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File Types for Rendered Images and Animations

You can save rendered images as a variety of different file types, each with different properties.

Commonly-Used File Types

The following commonly-used file types are available when saving renders and animations:


A popular format within the Microsoft operating system. It retains image quality.


A High Dynamic Range format which has a high compression ratio and is also open source.


A variation on the FLIC format used for animation frames.


A variation on the TIFF format that includes a luminance channel. Useful for editing tone mapping, black and white levels, and other luminance controls.


A universal format with one of the best compression algorithms for its file size. This is a popular format for creating portable images, for example to send via email.


A popular format that provides both image quality and the smallest possible file size. PNG is one of the few file formats that is lossless, 8-bit, and contains an alpha channel. Use PNGs when you want the background of your render or animation to be transparent in post-process compositing.

PNG 16-bit

A variation of the PNG format with the addition of luminance information, giving you greater control over exposure.


Adobe PhotoShop Format. It includes luminance information. Also includes layers if saved as LayeredPSD.


Has good compression for higher bit formats, and includes an alpha channel.


A popular lossless format for photography when image quality is of absolute importance. Also contains layers and an alpha channel.

The following table summarizes the file types that are available in SolidWorks when saving renders and animations:
Format Lossless Lossy Compressed Alpha Bit Layers
Windows BMP (*.bmp) checkmark.gif   Optional   8-24  
OpenEXR (*.exr) checkmark.gif   Optional   16-32 checkmark.gif
Flexible Precision Image Format (*.flx) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif checkmark.gif 30  
Radiance High Dynamic Range (*.hdr) checkmark.gif       32  
JPEG (*.jpg) Optional checkmark.gif checkmark.gif   8-16  
JPEG 2000 (*.jp2)   checkmark.gif checkmark.gif   8  
JPEG 2000 16-Bit (*.jp2)   checkmark.gif checkmark.gif   16  
JPEG 2000 16-Bit Lossless (*.jp2) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif   16  
LayeredPSD (*.psd) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif   8-32 checkmark.gif
PSD (*.psd) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif   8-32  
Portable Network Graphics PNG (*.png) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif checkmark.gif 8  
Portable Network Graphics PNG 16-bit (*.png) checkmark.gif   checkmark.gif checkmark.gif 16  
Targa (*.tga)   checkmark.gif Optional   8-32  
Tagged Image File Format (*.tif) checkmark.gif   Optional   16-32 checkmark.gif

Definition of Terms


Compresses the image through an algorithm, reducing file size.


Retains image quality during compression.


Degrades image quality during compression.

Alpha Channel

Carries an extra channel for the background layer.

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