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  • JPG vs TIF vs EPS

    I'm confused about the best way to prep a photo for the best printing results. I'm talking about using photos as part of a printed piece like a brochure, etc.... I work in both cmyk and 2 or 3-color spot color printing.

    I used to hear that all photos should be saved as .tif for the best quality output at the printer.

    Use .eps format when necessary only....
    1. When using a duotone...
    2. When using a clipping path

    Some printers will accept cmyk jpg format and say that there is NO difference in output quality from a TIF....
    Is that true????

    Question: For highest quality output,what formats are most appropriate?

    eps, tif, or jpg???
    Question: When should you use which format?

  • #2

    Okay, here are my two cents....

    JPG or JPEG – (Joint Photographers Experts Group) Developed for compressing and decompressing digitized photos. Use this file type for photographic imagery intended for the Internet. It supports 24 bits of color information, and is most commonly used for photographs and similar continuous-tone bitmap images. The JPEG file format stores all of the color information in an RGB image, then reduces the file size by compressing it, or saving only the color information that is essential to the image. Most imaging applications and plug-ins let you determine the amount of compression used when saving a graphic in the JPEG format. Unlike GIF, JPEG does not support transparency. If used for offset printing, make sure resolution is at least 300dpi and compression quality was set to “high”.

    Con: Every time you save a JPEG file, It loses some information and can degrade over time.

    TIFF or TIF – (Tagged Image File Format) TIF or raster graphics are bitmapped graphics. Raster images are best used for images such as photographs or paint style graphics. They are versatile and can be imported into most software but their biggest disadvantage is that they are resolution dependent. Bitmapped graphics can be reduced in size successfully but if you try to enlarge them you will be subject to serious deterioration. TIF files can be black-and-white, grayscale, or color bitmapped-images, particularly those produced by scanners. This format generally does not compress the size of the image file significantly unless the image is scanned in line art mode. TIF files have better resolution and are good for outputs such as RGB and CMYK. The TIF format is the most common file format considered a “safe” format that is very stable, widely supported, cross-platform and rarely causes problems during output. Use this file type for scanned images or photos intended for offset printing.

    EPS or EPSF – (Encapsulated PostScript) EPS or vector graphics are resolution independent, meaning that you can enlarge them any number of times without having their resolution deteriorate. Vector images give you crisp, clean lines at any size. They don't, however, look as nice on screen as bitmap graphics do. If you have an illustration program like Adobe Illustrator, Freehand or Corel DRAW you can import and edit the images. Regardless of how they look on screen, EPS images print beautifully to a Postscript printer. The EPS file format can be used on a variety of platforms, including Macintosh and Windows. When you place an EPS image into a document, you can scale it up or down without information loss. Use this file type for vector graphics from drawing programs and multi-channel images from Photoshop such as duotones and clipping paths. EPS files can be graphics or images of whole pages that include text, font, graphic, and page layout information. This format contains PostScript information and should be used when printing to a PostScript output device.

    The Bottom Line
    If you have a postscript printer or will be creating documents that will be output to a postscript device then your best bet is to go with EPS graphics. If, on the other hand, you don't print to a Postscript device and your software doesn't support EPS graphics (although most do) then maybe TIF files are the way to go.

    Finally, talk with you printer and see what they recommend.

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited by T Paul; 06-17-2002, 01:04 PM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply...
      My question is specifically for sending files out to a professional commercial printer -- where files are placed on press and printed out with either PMS printed inks or 4 color cmyk -- full color process printing inks.

      Thanks anyway.


      • #4
        EPS or TIFF

        Info from a commercial printing company....

        Some people swear by TIFF and others see EPS as the only option. Which file format should you use to save your images for printing?

        The short answer is that there is no difference in the actual image data between and EPS file and a TIFF file. What is different is how the information is stored within the file, not the information itself.

        Encapsulated PostScript Files (EPS) wrap a special PostScript header that describes the size of the image file around the image data. Tagged Image File Format files also place a header in front of the image data and they store the image data in a specific way (tagged).

        Both file formats can support RGB color, CMYK separations and clipping paths, although many more programs support clipping paths in EPS files than in TIFF. QuarkXPress 4 and Adobe PageMaker 6.5 are the main programs that support clipping paths in TIFF files.

        Most applications cannot edit EPS files, so if you want to add a color to a grayscale image in Quark or PageMaker, save it as a TIFF, not an EPS.

        TIFF files support a kind of lossless compression called LZW, which does not work with every printing device, so ask before you apply LZW compression to a TIFF. EPS files support JPEG compression of the image data, which is lossy, and can also cause printing problems (so again, please ask before you use EPS with JPEG encoding).

        In short, CMYK or grayscale images can all be saved in either TIFF or EPS format and placed in most layout and drawing programs and printed out on almost any PostScript device. You only have to be careful about which file format to use if you plan on using a clipping path, file compression, or plan on editing the file within another program.


        • #5
          Adrian -If all you are doing is printing images, I would save them as TIFFs for the reasons T outlined. You could save the image as an EPS but the file would likely be much larger.

          If, however, you want to create a brochure I would still use TIFFs for your images and something like Quark or Pagemaker to do the layout. Just remember to bring ALL the images files, fonts, etc, to the printer...not just the Quark document.

          PDF is another option (and some printer actually prefer it now!). you can create the document in Quark or Pagemaker, and export as a PDF. This will embed all the images and fonts into one file and should look the same on any and easy!



          • #6
            Greg is right,

            From all the printers sites I have gone to, they tend to prefer PDF files and most even walk you through the process of formatting your files for print. Your best bet is going to be to talk to your printer.

            Last edited by T Paul; 06-17-2002, 03:59 PM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Adrian
              Thanks for the quick reply...
              My question is specifically for sending files out to a professional commercial printer
              I agree with T on this one.

              Professional commercial printers can tell you exactly what their requirements are, and IMHO, it's best to request specific information from whichever printer you choose. Many will prefer to do the CMYK conversion themselves since they are familiar with it and can make the best conversions suitable for their equipment.

              Different printers may tell you they want different things, so once you choose a printer, they would be the best ones to supply you with information on their specific requirements.


              • #8
                I almost forgot.

                You might also look HERE at a thread on commercial printing that Danny started about a week ago...


                • #9
                  Hi All,

                  How would this discussion relate to printing from digital camera images? I convert jpeg’s into pdf’s. Is there any advantage to taking the pictures in the tiff format? If so, would you still print from the pdf format? This is for personal, not professional use.




                  • #10
                    Depends what you want to use it for. PDF is not a graphics format. It's a proprietry document formatting format (!?!) from Adobe. If I want to give the images to someone else, I use TIFF or low compression JPEG. For myself, I leave it in PSD (haven't found a digicam yet that doesn't need a bit of blurring in at least the blue channel).


                    • #11
                      Over the last couple of yrs, I have heard good things about png format, it's smaller than tif and lossless, it can support a transparency layer, and many are trying to push this format. Unfortuninatlly it is not well supported yet, and won't even work on all browsers.


                      • #12
                        I'd agree with Al that it depends on what you want to do with them.

                        TIFF and JPEG are well supported image standards. If you ever plan on sending them to friends or having actual photographs printed at a photo lab, those would be the best choices, IMHO.


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