TGA File Format Mini FAQ

The TGA file format is not something that pops on your mind whenever someone talks about image formats. What is this format anyway? What does it do? How do you open it? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

What is a TGA file?

TGA is a raster image file format from Truevision Inc. (a part of Avid Technology) created in the ‘80s. Truevision TGA format is sometimes shortened as TARGA. In its glory, it was the native format for VISTA and TARGA boards. Game publishers used this format to create texture files for their games.

Is TGA lossless?

Yes, TGA is a lossless file format, meaning the file is not compressed so there’s no loss of data. This makes it TGA ideal to create icons and line drawings

How do you open a TGA file?

The support for TGA files is not as widespread as JPEG or GIF, but you can still use free image viewers like Irfan Viewer to open TGA files. When you need to edit TGA you can use popular image editing software such as Photoshop, GIMP, and Corel PaintShop Pro

Is the TGA file format still being used these days?

Yes, especially in the game and VFX industry. Since TGA format has been around for ages, the support for it is already there. Professionals also know that this format has great quality albeit take up more space than other formats.

The main limitation of TGA format use in VFX  is that it doesn’t support HDR (High Dynamic-Range). That said, if your project doesn’t need HDR, Targa is still a great option.

When you need to draw sprites for game animations, TGA format also makes a sound choice. TARGA image sequence is also an excellent choice for animations in your games.

The other times when TGA file is needed is when you work on a legacy system and nobody wants to mess around too much with the old code. If it’s not broken, you’ll be a crazy developer to try to fix it.

Should I work with TGA format?

It depends. If it fits your project workflow, constraints, and requirements, then go for it.

How do I convert an image to TG?

If you wish to convert image files to TGA, use the following: It’s easy to use. You can convert images stored in your computer or the cloud.

Will TGA files still be around years from now?

Perhaps. The industry doesn’t keep a file format for its sentimental value. As long as people still use TGA files in their line of work, TGA will persist and the support will continue.

Don’t count too much on it, though. A lot of things that TGA can do, others can do as well. For example, the VFX industry has been using TIFF and TGA hand in hand. TIFF files are HDR, but depending on the compression method used, it can take much more space than TGA.

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