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Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic) - Adobe Illustrator Windows

This question is probably a bit off-topic, but this forum always comes up with really helpful answers, so here goes: Being new to computer graphics stuff, I sometimes struggle with which file type a graphic should be for various applications. For example, for my workplace I often produce simple MS-Word based doents that have images placed in them. Up to now I've usually saved the images as jpegs and varied the amount of compression depending on the desired doent size. Often the images look a bit crappy, though. Recently, I've just come across png files, which seem to work well ...

  1. #1

    Default Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    This question is probably a bit off-topic, but this forum always comes up with really helpful answers, so here goes:

    Being new to computer graphics stuff, I sometimes struggle with which file type a graphic should be for various applications. For example, for my workplace I often produce simple MS-Word based doents that have images placed in them. Up to now I've usually saved the images as jpegs and varied the amount of compression depending on the desired doent size. Often the images look a bit crappy, though. Recently, I've just come across png files, which seem to work well in these doents, although in Photoshop they are accessed through 'save for web'.

    Can anyone give me an idea of the best use of file types such as .jpg, .tif, .png-8, .png-24, .sct (never heard of it), .svg? Also, if there are any file-type DON'Ts to be aware of.

    Thanks, and apologies to anyone who's offended by off-topic discussion.

    Steven
    Steven_Wild@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    Steven,

    JPEGs are solid, best suited for photos and similar images with many colours; raster. With Export you can set the resolution and colour mode, with SFW (Save For Web) you get 72 PPI and RGB.

    GIFs can be transparent, best suited for line art and single colours/simple gradients; raster, 72 PPI and RGB.

    TIFFs are like JPEGs, only better and larger; you can set the resolution and colour mode.

    PNGs are somewhat like GIFs, only some browsers support them.

    SVGs are vector, sizes from very small to very large, depending on complexity; only about 5% of internet users can read them.

    EMFs and WMFs are often huge and ugly; raster.

    Using raster format, it is always safest to choose the final pixel dimensions when saving.

    For printing only with (inkjets) printers that convert CMYK to RGB and print CMYK, RGB is better; otherwise CMYK is better for print.

    Maybe someone will tell you I am wrong.
    Jacob_Bugge@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)



    EMFs and WMFs are often huge and ugly; raster.




    Actually they are vector. WMFs are a common generic vector format which Microsoft Apps can read. I don't have much experience using them in Word, so I can't say how they would be handled. There might be printing and font issues, etc.

    For files from Illustrator, try using EPS. They should work well if you are printing to postscript, even if they don't look good on your monitor. Not sure what will happen sending to non-postscript printer.

    Steven, try downloading the 30 day trial version of InDesign. You will find it far more powerful than MS Word. It offers greater flexibility that will allow you to create more visually interesting doents. You can also drag and drop Illustrator artwork directly into InDesign. If your doents are sometimes sent to a printing press, you can create good PDF files from InDesign to send to the printer.
    Rob_Hecker.@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    What did I say?

    Well, as the Helpfile says:

    The Enhanced Meta File format is widely used by Windows applications as
    an intermediate format for exchanging vector graphics data. Illustrator
    may rasterize some vector data when exporting artwork to EMF format.






    The Windows Meta File format is an intermediate exchange format for 16-bit
    Windows applications. WMF format is supported by almost all Windows drawing
    and layout programs. It has limited vector graphics support, and wherever
    possible EMF format should be used in place of WMF format.




    Before the first posting I tried exporting a nice little 770 KB Illy thing with text and graphics and got a 3.3 MB EMF and a 1.36 MB WMF with heavily rasterized text and graphics (the only vector left was a simple gradient), immensely uglier than a slim 17.7 KB GIF with its 72 PPI.

    Oh, and there is a better word processing application if you want to make your word perfect; and that may push the limit to where you should throw your text and graphics into a layout application.
    Jacob_Bugge@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    Hello Jacob,

    A lot of clipart collections distribute their vector materials in wmf format. I'm not suprised that some elements from some Illustrator files would get rasterized when exported to wmf. It's a very old generic format.

    Cheers, Rob
    Rob_Hecker.@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    WMF and EMF are vector formats based on Microsoft's imaging model. The problem is that Microsoft's imaging model is both simpler and different from the PostScript and now PDF imaging model that Illustrator uses. The only way to faithfully represent a lot of things is to rasterize them.
    Paul_A_George@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    Thanks to you all for your feedback.

    Cheers,

    Steven
    Steven_Wild@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)

    Steven, off topic topics are often both nice and useful. I always learn something new from them.
    Jacob_Bugge@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Use of different file formats (a bit off-topic)



    PNGs are somewhat like GIFs, only some browsers support them.




    In an MS-Office workflow, PNG may be the most useful raster format. Unlike GIF, PNG supports the RGB color space, (24 bit), high resolution, and transparency. It's also quite useful, due to its transparency support, when preparing raster graphics for import to Flash or Director.

    And, Save For Web isn't the only way to get a PNG from Photoshop. For appropriate images, it's also available in a straight Save As...
    John Guest

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