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What is TGA?

Image Format Description

TGA (Truevision Graphics Adapter), also known as TARGA (Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter) file format, is a raster graphics file format. It is used to store and inter-change deep pixel images, paint, and image manipulation programs that need to store image data of up to 32 bits per pixel.

Developed by Truevision Inc. (now Pinnacle Systems), the TGA format is today the most universally supported format as, unlike most other graphic file formats, it has relatively few variations. It can support color maps, alpha channels, gamma values, postage stamp images (better known as ‘thumbnails’), textual information, and developer-definable data in color depths of up to 32 bits - 8, 16, 24, and 32 being the most common.

This well-defined format is also fast and easy to read and decompress. Its structure consists of a Header (consisting of image data and palette information), an Image Identification Field, a Color Map, and Bitmap Data. The following optional fields may follow Bitmap Data:- Developer Directory (containing tags pointing to information stored in the TGA file); Developer Area; Extension Area (containing information found in the header of a bitmap file); Color-Correction Table; Postage Stamp Image; Scan Line Table; and a Footer (pointing to the developer and extension areas).

The TGA format (with file extension ‘.tga’) is most extensively used by the animation and video game industry. This is because their output is on the television screen and computer monitors, and not the printed page (TGA’s color depths are not suited for the press). TGA is also popular for still-video editing, the reason being TGA’s ability to be stored in a digital frame buffer.

TGA files can be opened using Adobe Photoshop, Apple QuickTime Player, Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Factory Image Converter on Microsoft Windows; and Apple Preview, Apple QuickTime Player, and Adobe Photoshop on Mac OS.

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Wit of the day

Bad art is a great deal worse than no art at all.
Oscar Wilde