If you often work with digital photographs, I am sure you know about the several image formats that are available. The two most popular image formats are PNG, JPG but there are others as well such as TIFF, BMP, GIF and even RAW. Every device supports at least PNG and JPG, so you need to know when and in which condition which image format you should use.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It was built to replace the GIF form in 1996. It is one of the most popular lossless image compression formats. PNG is a raster graphics file format, which means that the images are stored in the file as a group of pixels of varying colors. PNG’s main objective was to become the main image format for sending small pictures and photographs over the Internet and also for hosting. These are simple images, consisting of lines, various shapes such as icons. As a result, the color space that PNG supports is a bit limited, it cannot support non-RGB color spaces such as CMYK since it was never meant to store high-quality pictures in the first place.
JPG stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. It was developed in 1992, and it is a lossy image compression format, unlike PNG which is lossless. One can easily adjust the degree of compression, which is ultimately a compromise between quality and file size. JPG has one of the best compression algorithms available and it can easily compress a file size by 10 times with any significant loss in image quality. This works great for high-quality pictures with tons of colors but doesn’t work that well for simple images such as lines, shapes etc. since the quality loss in such simple shapes stands out even more.
PNG vs JPG
1. File size – JPG images will always be smaller than PNG due to its lossy image compression algorithm. Hence, if disk space is limited or you want to publish some high-quality images to your website, then JPG is preferred.
2. Transparency – PNG supports transparency, while JPG doesn’t. This is a big issue for icons, images of various shapes, lines which are frequently used in any website for design. Hence, PNG should be used in that case.
3. Compression – JPG has an impressive compression ratio of more than 10:1 though there will be quality loss. PNG, on the other hand, has a ratio of more than 2:1, which is much lower.
If you are an enthusiastic photographer, then JPG is the perfect format for you. These pictures take up a lot of space, and you need the JPG compression to keep them at a reasonable size while keeping the quality almost the same. However, if you are thinking of icons, or simple pictures such as arrows, lines etc. for a website, then PNG is the way to go. PNG is lossless, so there will be no compromise on image quality.