Image File Extensions and When to Use Them
A JPG or JPEG is a Raster Image most commonly used when saving images from the web. When saving an image, consider the medium you will be using it for. If this image is going up on a website, you want to save it as small as possible so the page will load faster. If you will be using the image for a print design, you want to save it as large as possible so it won’t appear pixelated when printed on a large scale. A JPG image cannot be saved with a transparent background, so make sure when using a JPG the background matches the design you are placing it on. Consider using a JPG image for photographs on a website, or for printing photos at home.
A PNG is also a Raster Image. PNG images can be saved with a transparent background, unlike JPG images. This makes a PNG more versatile to use against different color backgrounds. PNG’s can also be saved in a larger size with better quality. Consider using a PNG image for logos and images to be placed in a website or on print materials that have colored backgrounds.
A GIF is a Raster Image. A GIF should be used for images containing only a few colors, so a photograph would not be ideal as a GIF. The number of colors that make up a GIF determine it’s image size, with a maximum amount of 256 colors. So GIF’s are most suitable for web graphics such as buttons or icons.
A TIF or TIFF is a large Raster Image, but still maintains a quality image. These are best used for photographs on large scale prints such as Banners. A TIF should not be used for a webpage since it would slow down the page’s loading speed.
An EPS is a Vector Image that contains graphics, text, or illustrations. It’s easy to resize an EPS to the image size desired since it is a vector image. It’s also convenient because an EPS can be transferred and edited after it’s been saved.
An Ai file is a editable Vector Image that has been created in Adobe Illustrator, however it can only be opened in Adobe Illustrator as well. An Ai file is not a finished extension for placing images in prints or websites, consider it to be a working file. AI files are used for creating designs for business logos, graphics, illustrations, layouts, and images.
A ZIP file contains more than one file. That makes it easier and faster to download or transfer multiple files at once. A ZIP file can generally be opened by double clicking the icon or by right-clicking and selecting “Open”.