Which image files are compatible with Openlab?

Technical Note: 25
Reads: 8265
Creation Date: 06/12/1999
Modification Date: 19/08/2005

LIFF Format

If you have no additional file filter modules, the Openlab core can only read LIFF files.

Openlab is designed to work with multiple images in a single document. These multiple images are called Layers and can be manipulated using the Layers Manager palette in Openlab. The image formats that are useful for single images are not suited to storage of possibly many thousands of images, nor the additional data that is associated with the images, such as channel data, calibration, etc. For this reason, Improvision developed the LIFF (Layered Image File Format) proprietary standard. This format should be your preferred choice for storage of images as long as you intend to work on those images only with Openlab. LIFF is the only format that guarantees that all data associated with a collection of images is saved. LIFF not only stores image data, but such information as calibration, measurements, microscope settings, etc.

LIFF files created in Openlab 4.0 and higher cannot be opened in earlier versions of Openlab, unless they are saved in a backwards-compatible "Openlab 3 LIFF" format.

Openlab displays LIFF files along with the others mentioned above in the "Open" dialogue.

TIFF Files

The TIFF module can read and write version 6.0 uncompressed baseline single-page or multi-page TIFFs. It can also read and write TIFF files containing greyscale images with greater than 8 bits - this is not in the TIFF specification, but is supported by Adobe Photoshop.

Openlab can also write "TIFF for Publication". This is a millions of colors TIFF file which is suitable for sending to publishers or using in other non-scientific applications.

PICT and JPEG Files

The PICT File Filter can read and write:

PICT files
PICS files

The PICT filter can also read:

JPEG image files

The PICS format is a way to save multiple images in a single file. It is a fairly old-fashioned format that was developed to provide a way of exchanging data between some early animation programs. It is a Macintosh only format. Like PICT, saving in this format will lose data compared with the LIFF format. It is only useful if you want to export your Openlab image set to another program such as Director for presentation. Openlab can read this format too.

Raw Files

Raw is a way to export images as raw data, which if all else fails, provides you with a "lowest common denominator" approach to moving image data between programs. Many packages allow you to import raw data once you provide some basic information such as the width and height of images, etc. It should be noted that the Raw File Filter should only be used if there is no other way to move the data to another package. In general, the TIFF format is preferable.

Openlab Raw is a format with a simple header followed by raw data. This format is designed to make it easy to write file filters to read Openlab files in other applications. The Openlab Raw format is described in TN344.

Quicktime Movies

The Quicktime File Filter can read and write image sequences as Quicktime movies.

BioRad PIC Files

Openlab can read PIC files generated by BioRad confocal microscopes.