Pixelogic has a very large repository of free brushes and textures. The only problem is that they are all saved in a photoshop format. What would be the ideal file type to convert them to for use with Blender and other programs? (jpg, png, etc?) What benefits does one file type have over another? Thanks for your input.
I prefer and recommend PNG format.
JPG uses a lossy compression method, meaning that image data is lost when the file is compressed with this method. The greater the compression, the worse the resulting picture quality becomes. Avoid it for most uses.
PNG uses a lossless compression method (but does not compress as efficiently as JPG) so your image quality is never compromised. It can only handle 32-bit RGB images (24-bits of color + 8 bit alpha).
TGA has an option for lossless compression (RLE encoding) but isn’t as efficient at it as PNG. It’s main benefit is that it has a separate and discrete alpha (transparency) channel that can be useful in some situations. It’s also one of the oldest image format around, so it is very well-supported.
TIFF is another older lossless format that uses not-very-efficient compression, and tends to create largish image files. More often used in graphic arts and printing, where it has almost universal support.
BMP is a format that originated with Windows iirc, has optional but inefficient compression, and has no real benefits over the other formats, other than it used to be widespread. Mostly obsolete now.
For most purposes PNG & TGA will do whatever you need, but be sure to use the compression option for TGA, or large file sizes can result.
For some of the picture format, since a few revision, be carefull some of those formats are taking now 4x the memory in Blender they used to take in 2.62 :
Ok, PNG definitely seems to be the way to go. I just wanted to make sure before I converted 50+ alphas into the wrong format. One more question though, since the PNG file type is using 8 bits as an alpha layer, do any of the other formats offer greater color range (ie. RGB only) or is PNG significantly complex enough that it doesn’t really matter?