ASCII vs. BINARY in MAYA: What is the dealio?
Alright, so I’ve been asked this question enough time for me to sit down and write out my thoughts.
The American Standard:
ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A coded character set consisting of 128 7-bit characters. There are 32 control characters, 94 graphic characters, the space character and the delete character.
An ASCII file is defined as a file that consists of ASCII characters. It’s usually created by using a text editor like notepad or textpad. If you want to get down to the basics, technically ASCII stores information in ones and zeros. They are stored like this, just like any other file because that is all that a computer can understand.
An ASCII file is a binary file that stores ASCII codes. There are 128 different ASCII codes; this means that only 7 bits are needed to represent an ASCII character. So in any ASCII file, you’re wasting 1/8 of the bits. In particular, the most significant bit of each byte is not being used (0).
A full, general binary file has no such restrictions. Any of the 256 bit patterns can be used in any byte of a binary file.
A binary file are executables, sound files, image files, object files… etc…What makes them binary is merely the fact that each byte of a binary file can be one of 256 bit patterns. They’re not restricted to the ASCII codes.
Since every character responds to one byte of a file, it makes editing binary files very, very difficult (I’m not going to say impossible because I know some very talented people.)
People use binary because it is so unbelievably compact.
For example, suppose you wanted to write the number 100000. If you type it in ASCII, this would take 6 characters (which is 6 bytes). However, if you represent it as unsigned binary, you can write it out using 4 bytes.
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