Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 1 of 4): General Graphics Format Questions

Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 1 of 4): General Graphics Format Questions

Post by j.. » Thu, 05 Dec 1996 04:00:00

Posted-By: auto-faq
Archive-name: graphics/fileformats-faq/part3
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 01Dec96

Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 3 of 4): Where to Get File Format


This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list contains information on
graphics file formats, including, raster, vector, metafile, Page
Description Language, 3D object, animation, and multimedia formats.

This FAQ is divided into four parts, each covering a different area of
graphics file format information:

  Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 1 of 4): General Graphics Format Questions
  Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 2 of 4): Image Conversion and Display Programs
  Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 3 of 4): Where to Get File Format Specifications
  Graphics File Formats FAQ (Part 4 of 4): Tips and Tricks of the Trade

Please email contributions, corrections, and suggestions about this FAQ to Relevant information posted to newsgroups will not
automatically make it into this FAQ.

-- James D. Murray


Subject: 0. Contents of Where to Get File Format Specifications
Subjects marked with <NEW> are new to this FAQ. Subjects marked with <UPD>
have been updated since the last release  of this FAQ.

I. General questions about this FAQ

0. Maintainer's Comments
1. What's new in this latest FAQ release?

II. Where to Get File Format Specifications

3DMF - QuickDraw 3D Metafile
3DS - Autodesk 3D Studio
ABF - Adobe Binary Screen Font
ADI - AutoCAD Device-Independent Binary Plotter Format
AFM - Adobe Font Metrics File Format
AI - Adobe Illustrator File Format
ART - Another Ray Tracer
Atari ST Graphics File Formats
AVS - Application Visualization System
AWD - Microsoft Fax At Work Document
BDF - Adobe Glyph Bitmap Distribution Format
BIN - SGI Powerflip
BMP - Windows Bitmap Format
BRL-CAD - Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD
BUFR - Binary Universal Form for the Representation of Meteorological Data
BYU - BYU Movie
CALS - Computer Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support Raster Format
CAM - Casio Camera
CCITT - CCITT Group 3 and Group 4 Encoding
CDF - Common Data Format
CDF - Cyberspace Description Format
CDL - CADKey CADL Language
CGM - Computer Graphics Metafile
CMP - LeadView
CMU - Carnegie Mellon University Formats
COB - Calgari trueSpace2 File Format
DEM - Digital Elevation Model
DGN - Microstation
DKB - DKB-Trace
DLG - Digital Line Graph
DPX - Digital Moving Picture Exchange
DRW - Micrografx Designer/Draw Plus Format
DWB - Coryphaeus Software Designers Workbench
DWG - Autodesk drawing
DXF - Autodesk Drawing eXchange Format
EMF - Microsoft Enhanced Metafile
ENFF - Extended Neutral File Format
EPS - Encapsulated PostScript
FBM - Fuzzy Bitmap
FFIVW - File Format for the Interchange of Virtual Worlds
FITS - Flexable Image Transport System
FLT - MultiGen Flight
GDS - McDonnell-Douglas Things
GFO - SGI Radiosity
GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
GKS - Graphics Kernel System
GrADS - Metafile
GRASP - Graphical System for Presentation
GRIB - Gridded Binary
HDF - Hierarchical Data Format
HDS - Hierarchical Data System
HPGL - Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language
HPPCL - Hewlett-Packard Printer Control Language
HRF - Hitachi Raster Format
IFF - Electronic Arts Interchange File Format
IGES - Initial Graphics Exchange Specification
IM - Performer
IMA - Zenographics Mirage Graphics File Format
IMJ - Image JPEG
INGR - Intergraph Raster File Format
IRTP - Graphicon-2000 Interactive Real-Time PHIGS
IV - SGI Inventor
IV-VRML - Inventor VRML Format
JBIG - Joint Bilevel Image Group
JFIF - JPEG File Interchange Format
LSA/LSB - Lightscape Technologies ASCII and Binary
LWOB - Lightwave Object Format
MGF - Materials and Geometry Format
MIFF - Magick Image File Format
MNG - Multiple Network Graphics
MSDL - Manchester Scene Description Language
MTL - Wavefront
NAPLPS - North American Presentation Layer Protocol Syntax
netCDF - Network Common Data Format
NFF - Haines Neutral File Format
NFF - WorldToolKit Neutral File Format
NITF - National Imagery Transmission Format
OBJ - Wavefront Object
ODIF - Open Document Interchange Format
ODL - Object Description Language
OFF - Object File Format
PBM - Portable Bitmap
PCX - ZSoft Paint
PDF - Portable Document Format
PDS - Planetary Data System Format
PGM - Portable Greymap
PHD - PolyHedra Database
PIC - Lotus PIC Graphics Format
PIC - Micrografx Draw! Graphics Format
PIC - Pegasus Imaging Corporation Format
PIC - Video Show Graphics Format
PICT - Macintosh Picture
PIX - Inset Pix
PLY - ZipPack
PNG - Portable Network Graphics
PPM - Portable Pixmap
POL - InnovMetric Software Polygon Models Format
POV - Persistence of Vision Raytracing
PS - PostScript
PSD - Adobe Photoshop
PTU - Performer Terrain Utilities
QT - QuickTime
QTVR - QuickTime VR
RAD - Radience
RAS - Sun Rasterfile
RAW - Photoshop RAW
RAY - Rayshade
RFT-DCA - Revisable-Form Text Document Content Architecture
RIB - Renderman Interface Bytestream
RIFF - Microsoft Resource Interchange File Format
RIX - ColoRIX Image File
RTF - Rich Text Format
RWX - MEME Shape File
RWX - Criterion RenderWare
S1K - S1000 Simnet Format
SAF - Standard Archive Format
SAIF - Spatial Archive Interchange Format
Scitex HandShake Formats
SCN - SCeNe RTrace
SDL - Alias Wavefront Scene Description Language
SDML - Spacial Data Modeling Language
SDTS - Spatial Data Transfer Standard
SFF - Scene File Format
SGI - Silicon Graphics Image File Format
SHG - Segmented Hyper-Graphic
SPIFF - Still Picture Interchange File Format
STL - Stereolithography Interface Format
TDDD - Imagine Object File Format
TGA - Truevision (Targa) File Format
TIFF - Tag Image File Format
TRIF - Tiled Raster Interchange Format
TTF - TrueType Font
Type 42 Font Format
URT - Utah Raster Toolkit
VCA - Visual Clip Art
VICAR - Video Image Communication and Retrieval
VIFF - Visualization Image File Format
VIT - VITec Scanner Raster Format
VPF - Vector Product Format
VRML - Virtual Reality Modeling Language
WebOOGL - Web Object Oriented Graphics Library
WMF - Windows Meta File
WPG - WordPerfect Graphics Metafile
X3D - x3d and xdart Formats
XBM - X BitMap
XOF - RenderMorphics
XPM - X PixMap
WSQ - Wavelet-packet Scalar Quantization Format
XWD - X Window Dump

