SL Photography: JPG, BMP, or PNG?

Saving your photos to your hard drive is a handy option, allowing you to save your photos to your PC for easy cataloguing or editing. Second Life allows you to save your photos as either JPG, BMP, or PNG. Which file format is best for your photos?

When you take a snapshot in SL, either by pressing the camera icon or using the keyboard combination Ctrl+Shift+S, you will be presented with the snapshot dialog window. On left of the Snapshot window are a variety of options.

Under the Profile section, there’s a button called Selection. If you click on this, it gives you a variety of ways to save your snapshot: to your inventory, Flickr, your Profile feed, etc.

There’s also an option to save your photos to disk, locally on your PC.

Saving to disk you can save your photos in three different formats: JPG, BMP, or PNG. Which is best?

  • JPG is a compressed file format. Unfortunately, while it will save disk space, that compression costs image detail.
  • BMP is uncompressed and maintains image quality and accuracy.
  • PNG is also uncompressed and also maintains image accuracy and quality. Its file size is smaller than BMP, though.

The choice for photographers is PNG. It delivers the highest image quality and a smaller file size than BMP.

JPGs can be very good, though. If disk space is an issue for you, you won’t be giving up too much quality, but just be aware you are losing some image quality.

If disk space isn’t an issue, choose PNG when you save your photos to your hard drive.

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