|Academy Software Foundation
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What is an EXR file?
An EXR file is a raster image stored in the OpenEXR format, a high dynamic-range (HDR) image format developed by Academy Software Foundation (ASWF). The EXR format supports multi-layer images, lossy and lossless compression, and 16-bit and 32-bit pixels.
In 1999, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) developed the OpenEXR image format, then released it to the public in 2003 as an open-source format. In addition to the format, the company released an open-source software library that could create, edit, and process OpenEXR images, which use the .exr file extension.
The ASWF took over the development of OpenEXR in 2019 and periodically releases updates. Many major studios, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Weta Digital, Pixar Animation Studios, and DreamWorks, also contribute to the format's development.
Computer graphics professionals, such as visual effects artists and animators, commonly use the OpenEXR format because of its compositing features and accurate HDR scene-linear image data representation. Other notable OpenEXR features include multiple channels of different pixel sizes and different points of view for the same image.
How to open an EXR file
You can open an EXR file with various applications, including Blender and Serif Affinity Photo. If you are a Mac user, you can open EXR files with Apple Preview, which is bundled with the operating system. GIMP is another free application that can open EXR files, but they must be single-resolution, non-layered EXR files.
How to convert an EXR file
Various image editors and viewers, including Blender, Apple Preview, and Serif Affinity Photo, can convert EXR files to other formats.
For example, Affinity Photo can convert EXR files to the following formats: