Graphics software

Most graphics programs create bitmap images and some create vector images too. Bitmap images lose quality when they are resized but vector images do not - they are generally less detailed and realistic than bitmaps though.

Graphics software can read and save to lots of different file types. An image’s file type or file format should be chosen based on its intended use.

  • JPG – small file size, used by cameras and for images on the internet.
  • GIF – small file size, used on the internet for images that have large blocks of colour.
  • PNG – small to medium file size, designed to replace GIF. It is slowly growing in use.
  • BMP – large file size, rarely used these days.
  • TIFF – very large file size, primarily used in the print industry.

Web browsers can only display images in a limited number of file formats. To make sure your image can be displayed, save it as a JPG, GIF or PNG file.

Some graphics programs have their own file type that only they can open and save in. These are called proprietary file formats.

Photo-editing software, drawing, and painting software share many of the same features and some programs claim to do it all.