Image Objects & File Formats

This page includes information about file formats as well as color management.

Color Management
Accurate color is an important goal of good DAM workflow. In order to be accurate, you’ll want to profile your monitor. You may want to profile your camera, particularly for copy work. And if you are making high-quality prints you may want to profile your printer.

xRite i1 Studio is a full-capability profiling device, which can do all the functions above and even profile your digital projector.

DNG Specification
If you are looking for an example of a really well-constructed file format specification, take a look at the DNG spec.

In contrast to DNG, the best write-up I could find about HEIF was far less precise, although it does a pretty good job explaining what the team creating the format is interested in allowing it to do. Here is a “product page” for the format that is even higher level. The Wikipedia page is also informative in a high-level way.

Here is the 1992 TIFF specification, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. There is a ton of information and links on TIFF on the Library of Congress’s preservation section.

The Photoshop native formats are similar to TIFF. (PSB, or PhotoShop Big is the version of the file that can support files that are larger in both pixel dimension and size in gigabytes. Here is the Adobe specification.

Wikipedia is probably the best place to dive into PNG. It’s a format with a lot of options. revisions and complexity. Here is the PNG page.

This is another format that may be best to approach through wikipedia. There is a long history to the format as mentioned in The DAM Book. Here is the Wikipedia GIF page.

Google purchased On2Technologies and with it the WebP format, which aims for similar functionality to HEIF. Although it has been around since 2010, it does not seem to have gotten much market share. The technology has probably been leapfrogged by other formats. Nevertheless, you can see from the Wikipedia page that it aims to do a lot of interesting stuff.