TIFF Image Compression

TIFFs are raster images: if you zoom in on a TIFF image you’ll see that it is composed of very small pixels arranged on a grid to form patterns on a page. TIFF images are widely used in document databases, and several different compression techniques can be used to make large sets of TIFF images easier to store on drives and servers.

  1. TIFFs can use CCITT Group 4 compression, another form of lossless compression, but only for black & white images. CCITT Group 3 is commonly used for fax machine images.

  2. TIFFs can also use LZW compression. Lempel–Ziv–Welch is an algorithm which performs lossless data compression. The original image can be fully recreated from the compressed version. LZW can compress grayscale and color RGB images as well. This method is good for computer generated files.

  3. Packbits is another lossless compression method which can work with bitonal, grayscale, and color images. Packbits is lossless but will not compress as much as LZW. This method is a good choice for scanned documents. A wide range of applications support Packbits.

  4. The JPEG compression method allows for TIFFs to be compressed to differing degrees of compression and image quality. It is ‘lossy’ in the sense that original data is removed for the sake of greater compression. Images can be reduced to 5% of their original size, as opposed to lossless compression which may only lower file size by 50%.