Sign & Digital Graphics

February '19

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44 • February 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Key tips for converting file types Stephen Romaniello is an artist and educa- tor teaching digital art at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, for over 28 years. He is a certified instructor in Adobe Photoshop and the author of numerous books and articles on the creative use of digital graphics software. Stephen is the founder of GlobalEye Systems, a company that offers training and consulting in digital graphics software and creative imaging. indicators of different configurations of data. Each format is like a different language, with some only understood by specific platforms and applications. To access a particular file, you may need to convert it to a new format, hence you'll need software that performs this task. But don't panic! You may already have software installed on your workstation that will make the file conversion a snap. Native Format Images are formatted for specific purposes so it is important to know beforehand what the image is going to be used for. Images containing pixels can be saved in a variety of formats, but to ensure later compatibility and to be able to open and edit an image, it's best to save the image in the native format in which it was created. If you are working on a raster image in Adobe Photoshop for example, save the original layered version as a PSD. If working in Corel PaintShop Pro, save the document as a PSP. The same applies to vector images. Save Illustrator files as AI and CorelDraw as CDR. Using the native formats will insure that all of the capabilities of the software are available when the file is opened. The drawback to native formats is that often they are unpuplishable to the Web or multimedia applications, unread- able by other software and have unnecessarily large file sizes. Consequently, a version of the original file will have to be saved to a compatible format. T here are basically two types of graphics files. Raster (also sometimes called Bitmap) images are composed of square, colored pixels neatly residing on a grid. Vector (or Object Oriented) images are defined by straight lines and curves that delineate their shape and position on the page (see Figure 1). These file types are distinctly different in how they appear, how they are manipulated and how they are saved. Formats Because of the specific difference in the way image data is configured, there are several different storage systems. Data storage systems are called formats. A format is the method of how a document is saved and encoded. Formats determine what capabilities the image has and which programs can open it. A format is indicated by the file name's two, three or four digit extension. For example, JPEG, TIFF, PDF and AI all are B Y S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O The Digital Eye Working with Graphic Formats Figure 1: A raster image containing pixels (left) and the same image reproduced as a vector image, (right).

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