General Question

alexSaysArff's avatar

Why use .tiff file format?

Asked by alexSaysArff (31points) December 24th, 2007

I like saving most of my images using the .png format. I would like to know if .tiff serves for any specific purpose or another alternative to another format? Is it effective to use on the web?

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10 Answers

LanceVance's avatar

I doubt it’s useful on the web… I use tiff format for 16bit pictures; when i’m making a hdr.

Funkmonk's avatar

It’s a format that guarantees no data loss, in other words you save what you see, unlike jpegs and other compressed formats which can end up with data loss.

As it is loss-less and therefore quite large in size it wouldn’t be clever to use it for the web. I normally stick to gifs for images of solid colours and jpegs for photographs and graphics that include gradients. (Photoshop also gives the option to change the balance between quality and file-size when saving an image as a jpeg)

More info:

alexSaysArff's avatar

@Funkmonk, thanks for the great answer. Though, seems like TIFF is similar to RAW. Is there any advantages/disadvantages or any differences between RAW and TIFF?

Funkmonk's avatar

Well I’m not too sure about that but I did I little research and found this this excellent post on a forum.

Basically they said .raw is the perfectly raw data from the camera, completely unaltered, sort of like the negative film a traditional camera produces. So you can set the camera (Normally an SLR will have the raw option) to produce raw files that you can work with in dedicated software.

Overall I don’t think the difference is that big and tiff is just fine for an ordinary photographer.

Useful Graph

chaosrob's avatar

TIFF format is fairly old, so its well supported by a huge range of applications. The format is very flexible. 1 bit TIFFs are commonly used to carry line art. Greyscale TIFFs were the first commonly used format for newspaper digital photos. The fax data format is derived from TIFFs. 24 bit TIFFs are a fairly popular way to store color scans. TIFFs are in themselves a lossless format, but can support various types of compression to help keep file sizes manageable. Today, the most common use for TIFFs is in environments where you need to share high resolution photo scan with other (often unknown) platforms. They are not recommended for use on the web since they tend to be large files, but most popular browsers will still display them.

felipelavinz's avatar

I’ll try to confine to your question/description:

- it’s lossless
– it supports layers
– it’s widely used on for publishing purposes
– it has various compression options
– it supports (at least) rgb and cmyk colour models and colour management
– it’s not pattented (although it’s owned by Adobe)
– it’s good for raster or vector data
– it supports 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 24, 32 bit color depth
– it also supports indexed color
– it supports transparency
– it supports multi-pages

In conclusion, it’s a great choice if you need to need to send some work printing, but it’s definitely not a good choice for web sites: as far as I know, browsers don’t support it, and the files will very likely be huge. It could also be a good choice for archiving content.

Spargett's avatar

PNG works great for web use if you need a clean alpha tranparency (which all modern browsers support). GIF tranparencies are a jagged mess. Yuck.

jerico's avatar

PNG is fine, it can be lossless or lossy and is widely supported. TIFF on the other hand is just more flexible, but that is its own disadvantage, not all features TIFF have is supported by all graphics editor nor browsers.

If you’ll choose between TIFF and RAW, choose the latter because it can be adjusted in non-destructive way.

Espin01's avatar

On the note of Tiff files. Back around the time that the sony playstation portable came out, there was an exploit to run user created programs that involved Tiff files.

troyeoff's avatar

A TIFF is chosen as a file format for some faxing and online faxing services because TIFF is a file format that can store images or line arts. It can even handle multiple files within a single file. Also TIFF is use as a image manipulation format on some applications.

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