What are the best open image formats that support layers?

I’ve commissioned images from an artist, which all images have been delivered in PSD and PNG formats.

As a Linux user, PSD files don’t open well on software like GIMP and ImageMagick due to the issues with clipping masks, plus I’d like to avoid a proprietary format if possible regardless as these will be going on a public project on GitLab.

What are the best image (or project) formats that support layers? It’s preferred if it’s widely supported, but if it at least works with GIMP and ImageMagick, that’d be good enough since a script will automatically export it to more conventional formats like PNG.

I’ve tried looking at many standard ones however they don’t support layers, TIFF I learned isn’t completely open which is why even though Photoshop supports layered TIFs other programs can’t open each layer, EXR doesn’t have good support it seems between what Photoshop exports when GIMP imports it.

Small addendum, I’ve now looked into OpenRaster (.ora), however it appears ImageMagick does not support it unfortunately.

Update: 2021-02-18
ImageMagick now supports OpenRaster.


In the realm of graphic design, no such format. TIF is indeed problematic due to its nature and its not just about photoshop extensions but the way extensions are implemented. Not usually a problem in graphic design. In graphic design the real horse is PDF but while pdf may be open to standard its not exactly open and riddled with problems in your usecase.

However there is a format made for VFX work that fits this bill and that is Open EXR. Now Open EXR is not exactly a run of the mill format so it may not suit your needs as it supports things that GIMP does not. The format isnt really intended for end users or clients but for VFX pipeline and asset needs. You can however find that your designer may have a problem with this. Also VFX people has some weird ideas about layers in your usecase.

PS PNG may also have similar adobe convolutions injected to it buyer beware.

Source : Link , Question Author : Seth Falco , Answer Author : joojaa

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