Old Habits Die Hard

Why are people still using EPS files for raster graphics?

I have explained in an earlier article when one is to use EPS files and when he is to use TIFF. I can never stress enough the point I made in that article so here I am again.

While many of you might object that the PSD and PDF formats have made the other two somewhat obsolete, the diversity of the programs used in the design industry often requires the use of the first two formats, as they are standard formats as opposed to application specific formats, such as PSD (which stands for Photoshop Document.)

In a recent discussion amongst designers which aimed at solving a problem with EPS files, a total legitimate question popped out, “Why are you using the EPS format for raster graphics?”

Let’s say that in part is Quark’s fault and in part it’s because peope are trying to keep things simple, while also confusing their clients while doing so.

If someone is used to QuarkXPress, the reason why he might be using EPS files is that QuarXPress, unless it has specific Xtensions to read PDF files, can only import EPS and TIFF files. If you wanted to keep text as vector, you had to save as EPS. This is with QuarkXPress 4 which is the most used version prior to version 6. You also had to have an Xtension to import JPG files. QuarkXPress 6 (I think even 5, but I didn’t use 5 much so I don’t remember) is able to import PDFs. However you know how it is, old habits die hard.

The misconception that EPS files print better and therefore should be used also for raster graphics comes from three factors:

  1. The bigger file size
  2. The way vector information is retained, so it seems like it prints better: people can see text comes out better for example or they get told for simplicity reasons that they can resize EPS files without any loss, while in actual fact people should be told they can resize vector graphics without loss and that EPS files should be used for vector and not raster graphics
  3. Specifically for Quark users, the fact that the same image saved both EPS and TIFF shows colours differently once imported in QXP