As a kid, did you ever xerox a xerox, and then xerox THAT xerox...? And after about 20 prints you get this mooshy, funky, broken up picture?
Or here's another example: Your FAX machine. Ever notice how crappy faxes tend to be, barely readable half the time? That's because a FAX and a XEROX are both good examples of LOSSY formats.
- LOSSY formats (.JPG, .GIF) LOOSE information-- poorer quality, but faster download
- LOSSLESS formats (.PSD, .TIFF) SAVE information -- good quality, not appropriate for web, but good for print.
JPG's are a LOSSY format. This means that every time you make a change to the file and resave it, the pixel data is compressed (meaning, the system 'throws out' anything it deems redundant). Pretty quickly, you will lose image quality if editing and saving only in JPG's. For this reason, I recommend to ALWAYS take your original digital file and immediately save it a PSD file. PSD's are a LOSSLESS format, so your pixel data is less prone to degradation.
- Set your camera to record high resolution JPG's as in the last post, as per your camera's manual
- Save the original digital image as a .PSD file before any editing.*
- Once you've finished editing the photo, then you can save a copy of it as a JPG.
WHAT'S NEXT: I'll demonstrate how to save for both print and web in a later post.
*Alternately, can you set your camera to record TIFF's (another lossless format) and edit these safely? Yes, you can if you want. However, I have two things against TIFF's; one, the files can be so large on a standard setting (23 MB per picture) that they can be slow to work on, even with a well powered computer, and also take up a lot of storage space on your computer. But if you prefer TIFFs, then by all means use them.