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I just mentioned two file formats used by vector images: AI and EPS. Here’s a list of the most basic file formats used by Painter and other pixel-based applications, along with hints on how to choose the best one for your purposes:

  • RIFF (Raster Image File Format): This is Painter’s native format, and images you create in Painter are automatically saved as RIFF files. You need this file format to preserve elements unique to Painter, such as Dynamic, Watercolor, or Liquid Ink layers. RIFF files are not recognized by other applications.

  • PSD (Photoshop Document): If your Painter image has default layers (not specialized layers, such as Dynamic, Watercolor, or Liquid Ink), and you want to switch easily between Painter and Photoshop, use the PSD format. Painter’s masks will be preserved as Photoshop channels. Unfortunately, not all of Painter’s composite methods have equivalents to Photoshop blending modes, and text layers will not survive the transition.

  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): This popular format will not preserve layers, dropping them all into the background. One mask can be saved if you use the Save Alpha check box. (Alpha is Photoshop’s term for additional channels created from saved selection masks.)

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A very handy format for compressing an image file to make it load quickly on a website or transmit quickly as an email attachment. This compression is lossy, meaning the quality of an image will suffer if it is compressed over and over or if low quality settings are used. Be sure to save a copy of your image in another format that will keep its quality intact.

  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): This is the option specifically designed for most non-photographic images used on the web. Colors are reduced to 256 or fewer, and you have several choices for minimizing file size.

  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics): Using a lossless compression method, this format is superior to GIF for transferring images on the Internet. For one thing, PNG allows portions of an image to be transparent. Painter 11 is the first version to be PiNG-able.

  • PICT (short for “Picture”): (Sorry, you were probably expecting a cool acronym, like “Please Insert Clever Tag.”) Often chosen for multimedia programs. You can save a Painter movie as a series of numbered PICT files and export them to other animation applications.


  

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