Which image file format is best?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by c073186, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. c073186 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #1
    If I want to save a Photoshop file in a different format so that I can send the picture to a person and have him print it, which file format is the best in terms of quality?
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    Quality? No (reasonable) limit on size? A .tif should do the trick. If it's got type done in Photoshop in it, maybe a PDF. Have you asked them?
     
  3. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #3
    Welcome back, BV ...

    Second the vote for TIFF files. Eliminate the layers (if there are any) by unchecking the layer option in the Save As dialogue if the recipient doesn't need to edit at their end, and turn on LZW compression if size is still an issue.

    I've just saved a 90mmx90mm 300dpi RGB Photoshop with four layers using the following options:

    Layers preserved, no LZW:4.2Mb
    Layers perserved w/ LZW: 880Kb
    Flattened, no LZW: 3.5Mb
    Flattened, w/ LZW: 244Kb

    Note that all these options are lossless beyond the active choice to retain or discard layer info. The actual image quality will be unaffected.

    Historically, I have encountered printers whose RIPs have thrown major wobblies confronted with LZW TIFFs. This was several years ago, but turned out to be such an issue that I've avoided LZW ever since.

    I suspect that technology has moved on a bit since then, but if you use LZW to keep the file size down and there are printing issues at the recipient's end, getting them to open the document and re-save without LZW should be your first thought.

    Hope that helps ...

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    For most practical purposes a JPG with a quality setting over 10 is good enough. Any other format is going to be huge. In theory a tiff format file is beter but also it is 10X larger and the difference in terms of how it will print is not detectable. tiff really is best only if the file is to be edited or adjusted. But if it is printer-ready than jpg is OK.

    You said "best". So it would be best if you ask what size the image will be printed and then re-sampled to that size at 300 DPI. SO if the image needs to be 6 inches wide send a file that is 1800 pixels wide.
     
  5. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #5
    TIFF for Print
    TIFF for geospatial
    PNG for Vectors
    TARGA for Broadcast
    JPEG for Photos
    Animated GIFs for that 1996 feel ;)
     
  6. ruskiwi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Nelson, NZ
    #6
    Send how? On CD by mail or over the Net? As long as you both have a fast connection like cable or DSL you could send it as a tiff. That would be the best quality but will be a heckofa big file.
     
  7. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #7
    Not if - as I've shown above - you use the LZW algorithm when saving. The compression is really quite impressive, with the sole proviso that it might need re-saving at the recipient's end without LZW depending upon the preference/requirements of whoever is going to do the final output.

    Cheers!

    Jim
     
  8. ert3 macrumors 6502a

    ert3

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2007
    #8
    Tif
    PNG
    PDF
    JPG

    in that order for high quality
     
  9. LeviG macrumors 65816

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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #9
    I normally ask the printer what format they would prefer, just about every printer I've dealt with is different in one way or another and depends on the required output (ie magazine or photograph).

    I would probably send a flattened photoshop file (a copy of the original and to maintain fonts) or a high res pdf assuming they can open them.
    If not it would be tif before jpeg.
     
  10. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #10
    Most if not all printers like TIF (TIFF) files. As already suggested find out what their printer prefers.
     
  11. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 7, 2005
    #11
    What's the difference in PNG and TIFF as it comes to quality? If both are lossless, as it appears, why would one be preferred over the other?

    Not a designer here, just interested.
     
  12. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #12
    TIF is more widely accepted by printers.

    Some earlier versions of DTP software would only accept TIF image files, thankfully those days are well behind us now but some printers still prefer what they have used for years.

    (I have been doing a little photographic work for the National Trust and their graphic designer (in her mid 20's) will only accept TIF image files)
     
  13. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 7, 2005
    #13
    So it's not like they use different color models? (I suppose both formats support plenty?)
     
  14. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #14
    Most printers will tell you to send a non compressed .tif file, as compressing with lzw compression kills the quality & many rip's have trouble with them.
    LZW is NOT lossless, you lose quite a bit of information, which is why you get a file that is 10x less.
    JPEG is also lossy, and if you zoom in in photoshop to 200% you see a dramatic difference.
    I stand by .TIF as the format to send, I am a print guy primarily, and 200,000 printers can't be wrong.
     
  15. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #16
    Thank you. Those who can't handle a TIFF with LZW compression are working in 1995.
     
  16. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #17
    But, depressingly, they do exist ...

    Cheers!

    Jim
     

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