DDS - Microsoft DirectDraw Surface

What is a DDS file

The DDS (Direct Draw Surface) file container format created by Microsoft is a standard for storing compressed data using the S3 Texture Compression algorithm to achieve lossy compression. Decompression is achieved through GPUs and gaming consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox platforms. This allows users to store textures, cubic environment maps, and more as data in either compressed or uncompressed formats. This is useful in modifying games as well as running games smoothly. Additional features supported by DDS include: mipmaps, texture arrays, and decoding using DDS-specific interfaces. DDS works closely with DirectX drivers.

Upon the release of DirectX 7.0 and DirectX 8.0, the DDS format was introduced to support the new volume textures. Despite an early connection with the DirectX series, DDS files can be used with GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) ARB texture compression extensions as well. Direct3D 10 extended the abilities of the DDS file extension by adding more textures and the added support necessary to work with Direct3D 10.x and 11 texture formats. DDS formats support the DXGI_Format value but the WIC DDS codec allows coding with the DXFI_FORMAT_BC1_UNORM as well as the BC2 and BC3 related formats.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open DDS documents:

  • Adobe Photoshop with NVIDIA DDS plugin
  • Gimp with DDS plugin
  • Microsoft DirectX Texture Editor
  • NVIDIA Texture Tools
  • Windows Texture Viewer
Extension DDS
MIME type image/
Useful links
Example Files
(3.66 MiB)
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