Image formats in CGI: Everything you need to know

Image formats in CGI
(Image credit: Mike Griggs)

Understanding image formats is critical to making the most of the variety of image types available to a 3D artist. While the core of creation in 3D is naturally in creating models, images are in many ways as important as polygons and edges when creating a 3D model – whether it is a crucial image being used to give a colour to a model, or a secondary image that is utilised to create differences in reflections or relief on a model.

Images are also the key for successful sharing with clients, friends or as part of a team with compositors who will blend the model into a live-action scene. Alternatively images can be used to store features in compositing applications to combine a wide range of models into a piece of 3D art that would otherwise be difficult to render in one go. (See the best 3D software right now to decide which app is for you. And for a general guide to image types, see our image file formats post.)

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Mike Griggs

Mike Griggs is a veteran digital content creator and technical writer. For nearly 30 years, Mike has been creating digital artwork, animations and VR elements for multi-national companies and world-class museums. Mike has been a writer for 3D World Magazine and Creative Bloq for over 10 years, where he has shared his passion for demystifying the process of digital content creation.