There are literally DOZENS of possible file types that you could save your graphics into, but only a few are appropriate or useful to you.
  • These file types are called FORMATS - think of them as different computer "languages" that graphic information can be stored in
  • FORMATS are very particular to what you want to do with the image - ie. you can't use a PSD format on a webpage

Here are THREE typical uses for graphics, and the basic formats you SHOULD get used to:

1. PSD - Work in Progress

A Photoshop Document (PSD) retains all the layers, styles and text setting information that you've applied so that you can go back and change them if you'd like later. Use this format to store your work for ongoing development from day to day. The image is LOSSLESS quality.
  • Use FILE - SAVE AS

  • Not a typical format - ie NOT compatible with anything OTHER than Photoshop

2. JPG - Digital "Photos"

Use SAVE FOR WEB and you get a dialogue that looks like this:
  • Choose JPG from the preset list (although you could also experiment with GIF and PNG)
  • Choose a Quality level (60-70 is generally good for use on a webpage)
  • Watch the filesize at the bottom of the display - different FORMATS and QUALITY settings will yield different filesizes. The objective is to OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBGRAPHIC - Find the lowest filesize for a particular graphic without compromising the image quality
    • JPGs are best for photorealistic
    • GIFs and PNGs are best for illustration

3. GIF (or PNG-8) - Digital "Graphics"

To MINIMIZE a graphic's filesize, you may want to save the image as a GIF or PNG-8
This only works if the image you're saving has a limited number of distinct colours - no more than 256
  • Watch the filesize at the bottom of the "Save for Web" dialogue, and monitor the quality of the preview image
  • Try switching from JPG to GIF to PNG - Which gives you the smallest filesize without compromising the quality of the graphic?