Creating Video

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factfile2.16 Graphic file formats and size

The file format that you use is very important. There are two main file formats for images on the Internet – JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) For more information see the Digital Imaging unit.

Digital Photograph

strawberry jpg
strawberry gif

High Quality JPEG file

256 colour GIF file

Traditionally, the JPEG format is used for photographs. This uses file compression to produce small files, but the loss in quality is not very visible. JPEG files have a large palette of millions of colours. In the strawberry example above the colour was blocky when the image was saved as a GIF file, though the file size at a high resolution is larger for the JPEG.

Simple Graphic

banner jpg
Banner gif

High quality JPEG file

64 colour GIF file

For simpler graphics with large areas of flat colours, such as logos and navigation buttons, the GIF format is best. A GIF file can have a very simple palette of colours, up to a maximum of 256. In the simple navigation bar there is little visible difference between the JPEG and the GIF files, but the GIF file is half the size of the JPEG file.

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