Vector Formats – What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

We have talked about some of the more popular image file extensions in previous articles – Best Image File Extensions, Other Popular Image Extensions.  However, those articles only talked about some of the more general types of image extensions, raster images. Image files that are vector formats are more specific types of image and that is what we’re talking about here.

vector formats
Image by Theen Moy
http://bit.ly/1txsVXn

A vector file format (sometimes known as EPS files) store the image in a different way than the more traditional image files.  A traditional, or raster, file format stores the characteristics of each pixel in the image file. Vector formats are stored as lines, shapes and colors that are in a mathematical formula.

When Do You Need Vector Formats?

If you are not already familiar with vector formats, you probably need one because you are trying to submit an image somewhere, but were told that you needed to provide a vector file format instead of the one you gave them.  It is typically used for a lot of website work, handling logos and things like that where the quality and ability to scale the image are very important.

There are other instances when you would need to have an image in a vector file format and most of them are related to making it easier to manipulate the image.  If you just have raster images and don’t have any plans to do anything different or creative with them, you probably won’t need to utilize vector formats.

When the image is in the vector file format, the elements are all separate.  This means you can easily change the color for one of the elements, without having an impact on the others.  This comes in very handy when you want to alter the background of the image, but not the main image.

Another big benefit to using vector formats is that they scale very well.  That means your image will look great as a small thumbnail size, but you can also use the very same image and blow it up to a poster or even billboard size without losing any of the detail or quality.  If you tried this with a standard image file, the image would be nearly unrecognizable if it was blown up that large.

Vector Format Extensions

The most popular of the vector formats is the SVG file extension.  The Scalable Vector Graphics file was created as an open standard format. The purpose of creating the SVG file was to provide people with a file extension that was an all-purpose image file that was also versatile, scriptable and scalable. Due to the scriptable nature of the SVG format, it is frequently used in web applications.

Other types of vector formats include the Gerber format (RS-274X), AI (from Adobe Illustrator), ODG (Open Document Graphics), PPT (Microsoft PowerPoint) and XPS (XML Paper Specification).

If you need to convert from a raster image to a vector file format, (or vice-versa), the first thing you should try is to use an online image converter.  This could save you hundreds of dollars vs. sending your files to a professional to get them converted.

More Popular Image Extensions

In a previous article, we image extensionsdiscussed several of the most popular image file extensions. This included the raster image extensions of JPG, GIF and PNG as well as the vector format of SVG. While those are the image extensions most people are familiar with, it is not a comprehensive list, by far. There are hundreds of other file extensions used for image files, and that is what we’re focused on in this article. Each of the image extension types we discuss below are raster images.

Since these file formats are less common than the original four we discussed, you are more likely to have problems when you try to open them because your device may not be set up to handle them. If that is the case, a simple image file conversion program can help.

EXIF

The Exchangeable image is similar to the JFIF format that uses the TIFF extension. This image extension is most frequently used as part of the JPEG writing software that is part of many types of digital cameras. The EXIF handles the exchange of images from the digital camera to the software you use to edit and view the image. Some of the information contained in the file is from the camera like shutter speed, exposure level, date and time the picture was taken, etc.

TIFF

The Tagged Image File Format typically uses 8 or 16 bits per color (using red, green and blue), which gives combined totals of 24 or 48 bits. The structure of the TIFF file was created with flexibility in mind and it is easily extendible. This has caused many vendors to extend the file using proprietary tools and methods. While that makes the TIFF file very flexible, it also means that all TIFF files are not created equal. You may be able to view and edit some types of TIFF files, but not others.

RAW

The RAW file extension refers to “raw image formats”. These types of image extensions are used on some digital cameras instead of using a specific type of file extension. These types of files typically use lossless compression and the size of the file is typically smaller than TIFF formats.

BMP

Files that use BMP image extensions are created from a Windows bitmap file. This file image extension is used in (Microsoft) Windows to manage many graphic files. BMP files are typically very large because they are not compressed. However, since they can be used in any Windows program, they are very popular. However, because of their size, in many cases if you want to save them or send them to someone, you will need to convert them to a different type of image file first.

