[Sidefx-houdini-list] Image File Formats

John Coldrick jc at axyzfx.com
Tue Mar 7 09:10:09 EST 2006

On Monday 06 March 2006 22:08, Johnson, Dave (Space Technology) wrote:
> I don't mean for this to be a religious debate about formats, I realize
> there are different formats for many reasons--I'm just interested in WHY
> you use what you use.

	I don't think there's any liklihood of religious format wars here - too many 
level-headed people.  :P

	It's a tough one - I'll admit that as a smaller shop, we tend not to have 
strictly controlled formats, and most people use whatever they want.  This 
inevitably makes for having to regurgitate at the last minute in another 
format, so I guess it's evolution at work.  :)

	For us, the advantages and disadvantages:

	OExr - my personal fav, since I like to mock up(or actually complete) 
compositing and I want the depth and headroom without as much weight as full 
float.  Disadvantages: Larger image and our Discreet systems can't use 
them(yet).  As a personal workflow, I'll typically render in OExr, and 
precomp layers and spit out to 8 or 16 integer for the comp systems...

	...Tiff - the ol' warhorse.  Good thing - handles a wide range of flavours, 
many packages support it.  Bad thing - the format has fragmented 
significantly and we've had trouble with some other systems, especially Mac 
based applications, supporting it.  Sometimes, changing the compression to 
none will help, sometimes not, depending on the app.  It's a pain regardless 
- often forget to turn compression off, chaos ensues.

	tga - not bad if you're only sticking to 8 bit integer.  Rarely use it myself 
*unless* it's going to a Mac, in which case it seems to be a no-headache 
solution.  Unfortunately, our Discreet systems take *forever* to import tga - 
it's a problem their end - so it's a hassle for us.

	Cineon - haven't gone this route yet - so far if we're working in film we've 
worked in linear space our end with OExr, and converted if need be.  
Compositing in log space has it's own hassles, so typically it's used here as 
an input/output path, although your needs may vary.

	SESI pic/rat - works great if you're doing an all-Houdini job, a hassle 
otherwise for obvious reasons.

	What a pain!  :(  In my little fantasy world, everyone will adopt OExr and it 
will become the de-facto standard, but I'm not holding my breath.  Until it's 
adopted by worlds that still think in 8 bit(like video editing), it's success 
will be limited IMHO.  No standard is perfect - tiff is wonderful, but 
corporate haggling over ownership has caused a problem.



John Coldrick                  www.axyzfx.com        Axyz Animation
416-504-0425                                         425 Adelaide St W
                                                     Toronto, ON Canada
jc at axyzfx.com                                        M5V 1S4
For every credibility gap, there is a gullibility fill.
		-- R. Clopton

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