Many people do not realize all of the intricate factors that play into the use of computer files and file sharing. However, it is important to note how factors like compression can play a large part in the quality of an image or audio file. Who could have imagined with the invention of the camera that we would eventually be able to produce many different types of image files with the device. When it comes to compression there are two types of files, lossy and lossless. If you are interested in learning about these files, continue reading below for more.
What Is A Lossy File?
A lossy file discards unnecessary information in order to compress a file but retain its quality, at least partially. It is important to note with these files that the compression process eliminates unnecessary data forever. If you are attempting to compress a lossless file, you should be certain that you are willing to part with the excess data. Generally, the compression process into a lossy file should not require a huge sacrifice in quality. Whether it is for mini camera images or audio, there is often a bunch of data that people do not see or hear included in a raw file. When it is compressed, that data is lost but the essential qualities remain the same. However, to be certain that you will be happy with the outcome, try saving a copy of a raw or lossless file before you convert it to a lossy format.
What Are Lossy File Formats?
Depending upon what the original file is that you want to use to remove background online, a lossy file format will be a smaller counterpart. JPEG is one lossy file format people use every day. When you take a photo with your smartphone, that camera lens absorbs as much light as possible in order to produce an image. Your smartphone will then automatically convert the image into a JPEG format by compressing the image and discarding the excess light. Additional types of lossy files include MP3, GIF, OGG and MP4. Now that you know what a lossy file is, you can become more aware of how often you use these types of files in your everyday life.
Lossy file formatting is used for videos, as well. Videos are the one type of media that do not commonly utilize lossless files. This is due to the large amount of space a lossless video file would require in order to be stored on drive storage. Smaller, lossy video files allow higher quality film to be contained in smaller files, therefore taking up less of your precious memory. This is why you are much more likely to see lossy videos over lossless videos.
Lossy Image Compression Issues
Lossy image compression can be used to make image files smaller, but it does come with some downsides. The lossy compression process causes a small amount of data from the original photo files to be tossed out. It is also a process that is irreversible. This can be detrimental if you are not satisfied with the image quality after you compress the file. Keep these downsides in mind when you are considering lossy compression vs lossless compression for the image files you plan to safe to your NAS storage.
What Is A Lossless File?
Unlike a lossy file, a lossless file retains all of the data and information in a file so that it is at its highest quality and largest size. These types of files are best to use in photo editing apps for maximum image quality. Lossless compression involves breaking a file into a “smaller” form for transmission or storage, but then putting it back together when it is in use. This allows the computer to recreate the original file exactly without losing any data. Unlike lossy files, once a file is compressed the original file can still be accessed. This is important to note when saving files that you may need the uncompressed version of later.
What Are Some Lossless Files?
Lossy files may be more common than lossless files, but lossless files are more abundant. RAW, PNG and BMP are all lossless file formats, the most common of which is PNG. Aside from image formats, lossless files can also be found in audio. WAV, FLAC and ALAC, an Apple-specific file format, are all lossless audio formats. However, lossless files are not often found in video format for consumer use. If you have a video file from the NERSC website saved on your computer, it is most likely a lossy file.
Should I Convert Lossy Files To Lossless?
The simple answer is no, you should never convert a lossy file to a lossless file, regardless of what type of file system you utilize. This process will get rid of some audio data that is not required for the file, but helps to present audio in its clearest, highest-quality state. If you do not mind sacrificing a bit of quality for a smaller MP3 file, than converting to a lossless file is not quite as taboo. Just remember that when converting from lossy to lossless, you are sacrificing data and quality.
It is important to note the distinction between lossy and lossless file formats, especially if you are a citizen journalist. If you work with computer files often and you are looking for precise and accurate quality to the original item, lossless compression may be right for you. However, lossy compression involves very little sacrifice when it comes to tangible quality. If you are happy with your JPEG iPhone pictures and your usual music download file quality, lossy compression is not doing you any harm. If you have any further insight into the differences between these two types of file compression, let us know in the comments.
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Throughout the web, most places call GIF a lossless format, but this doesn’t make sense to me. It reduces the color space and thus loses information from the original. I understand that it does not have generation loss, but I would call it lossy (as you do).
Do you have a source I can cite regarding it being lossy, or are you basing your classification on your definition of lossy versus lossless?