WEBP

This is a new type of image extension that was designed by Google. These files can be either lossless or lossy.    The format was designed to automatically reduce the size of the image so the web page could be loaded much more quickly. The WEBP format was also created with the goal of replacing the JPEG file as the standard for photos posted on the internet.

As mentioned above, there are literally hundreds of different image extensions. We discussed the most popular file types in a previous post and discussed the next tier of raster image extensions here. In future articles, we will discuss vector file types.

Image File Extensions – What Are the Differences?

The use of images has become very common in the online world. People see them, send them and post them. Most of the time, this is an easy process, and people can open and view any image file that they want to. However, because of the many different kinds of image file extensions, occasionally you run into trouble.

In some cases, you may need to convert an image file to a different type to view it. In other cases, you will need to convert your own images before you send them, save them or post them. If this is the case, you need to be careful which of the image types you use, because the quality and functionality can be impacted.

We’re going to review some of the more popular image file extensions to help you make the best choice.

Popular Image File Extensions

JPG

image file extensions
Image by Dyrk Wyst http://bit.ly/1qqh3EW

This is one of the most popular image extensions and it stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

The compression process for a JPG file removes some of the colors from the image that are not visible to the human eye. Because of this, you have to be careful. If you reduce the quality of the JPG image to much, you may not be able to recover some of that lost color information.

People typically use JPGS for pictures of people and photos of products. This is because the color variance is very important in those photos. However, JPGS cannot handle transparency, so you shouldn’t use them if you want people to be able to view the background through the image.

GIF

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. In this type of an image extension, there are a limited number of colors that are used when the image is shown. For example, a digital camera may use thousands of different colors in a picture. But if that picture is converted to a GIF image, there are only 256 colors that can be used.

You shouldn’t use GIF’s for pictures that contain a great deal of color detail, but they work well for items like logos or graphs. They also work well when you need to include transparency components in your image.

PNG

Another of the more popular image file extensions are PNG files. This is a Portable Network Graphic and it was created as a bigger, better version of a GIF file extension. A PNG file does support transparency, has many more colors available and it compresses the size of the file up to 25% better than GIF files. One problem with PNG files is that older browsers sometimes don’t handle some of the more advanced transparency issues very well.

SVG

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) image file extensions have been around for nearly a dozen years, but these image types weren’t used very often. However, with the increased usage of HTML5, SVG files are becoming much more popular. This is because of their ability to create images that are very high in quality and their ability to include animation. SVG files also maintain their level of quality as the size of the image decreases or increases.


 

While these are some of the more popular image file extensions, it is definitely not an exhaustive list. When you are making the decision to convert your image file, it is important to learn about the options so that your converted image has the ability to do everything you need it to do!

Convert Your JPEGs Before Printing

JPEG is the reigning king of images. Not only is it the default image format for most digital devices, but it has a major share on the internet and is used constantly in websites. This is because of the format’s ability to offer decent image quality in a smaller file. Despite being loved by digital devices and media, JPEGs have failed to make the same impression on printers.

Printers and JPEG images don’t gel well, which is why you will need an image converter to change your JPEG to PNG, TIFF or other formats. If you haven’t noticed this before, here are the reasons why JPEG isn’t suitable for printing.

Lack of Quality

A JPEG image will look great on your computer screen, but it will appear rough in print. This is because your screen’s quality requirements are lower than your printer’s. To avoid sounding too technical, here’s a simpler example: While the image gracing your 22” screen looks excellent in a resolution of 1680 x 1050, printing it will produce a 5.6” x 3.5” image. For an image to look as good in print as on your screen, it needs to be three times as large, i.e. 5625 x 3525 pixels.

Lossy Compression

Though JPEG is versatile and you can easily increase its size, you will still need an image converter due to Lossy Compression.  Lossy Compression is an aggressive compression format that is responsible for the small size JPEGs boast. However, because of it, data is lost from the file, creating visible “artifacts” and pixelization issue in an image. This is why you should consider a Loss-less format like PSD or TIFF and convert your JPEG file into it.

Other Issues with JPEG

Aside from quality-related issues, JPEG has numerous limitations that make it useless for printed documents. For starters, the file format is not good for small images or those with textual data. JPEG is also far from feasible when used for repeatedly edited images. Now you can easily resolve these by investing more time, effort and money on professional software, but why should you when you can easily convert JPEG to any other format using an image converter?

