Currently, there are quite a number of different graphics file formats. Nevertheless, all of them can be divided into two groups. These are files that store vector graphics, and files stored raster graphics. Raster graphics – is a format when the image is stored in the form of small dots – pixels. Accordingly, the quality of such images is limited by two factors: it is actually the size of the image in pixels, and image resolution – that is, the number of pixels per unit length (the most common pixels per inch). Files stored in raster graphics are a jpg, gif, bmp, tiff, png, psd and others.
Vector Graphics – is a format when the image is stored as an array of numbers describing the construction of images in the form of curves and the key points of the vertices. Formats of vector graphics are swf, cdr, max, ai, partly pdf.
In practice, web graphics are mainly used in two formats, raster graphics – jpeg and gif, and a vector graphics – swf. The format png is much less frequently used.
Jpeg and gif formats differ in different image compression algorithm. Since the web file size still plays a very significant value for several reasons, therefore, light weight graphics file significantly increases the speed of loading images. For different “types” of pictures fits a particular format graphics.
Determining the required format is the basic ability of a web-designer.
The format jpeg is best for photos, portraits, large pictures rich with intricate details. Compression algorithm of this format works so that, when the “weight” lessen of a picture, and therefore the quality of the image, as if “smeared out”, becomes ill distinguish the clear transitions between colors, and stray colored pixels appear as a side effect of the algorithm. The degree of compression of a file is determined each time by the designer on the basis of its needs, but the optimum ratio of the size / quality of the image compression rate is equal to 65.
Gif format is best suited for images of small size, where transparency (alpha channel) is necessary, and for animated bitmaps. Compression algorithm of the format is based on the fact that the image is given a fixed color palette (from 2 to 256 colors), and all similar shades are discarded or replaced by the adjacent colors.
Also, the algorithm calculates the image lines from left to right, and stores the information not about each pixel but considers how many pixels of the same color are in a row, and stores the information only about the color and the number of pixels. This significantly reduces the weight of the file. It is easy to see that the vertical gradient (top-down) will weigh in this case is much smaller than the gradient of the horizontal (left to right). This should be considered when creating images, especially when you create animated banners, where the weight is composed also of the number of frames and is literally a war for each byte.
Png format is rarely used. It differs from the format of gif that png to preserve more information about the file. In particular, information about the alpha channel. In gif format each individual pixel can be either completely transparent or completely opaque. This imposes restrictions on the use of transparent transitions in transparency, because of what gif files with transparency often look “jagged” at edges. However, due to the large weight png files practically are not used. It is applied a variety of visual tricks in the format gif, in particular the addition of the “transitional” pixels at the edges of the image.
When naming files you should follow the simple rules. First, it should be avoided as meaningless and “speaking” names. The file name should immediately determine its place in the web page. That is, if it’s an image to the article, it should be placed in the folder articles and its name is the id of the article. If this is the position in the directory, then in the appropriate folder (items, groups) the picture must have the name ID of the group, subgroup or product.
At the same time, if, for example, the site is very rarely write articles, you cannot add additional folders, but then the file must be on the name is uniquely associated with this section. This can be done for example by adding words to the news or art picture id (such as news-34.jpeg). If a few pictures of different sizes refer to one id it is needed to add an extension after the picture id, indicating the size (for large images – b, for small – s) (Example 38-s.gif, art-2008-b.jpeg). For several images of the same size, you can enter the serial numbers (example: art08-b_01.gif).
When naming pictures that form the design of the website, you should use the following notation: top – for the header of the site, bottom – for basement of the site, but – for various kinds of buttons, ico – for the icons, img, or pic – for other images of registration with the addition of numbers in end.
The main programs for working with images from the designer are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe ImageReady for raster graphics; Corel draw and Macromedia Flash for vector. It is also used sometimes for vector graphics software Adobe illustrator – but it’s a matter of designer’s taste, because the programs are essentially identical and have similar functionality.
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