File formats are a part of the daily life of digital creative professionals. If you are just starting to learn about graphic or web design, you might find yourself scratching your head when making decisions about image formats. At Bigstock, all of our images are available as JPGs, and many of illustrations are also available as EPS files. Both formats refer to ways in which images are encoded and compressed. What’s the difference?
The JPEG or JPG format is very popular for images that have variations in tone and color, such as photographs. It can really capture the details of “realistic” images best because it is based on a grid, or pixels. Here’s an example of a JPG:
Although the image looks great at the size it was originally saved at, it will start to look pixilated (or lose the smooth quality) once it gets enlarged too much. In this example, we’ve greatly enlarged a portion of the photo to show you what it looks like:
EPS files, on the other hand, can be enlarged indefinitely without losing quality. EPS is a vector format, meaning the images are saved as mathematical coordinates rather than pixels. The relation of the coordinates to one another will not change as you enlarge the image. Because of this, most EPS files consist of clean illustrations with distinct lines. Here’s an example:
Notice this is not a photorealistic image, and the lines are crisp. Even if we enlarge a portion of this image tremendously, there is no pixilation or jagged edges:
Customers who want to open and modify EPS files need an illustration application such as Adobe Illustrator. JPG files, by contrast, work with practically every imaging program, including Adobe Photoshop.
Bigstock customers have the option to download JPG or EPS versions of our vector illustrations. JPG illustrations are fine if you only plan to use the illustration on a web site or at a small size, or if you don’t have a program that can open EPS files.
Visit the Bigstock FAQ for information about other image formats we offer.