PICT

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File Format
Name PICT
Ontology
Extension(s) .pict, .pct, .pic
MIME Type(s) image/x-pict, image/pict
PRONOM fmt/341, x-fmt/80
Released 1984

PICT, or QuickDraw/PICT, is a graphics file format native to Macintosh computers. It is associated with the QuickDraw API.

Though it is a vector format, it is often used as if it were a raster format. Many files contain just a single bitmap image.

PICT format is complicated and quirky. Although plenty of documentation about it exists, there does not appear to be any single source that provides a reasonably clear and complete specification.

Contents

Identification

A version 1 PICT file has (hex) bytes 11 01 at offset 522, and ends with ff.

A version 2 PICT file has bytes 00 11 02 ff 0c 00 at offset 522, and ends with 00 ff.

Application data

Custom application data can be stored in PICT files by using the "LongComment" opcode. Each comment has an integer that identifies its "kind".

Notable comment kinds:

  • 100 is an Application Comment (see below).
  • 220 is used for ICC profile data.
  • 498 appears to be related to Photoshop, though it might also be used for other things.

The "kind" does little to identify the application, or prevent collisions. A better way is to use kind 100, which has a standard way to include a 4-byte application signature.

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Software

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