Myrddin

How to Save Your Images under Different File Types

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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it

 

As per nudge and frequent querying, this tutorial will explain the saving process and what each element means and what it can do for your images. For a quick reference you should concentrate on steps 1), 2) and 3) also the file types BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG and the icon/cursor ones as these are the most common and widely accepted. They can be found at the top of the list while the icon/cursors at the bottom.

1) If the file type does not support layers you will have to flatten your image into one layer, do this by pressing the key combination of Ctrl + Shift + F. Alternatively, it will ask you to flatten when saving if the format is non-supporting of layers.

2) Once you have finished your piece of work and/or flattened, go to File > Save As.

3) In the appearing dialog you can choose where to save (you can browse in the main window or find a location through the top drop-down menu labelled 'Save in') and also name the file. The 'Save as type' drop-down and associated file types are detailed below:

savingtutorial.png

Alpha values = transparency, opacity.

File Types

Paint.NET (*.pdn)

Preserves layers, layer names and information, alpha values. Can only be used in Paint.NET, no image hosting services or image editors/viewers can support this file type, use only for later editing of the file.

Bitmap (BMP) (*.bmp)

Does not retain layers or alpha values. If you have the chequerboard pattern on your image it will appear white when saved in this format. Photobucket.com and Imageshack.us both accept this format.

~This is an un-compressed format and has largely been superseded by the PNG format.~

GIF (*.gif)

Does not retain layers but does save alpha values. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere, although it is either transparent or not, there is no wide range of alpha values with this type. Lossless format and good for websites and animations. Photobucket.com and Imageshack.us both accept this format.

JPEG (*.jpg; *.jpeg; *.jpe; *.jfif)

Does not retain layers or alpha values and is a lossy format, meaning it will loose quality when saved. If you have the chequerboard pattern on your image it will appear white when saved in this format. Good for websites. Photobucket.com and Imageshack.us both accept this format.

PNG (*.png)

Does not retain layers but does alpha. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format. Photobucket.com and Imageshack.us both accept this format.

TIFF (*.tif; *.tiff)

Does not retain layers but does alpha. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format. Only Imageshack.us accepts this format.

TGA (*.tga)

Used for texture mapping in such 3D editing software as Blender and POV-Ray and also gaming screenshots of this file type are common.

Does not retain layers but does alpha. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format. Neither Photobucket nor Imageshack accept this file format.

DirectDraw Surface (DDS) (*.dds)

Used for storing textures and cubic environment maps, both compressed and uncompressed. This makes the format useful for storing DXTn compressed data used in GPUs and consoles like the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Does not support layers but does alpha. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format. Neither Photobucket nor Imageshack accept this file format.

HD Photo (*.wdp; *.hdp)

Obtained from this link: http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/3508-hd-photo-plugin-beta/

Does not retain layers but does alpha. If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format at quality of 100 and lossy at anything less than 100. Neither Photobucket nor Imageshack accept this file format.

Icons (*.ico)

Cursors (*.cur)

Animated Cursors (*.ani)

Obtained from this link: http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/927-icon-cursor-and-animated-cursor-format-v37-may-2010/

Icons format supports layers and alpha. Help included when saving.

Cursors do not support layers but does alpha.

Animated Cursors does support layers and alpha.

If you see the chequerboard pattern on your image it will be transparent when viewed elsewhere. Wide range of alpha values meaning it can have anything between an alpha of 0 (fully transparent) up to 255 (fully opaque). Lossless format. Neither Photobucket nor Imageshack accept this file format.

Photoshop (*.psd)

Obtained from this link: http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/18128-photoshop-psd-file-plugin-107-and-later/

Preserves layers, layer names and information, alpha values. Can be used in Paint.NET, Photoshop and other programs which support PSD files. Neither Photobucket or Imageshack accept this file format but some hosting services do. Great for transferring layered from Paint.NET to Photoshop and vice versa.

4) Click Save when you're happy with the location and file type.

EDIT: additions to the BMP and TGA entries, also highlighted small section for quick reference.

Edited by Ego Eram Reputo
Fixed links. Added PDF link

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PNG does not retain layers. You might also mention that BMP is a non-compressed format, and has generally been completely superceded by PNG.

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Yeah I tried to separate it into easy sections like above the picture is the main story while below it is the detailed part of all the associated file types. Maybe I should make that more clear.

EDIT: Rick, just noticed that myself when I highlighted what is now red. Woops, getting carried away from the PDN type. :oops: Also added the BMP information you provided.

