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PNG VS JPG: Main Difference

PNG VS JPG: Main Difference

by Alexa Davis
9/6/2022
34 views

If you know something about computer images, you are probably aware that there are many formats existing nowadays. If, for example, you’re creating a new website, you need to know the difference between JPG and PNG images in order to use them correctly.

In this article, we'll take a look at the PNG VS JPG battle and find out how they diverge and which type of image you should use in different contexts.

PNG VS JPG: What does PNG stand for?

PNG is an acronym for Portable Network Graphics. This is a raster or bitmap format, which means the picture is constructed with bits of information that then translate to pixels on a screen. The pixels together form colors that create your final picture.

The first PNGs (back then called PBF – Portable Bitmap Format) appeared in 1995. At that time, it was a big advancement in picture formatting and offered 24-bits of color, unlike the GIF images used at that time which only offered 8-bits. This meant that a PNG format could offer lots more hues and shades and have a higher resolution. PNGs today can also work on 48-bits and 64-bits. They’ve maintained their popularity across the world for almost 30 years.

JPG VS PNG: What is JPG?

JPG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This image format predates the PNG as it was first released in 1992. Its development, however, dates back to the mid-1980s. A JPG file is also referred to as a JPEG.

The idea behind the JPG image format was to reduce the size of the file. Since a picture contains a massive amount of data, a lot of it can be compressed and reduced by averaging out color information and reducing how much data is repeated.

This compression is called lossy compression. Just like PNGs, JPGs were also an improvement on GIFs. A JPG file is able to capture more complex images (like a photograph) and has a better resolution all while bringing its file size down.

PNG VS JPG: What is the main difference?

There are lots of similarities between PNG and JPG images. They both support a similar color-depth level and support color management, interlacing, and metadata. Neither of these formats, however, supports HDR, layers, or animation.

The main difference between PNG and JPG files is that JPGs don’t support image transparency while PNGs do. What’s more, 1-8bit PNGs support color indexing but no JPGs do.

Use cases to benefit from both types

For people who are unsure which format to choose when saving an image, there is a general rule to help you decide:

  • Use PNG format for images with a lot of text, transparent pics, or ones with partially transparent backgrounds, graphics, and line art.

If color vibrancy and clarity are particularly important, it’s best to choose the PNG format. Images with sudden contrast or color changes like comic or cartoon pictures are also best saved as a PNG file. If you’re going to carry out repeated editing, PNG formats are best as they don’t lose data when you edit.

  • Use JPG formats for photorealistic images and photographs that contain lots of different colors as well as those without transparent backgrounds or ones that are memory-intensive.

JPGs offer smooth transitions of colors, which is why they’re more suitable to photorealism and photography. If you’re planning to do lots of edits, JPGs aren’t the best format to use because they use lossy compression and will lose quality and data with each edit.

PNG VS JPG: Summary

If you’re using images for a website, the format can make a difference as to how fast your site loads. It can also affect how other graphics and pics look.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but these key guidelines are enough to provide a basic understanding of which image format to use with confidence. Our PNG VS JPG battle ended in nothing: both formats are useful and fulfill different needs, therefore you need to understand when to utilize one or another.

Play with formats to suit your needs

For the higher convenience, we collected multiple tools in one place so you wouldn’t need to download a bulk of apps or programs. PDF Candy offers free solutions for working with file formats: