Most people are unaware of the differences between two popular image formats: JPG and PNG. PNGs are actually more superior to JPGs, but many people do not know why.
The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics) image formats are both commonly used on the Internet today. This makes choosing which to use a confusing decision since both formats have pluses and minuses. It’s not an easy question to make an answer (at least for me, anyway).
Though similar with some of their properties, JPEG and PNG format offer different choices to support specific types of applications and uses. Let’s describe those differences here while we learn when to use each format.
JPEG is a compressed file format.
JPEG is a compressed file format. It uses lossy compression to reduce the file size of an image. JPEG uses a lossy compression method that discards some information from the original image to create a smaller file. The amount of compression can be adjusted to control the sizes of the outputted image, but at the cost of visual quality.
The JPEG standard defines two different kinds of compression: baseline and progressive. Each kind has its own advantages and disadvantages, but they both produce images that are visually similar in quality.
JPEG is optimized for photographs.
JPEG works best for photographs, where there’s lots of detail in various shades of color. It does not work well for detailed line art like logos or charts, because it can’t distinguish between similar colors well enough.
JPEG is particularly useful for displaying on the web because it can be compressed into small file sizes without too much quality loss — making pages load faster and saving bandwidth.
PNG can be used for logos and line art.
PNG is a bitmap image format and can be used for logos and line art. PNG images support 24-bit color, which means they can display a larger range of colors than JPEG files. PNG files also have greater transparency than JPEG files, so you can use them in web design to create icons that appear to fade into the background.
JPEG does not support transparency, while PNG does.
JPEG does not support transparency, while PNG does. This means that if you want an image with transparent areas, you should use PNG instead of JPEG. However, this is only relevant if you’re working with images in a program like Photoshop — both formats support transparent areas if they’re exported as TIFF or PSD files.
The PNG format could potentially be more efficient, while the JPEG format could potentially have higher quality. The primary difference is that JPEG is a lossy image format, and so you have to worry about data loss when saving (and altering) images. That extra concern may not matter depending on your needs, so it’s always best to do your research on what works best for you.