Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter

What Does Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter Mean?

Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter (TARGA or simply TGA) is a simple raster format for individual images established by Truevision in 1984 to be used in the first graphics cards, TARGA and VISTA boards, used in IBM-compatible PCs that support high color/true color displays and allowed for both raw and lossless compression. These graphics cards were meant for professional computer image synthesis and video editing for IBM-PCs, hence the usual resolution of .tga files match PAL and NTSC standard formats.


Techopedia Explains Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter

Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter (TARGA) is often referred to as TGA because of its “.tga” extension. The graphics format can store image data of 8, 16, 24 and 32 bits per pixel; the maximum bits used for RGB is 24 bits, while the last 8 bits are used for the alpha channel, the transparency information, resulting in the RGBA color space. It supported 24-bit color even before it was available in the TIFF format, which helped establish TARGA in the 80s.

TARGA image data can be stored as raw data, or a lossless compression can be used such as the RLE compression which bears similarities to PackBits, a lossless compression method introduced by Apple. This compression method was found to be bad for large photographic images but proved suited for small, simple images such as icons, cartoons and line drawings.TARGA files were historically used for 3D textures in older video games.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…