications. Also, virtually all desktop scanners can produce TIFF images. TIFF documents have a maximum file size of 4 GB. TIFF format supports CMYK, RGB, Lab, Indexed Color, and Grayscale images with alpha channels and Bitmap mode images without alpha channels. TIFF format is widely supported by image-manipulation applications such as Photoshop by Adobe, GIMP, Ulead PhotoImpact, and Photo-Paint as well as Paint Shop Pro by Corel, by desktop publishing and page layout applications, such as QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign, and by scanning, faxing, word processing, optical character recognition, and other applications. TIFF was chosen as the native format for raster graphics in the NeXTstep operating system, and this TIFF support carried over into Mac OS X.

TIFF file format is the best for print (prepress) high-quality images used in magasins, posters, bilbords, packaging designs, catalogs, etc.

GIF � Graphics Interchange Format

GIF — Graphics Interchange Format

GIF images are compressed using the LZW lossless data compression technique to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality. The format uses a palette of up to 256 distinct colors from the 24-bit RGB color space. It also supports animations and allows a separate palette of 256 colors for each frame. The color limitation makes the GIF format unsuitable for reproducing color photographs and other images with continuous color, but it is well-suited for more simple images such as graphics or logos with solid areas of color.

AI � Adobe Illustrator File Format

AI — Adobe Illustrator File Format

Adobe Illustrator Artwork (AI) is a proprietary file format developed by Adobe Systems for representing single-page vector-based drawings in either the EPS or PDF formats. The .ai filename extension is used by Adobe Illustrator. AI is a widely used format for the exchange of 2D objects.

Originally written for the Macintosh platform, Adobe Illustrator is a well-known and widely used drawing application. There are currently Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, and NeXT versions. Much of the power of Adobe Illustrator comes from its implementation of Bezier splines as drawing objects, and the fact that it presents a simple user interface for precise positioning of spline-based drawing objects. Bezier splines have some advantages for the modeling of natural (and some human-made) objects. AI files are also used to distribute clip art.

Files created in Adobe Illustrator can be exported in many different formats: BMP, TGA, EPS, PNG, DWG, DXF, EMF, SWF, JPG, PCT, PDF, PSD, TIFF, TXT, WMF.

EPS � Encapsulated PostScript File Format

EPS — Encapsulated PostScript File Format

Vector images are best used for high-resolution print use, because they present the best possible image on any print device at any size or resolution. Common vector file formats include:

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is the vector graphics file format used by the PostScript language. The term EPS usually implies that the file contains a bit-mapped representation of the graphics (normally in TIFF format) for on-screen display purposes as well as the vector image information for printing. EPS is best used for print, since it is device independent and delivers the best output at any size/resolution. It is also designed with the print color space in mind — spot or CMYK colors.

Describe images as mathematical formulas that define all the shapes in the image.

Vector graphics are more flexible than bit-mapped graphics because they are not resolution or device dependent and can be resized and stretched, potentially being output on any device, with any resolution, and at any size.

Vector file sizes tend to be relatively small since all graphic objects are defined by mathematical formula.

Programs that enable you to create and manipulate vector graphics are generally called draw programs.

EPS (encapsulated post script) - EPS files are used for printing in page layout applications, such as Adobe Pagemaker or QuarkXpress. EPS files can be scaled up or down without losing any image quality as they do not have a fixed resolution. The EPS format works on the PC and MAC platforms; however, an EPS file will appear as a gray box in a page layout program on a PC if the file isn't saved in a generic EPS format. EPS-formatted images may not work well in Corel WordPerfect or MS Word. An EPS file can be edited in a graphics or photo editing program (such as Adobe Photoshop) to create a fixed-resolution file and then converted to another format.

Note: most output devices, including dot-matrix printers, laser printers, and display monitors, are raster devices. This means that all objects, even vector objects, must be translated into bit maps before being output. The difference between vector graphics and bitmap graphics is that vector graphics are not translated into bit maps until the last possible moment, after all sizes and resolutions have been specified.



The ZIP file format is a popular data compression and archival format. A ZIP file contains one or more files that have been compressed, to reduce their file size, or stored as-is.

The format was originally designed by Phil Katz for PKZIP. However, many software utilities other than PKZIP itself are now available to create, modify, or open (unzip, decompress) ZIP files, notably WinZip, BOMArchiveHelper, KGB Archiver, PicoZip, Info-ZIP, WinRAR, IZArc, 7-Zip, ALZip and CAM UnZip.

Which file format is better for Print media and for Web sites?

  Print Web



Photoshop Help with downloaded files:
- PSD (Photoshop files)
- ASL (Photoshop preset styles)

Graphic programs

I have extensive work experience. I've been lucky enough to work in both medias: Publishing and Web. And I learned many programs, among them: FreeHand, CorelDraw, Illustrator, Photoshop (before when there was only one floating layer), 3-D Max, Maya, Pixelmator and others. Today they are all good programs. However I would recommend these software:

Adobe Illustrator Vector and liner graphics

Tutorials on Adobe web site.

Adobe Photoshop Image editing,
web site designing,
creating a video

Tutorials on Adobe web site.

Adobe InDesign Designing professional layouts:
print media,
web media,
business documents (PDF), etc...

Tutorials on Adobe web site.

Adobe Dreamweaver Designing web pages,
uploading on the hosting server (FTP),
Subversion (SVN)

Tutorials on Adobe web site.

Recently, I bought a new software for image editing called Pixelmator. I find it very good. Like Photoshop was used to be just photo editing at the begging, Pixelmator is simple to use and it serves the essential for image editing work. If you don't need to work on editing photos each day, Pixelmator will do the job with very small investment. (It cost me $30 - one time payment.)

This page was last updated October 7, 2014.