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I do too, although I already have one sticky and I don't want it to appear that my tutorials are any more important than others that aren't up there, and the one that is already sticky'd is more practical than this one - nobody else has two stuck so why should I. I have it in my signature anyway so really it's always stuck :).

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Thank you very much, also Andrew D, the information about TGA has been edited in. That goes for any other additional information which could be helpful which people suggest, although I don't want this turning into one large repository of file types and all their uses. Little snippets of information is quite enough, if need be I'll refer readers the respective Wiki entries.

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Myrddin, you're going into something reeeallyyyy complicated here.

There no such thing to encounter complexity and trolls.

Anyway, well, good luck, and thanks for the job.

--

BTW, HD Photo is not always lossless... and not always lossy :P

refer to this post (the @Buzz part):

http://paintdotnet.12.forumer.com/viewt ... 1965#31965

---

I don't want this turning into one large repository of file types and all their uses.

I will do.

Later.

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without wanting to make you list every single type.. there is a plugin for pcx. This I found usefull because there is a program that I use that is skinnable and uses pcx files for skinning.

I'll have to look, but as far as i know, lossless or lossy depending on the color pallet used (or depth thereof) no alpha support.

available here: http://paintdotnet.12.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=2493

Also.. used to be that IE didn't support transparancy in PNG's.. does it now?

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No offence, but I'm sure if they want to use the plugin the combination of it's topic plus this one describing the saving process should be enough. The plugins I included were included for their more general use: PSD for transferring from many popular programs to PDN, Icons/Cursors for their everyday result i.e mouse cursors and icons, the HDP as it will eventually be bundled with PDN and likewise with the DDS as it has already been bundled.

And yes, IE7 now supports transparency and as it's the most recent version of the browser that's the reason I didn't mention about earlier versions, again to keep bulk down. Plus, I'm sure anyone with HTML coding knowledge or experience with creating websites should know the rendering incapabilities of IE6.

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This is more than defentions than a real tut.
I agree but this is very very helpful!

Is GIF lossless format? When I save it it doesn't appear fuzzy but it looks weird.

This is a question about the Jpeg. Why is it such a bad and lossy format, yet so many people use it? I think PNG is best and should be used for most things.

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I think PNG is best and should be used for most things.

It sure is the best to me. PNG is the only file type I use regularly other than .pdn of course.

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Is GIF lossless format? When I save it it doesn't appear fuzzy but it looks weird.

GIF itself is lossless. Quite often though, the source image must first be constrained to GIF's limitations (8 bits per pixel, mostly) before it can be saved in that format. That is where the 'fuzzy' or apparent lossless perception comes into play.

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If people are wondering why I wrote definitions and descriptions for the file types it's because I've seen many a time where people have asked 'why does my transparent picture have a white background when I save it?' or 'how do I keep my layers and stuff, everytime I save it flattens into one?'. Here if you need to reference a certain file type that handles layers or transparency you can find a suitable format, and with that red coloured notice at the top you won't have to go scrolling through every one, the most common can be found quickly. Also in that notice is reference to the first three steps which is the essential part of the tutorial: how to save and change format. The large picture helps as well, which too separates the essential part and the detailed part, again for a quick glance.

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Just for the sake of saying it, I looked up a few of the file types full names:

Graphics Interchange Format - .gif

Joint Photographic Experts Group - .jpeg

Portable Network Graphics - .png

Tagged Image File Format - .tga

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What about the APNG you cant use it in paint .NET at the moment and its extension is .PNG but its animated I say its a better method than the MNG file format because its backwards compatible with almost all PNG viewers.

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:D Cool and helpful tutorial man, i usually used 2 save my drawings as jpeg formats and i always wondered why my drawings lost their quality right after i saved them, and i kept doing double the work trying 2 fix them, lol how stupid of me, now i save my pics as png formats.

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I just read this tutorial for the first time today, and it's actually really helpful. I never understood fully the different file types.

Also, I usually flatten the image in Paint.NET, select all, and, after copying, undo all of that. Then I open Paint and save the image as a .BMP, so I can upload it to Photobucket, but now I guess I'll start saving them as .PNGs.

My method, though long, makes it so I can later come back and edit the image, in the original .PDN format.

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My method, though long, makes it so I can later come back and edit the image, in the original .PDN format.
Many users, myself included, use this method as well to retain both editability and the flexibility that comes with a common file format. It's a good system to live by with Paint.NET.

Glad you found this tutorial helpful.

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