Previously, I rendered a 3D animation in JPEG-2000 format, thinking that Preview supports it, so apple pro apps must also support it, but it turns out, compressor can't take J2K image sequence and produce a intermediate ProRes QT video.

My options now is limited to Targa, OpenEXR, PNG, and TIFF. I'd like to select one for use in the future, and I'm evaluating these formats in the following dimensions:

  • Compression ratio: JPEG-2000 was accidentally used because I thought it'd provide better compression using wavelet transform while being lossless. Advanced algorithm achieving good compression ratio is preferred.

  • Lossless coding: JPEG-2000 has the option of using a bijective lossless coding method, and I'd like to retain the lossless capability in my workflow before final product. However, some loss may be acceptable, for example, instead of macro-block artifect, change in least-significant bits of color channels are acceptable.

  • 10-bit and 16-bit channel depth: This is desirable for color grading, as well as HDR.

Basing on the above criteria, what formats are suited for what purposes?

1 Answer 1


OpenEXR should be your friend.

  • Targa doesn't support hi bit depth, and only supports run-length compression encoding.

  • TIFF supports run-length and DEFLATE compression encoding, but that's no superior to PNG.

OpenEXR on the other hand, does have wavelet-based lossless compression coding, as well as several others to choose from. It even has 32-bit floating-point color channel support.

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