Introduction to Images

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Introduction to Images

There are multiple image formats that exist, almost all of them have limitations, and only you can decide what format you should use. The formats that will be discussed are GIF, JPEG, PNG, and BMP.

Letís start with the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). GIF supports transparency, Web use, and animation, but it also only supports 256 colors. Any color that is not in that color range appears as a dot, which really distorts images such as photographs that have a wide range of colors. If you have an artwork which needs to be animated, and you only have a small selection of colors, than go ahead and use a GIF. Another nice feature that the GIF image supports is a process called interlacing. Interlacing is where the image will load in steps rather than loading the image vertically. When interlacing, the image will begin to load blurred, but it will load clear. This process is beneficial if you have a large image, but donít want the user to wait a whole five minutes before they begin to see the first few horizontal pixel lines.

Letís move onto the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group). The JPEG (also called JPG) is another format that is supported on the Web. The JPEG format supports 16 million colors. When working with JPEG files, you the user, have to decide if you want to shrink the file size and quality as well, or preserve the quality and sacrifice load time to a large file size. The JPEG format uses a lossy compression technique in which information that the human eye can not usually detect is discarded.

Now the PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is a format that isnít used entirely too much in the internet community, but is becoming more popular as we speak. Although it is not supported by all browsers, it is an improvement from the GIF file format. The PNG format lets users save, change, and resave the file without losing quality. It lets the user control the degree of the transparency, called the opacity. However, the PNG does have a downfall, it does not support animation alike the GIF.

The BMP (Bitmap) is a file that I would rather not like to talk about too much in depth because it is rather dull. The bitmap saves files at an incredibly large file size, and it is resolution dependant, therefore your printer needs to print on average 150 to 300 pixels per inch for it to appear accurately.

Now, I can not tell you what file type you should use because there are several aspects that vary on what you need, but one of these formats should suit and your website quite well.


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