Now that you know why JPEG is inefficient for printed publications, make sure to use other file formats instead. Luckily, an image converter is just a click away. All you need to do is upload the JPEG file, choose the new format, and download the converted image. It’s just that simple. So if you print images regularly, bookmark a reliable file converter and use its image file conversion feature every time.

3 Reasons to Bookmark an Online File Converter

An online file converter spares you the need to install multiple programs to convert your documents, audio files, video clips, etc. It also doesn’t come with the risk of viruses and other threats to your devices. Besides, it is so convenient since you only need to type a URL and select a few options to get the format you need. These reasons and more make a web-based converter a valuable resource. However, should you really bookmark it as the title suggests?

The answer is a resounding YES.

As long as you use computers and mobile devices and know others who use the same technology, you will need a file converter handy. Here are some reasons why.

Enable or Disable Editing

Text files come in different formats, starting from .doc files to .pdf ones. However, the files you get or send may not serve their purpose at times. For example, you wouldn’t want to send an invoice in a .doc file since the file can be edited. Similarly, a .text file will never do if you want to create a well-formatted eBook. So, you will need an online file converter to help you enable or disable editing by changing file formats.

Run the File on Multiple Platforms

Unfortunately, not all software is as competent as VLC Player. Similarly, what may run smoothly on Windows won’t necessarily function on an Apple system. Therefore, if you want your file to be accessed or modified by a user who doesn’t share the same platform, converting it is what you should do.

Even if you don’t have to share the file with someone, you can use an online file converter to create copies to work across your devices. For example, your computer’s .pdf file can be converted to .mobi for easier access on your Kindle device.

Resizing Files

Another good reason to bookmark an online file converter is to easily resize any type of file. For example, by converting a .png or .tiff image into .jpeg, you will have a smaller image that you can easily upload to the internet. Smaller files also come in handy if you’re sharing them via e-mail or other services with an attachment size limit. However, share the link of your web-based file converter if they use the same platform as you.

Regardless of your profession or hobbies, you will definitely want to reap these benefits. So, don’t be stingy with your clicks and add a comprehensive, reliable, and 100% available online file converter service to your browser’s bookmark list.

Extract a still image from a video without installing software

Have you ever wanted to extract an image from a video file? Have you seen your idol on TV or caught an incredible beauty shot of your kids on cam and want to pin an image from that video clip to your wall? Read on, here’s an a mini how-to extract an image from video clips.

In this tutorial we will use the online file converter at http://www.online-convert.com/ that is absolutely free to use and allows us to convert files without the need of installing any software. All the conversion is done on some fast servers in the net.

Step 1: Shorten the video

Online MP4 file converterFirst we need to convert the video file to a format that the image converter we later want to use will understand. Also we need to cut the video. If we don’t do this, the online converter will convert the whole video to still images, offering huge files to download or just deny converting. And you will need to look to all these thousands of images, because one second of video are up to 30 images.

Go to http://video.online-convert.com/convert-to-mp4 and provide your video. Either by a file you have on your hard disk or by supplying a link to a video file in the Internet. You also need to know where in the video timeline the super image is you want to extract. In our example, it is around 10 minutes and 17 seconds after the start.

Then take a look at the “cut video” fields in the online converter. You need to enter a value in the following format: 00:10:15 to throw away the first 10 minutes and 15 seconds of your video. The value for the end time should be no more than 5 seconds more than the time you have entered in the start field. So in our case it would be 00:10:20 . If you don’t want to change further optional settings, you can now click on “Convert file” to get a short video sequence from your video. Save the result on your hard disk.

Step 2: Converting the short video to an image sequence

Now go to http://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-jpg and choose your file you have created in step 1. Then click on “Convert file” and save the result on your computer.

Step 3: Select the best image

The image converter has converted all images that are in that short video clip you have converted in step 2. It further has compressed the image sequence to a ZIP file so for your convenience you are able to download them all in one go.

Now you need to extract this ZIP file. If you have no extracting tool, you can download one here: 7Zip . After extracting the ZIP file, you sould have the sequence of all images on your computer. Now select the best one and you are done. Enjoy 😉