A small amount of technical knowledge is all that is required to enjoy digital or digi stamps. While people who are experienced at digital or computer art will be comfortable downloading and manipulating images, people who are new to this aspect of digital stamping will need to know a few basics. See About Digital Stamps for more information.
Buying and Downloading Digital Stamps
Most digital stamps are delivered by download. This means that the files are downloaded onto a computer. The files are either emailed to the customer or the customer is given a link to a page where the files can be downloaded from. This is typically an automatic procedure after payment has been made.
Most digital stamp files are high resolution and this means that the files are large. These are often downloaded as zip files as this makes the download quicker. The zipped files need to be unzipped before they are used. See these articles for more information about zip files:
Digital Stamp Resolution
Digital stamp images need to be printed out at a high resolution to give a clear and crisp outline. Most files are supplied with images that are 300 dpi or higher. This is print quality and will produce good quality images. See the following articles for more information about file resolutions:
Digital Stamp Formats
Digital stamps are provided in a variety of different file formats. Different digital stamp companies and artists have their preferred file format, however the file formats used are generally common formats that can be accessed on the majority of computers.
Some of the most popular file formats used are:
- JPG (or JPEG) – this is perhaps the file format that most people are familiar with. This is the format the photographs are often saved in. They are widely used across the web because of their capacity to be compressed and dramatically reduce their file size. The small file size can make them an attractive format for digistamp suppliers as they can be easily emailed, however the amount of compression needs to be balanced against image quality as smaller files may lose some of their clarity. While it is commonly used, it does have one potential drawback. A JPG file has a white and not transparent background. This is only apparent on the computer screen, however, as printers do not use white ink. This may affect the ability to easily arrange a number of images together for printing. This might not be a problem, depending on how the digital stamp image is to be used.
- PNG – the PNG format usually has a transparent background. This is particularly good for text or border digital stamps, as they can be easily combined with other digi stamps without the risk of obscuring parts of the image. For an illustration of the difference between JPG and PNG files take a look at this article - JPG and PNG Format Comparison.
- TIFF - TIFFs (also known as TIFs) also support compression, but, unlike JPEGs, they can be saved without any form of compression, maintaining the optimum image quality. When saved as mono images, the background of a TIFF is treated as transparent and so TIFFs can be overlaid on other images to build a montage effect if desired.
- ABR - this format can only be used in Adobe Photoshop or the later versions of GIMP, from version 2.6 onwards. Rather than the stamp file being dragged or imported into a new file in preparation for printing, the ABR file is instead installed into a folder for brush files and is then accessed by the brush tool in Photoshop or GIMP. The brush can be resized and used to place a single copy of the digital stamp in the print file or the image can be repeated.
- PDF – PDF is a common format that many people will be familiar with. Not all PDF files allow the images to be manipulated, however, which may limit the use of the digital stamp.