III. Document Sources

0. U.S. Government and Military Standards Sources
1. International Standards Document Sources
2. Commercial Document Sources
3. Other Standards Sources

IV. Kudos and Assertions

0. Acknowledgments
1. About The Author
2. Disclaimer
3. Copyright Notice


Subject: I. General questions about this FAQ


Subject: 0. Maintainer's Comments

One of the reasons you are looking through this FAQ collection is most
likely to locate the specification for one or more graphics file formats.
That assumption on my part makes this file one of the most important parts
of the Graphics File Formats FAQ collection. I therefore wish to make this
section as complete as possible.

If you have any suggestions for formats to include then please email me at and let me know!


Subject: 1. What's new in this latest FAQ release?

  o Updated PNG and several Adobe URLs
  o Added AI, MNG, RFT, RTF, DRW, IMA, PIC, PIC, and PIC

  Many of the new sections added have not been completely filled in yet.
  Hopefully I'll have it finished in a near future release.


Subject: II. Where to Get File Format Specifications

This section contains an alphabetical listing of file formats, the
names of the creators/caretakers, and where to obtain the official
specifications, and a brief description of each format.

If you are searching for detailed information on the internals of a
file format, then I suggest you check out the resources listed here,
and have a look at the books and journals articles listed in Part 1
of this FAQ.

Each format section contains a common header that is a quick reference to
the file format.

         Type: Bitmap, Vector, Metafile, 3D, VRML, general data, PDL, multimedia
    Extension: File extension(s) or type
      Version: Latest version number
  Compression: All supported compression methods
  Color Depth: Pixel depth and maximum number of colors supported
   Maintainer: Who created and/or maintains the format
Specification: Where to get a copy of the format


Subject: 3DMF - QuickDraw 3D Metafile

         Type: 3D
    Extension: 3DMF
  Color Depth:
   Maintainer: Apple Computer

Apple's 3D Metafile is a format used for the storage and interchange of
3D data.


Subject: 3DS - Autodesk 3D Studio

         Type: 3D
    Extension: 3ds
  Color Depth:
   Maintainer: Autodesk

3DS is the native file format of Autodesk's 3D Studio program.
3D Studio is an interactive 3D modeling, rendering and animation
package from the makers of AutoCAD. 3DStudio runs under MS-DOS
and is used to create three-dimensional, photo-realistic images
for a variety of applications.

You can find Autodesk's home page and ftp site at:

Other 3D Studio Web pages include:
    FRiC's 3D Studio Web Page
    3DS Interactive FAQ
    3D Studio FAQ

And other 3D Studio information can be found on the

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