Image Formats

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Image Formats

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Pandoras Box supports the most common file types such as .bmp, .jpg, .tga, .png. Since version 5.5 the dds format is supported too. With version 5.7 we introduced the support of .snp files.
Please make sure, that the images are saved with an RGB(A) color profile as CMYK is not supported.

Image resolution

There is no resolution limit for the images, but bigger files will be scaled to the maximum texture size of your graphics card. So you don't get any effort using images larger as your texture size!

When using graphic (as well as video) content with more than 2048 x 2048 pixels you might need to alter the texture size in the Configuration > Render Engine. Some FX and features like deinterlacing and FluidFrame need to buffer the media file. The memory space for that purpose is limited to 2k per default. Choosing another texture size will enlarge the buffer for all textures, which increases the used memory space. Thus it will consume plenty of graphic card memory. Please use the option only if needed.

Image compression, quality and file size

Bitmaps and Targa images provide uncompressed images; this means that there will be no loss of colour depth or resolution. In general uncompressed files have a larger file size than compressed data, thus they are using more memory on the hard drive. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to use them. Pandoras Box converts any image to an uncompressed format anyway to play it back in real-time.

The image format .jpg does an image compression that leads to a lower image quality. The conversion of a .jpg to a .bmp does not enhance its quality, it only maintains the quality. If you save a .jpg as .jpg again, the quality will decrease even more due to the re-compression.

The image format .png does an image compression too, but other than jpg it is a loss-less data compression.

The dds format is a special format. Different to the other mentioned formats, most tools cannot edit or display this format. Photoshop for example offers dedicated plug-ins to support the format. The Image Converter supports the dds format as well, thus it is possible to convert images and provide them for Pandoras Box. You may use them as single images or for image sequences. More information about image sequences in general and the Image Converter...
The dds format claims to perform better than other formats like jpg, png or bmp. In comparison to these formats dds images save performance because it is a texture format that can be interpreted by the graphics card directly. In other words, the CPU and the bus have no load regarding the decompression.

To be accurate, the .snp (snappy) format is actually not an image format itself but a compression library offered from Google. So if you have a .jpg, .png, .bmp or .dds image, snappy compresses the file size but keeps the available quality as it simply reduces the file data. If you work with .snp files, the saving or reading process does not need more time, as the (de-)compression works in highspeed and real-time. In other words, Pandoras Box can decompress snappy image sequences on the fly.
The result is a much smaller file size whereas the size difference depends on redundancy in your visual content, such as alpha channels or same colors in motion graphics. This way you gain a lot more drive space which is especially interesting for SSD systems as their drives normally offer less space.
The tools Dome Master, Splitter, Image Converter and the new Quicktime Converter offer to save images using the snappy format.

Alpha channel

Alpha is the transparent part of an image where you can always see thru and choose a different background. Pandoras Box will play both alpha file types: Straight Alpha and Premultiplied Alpha.

Each pixel from an image is now saved with its RGBA information: Color and transparency. Not all image format do support this, some are designed to save the RGB color information only. So if you like to create see-through logos or transparent images, use the .tga or png file format, or dds.


The previous topics describe the display and content formats in general, how to define the content resolution and provide an output resolution table. Please click these links, if you are interested in other content formats, such as audio, image sequences and videos.