JPG, PNG OR GIF – WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU USE AND WHEN?
When it comes to image use on your website, within your blog or in your social media posts, the JPG, PNG, and GIF file formats are the most commonly used. However, it is important to remember that each of these come with very different capabilities and are not cross-compatible. Here, we will look at the pros and cons of each, and give you our recommendation on where and when to use each one successfully.
JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
This file format is widely used by professional photographers and is ideally meant for use with photographs. It can be compressed as small as you like, however, keep in mind that some of the data in the file may be lost due to heavy compression. This file type also does not use color palettes when referencing color, rather, it uses 24-bit color definitions.
The Pros of using JPEG/JPG files
Most common file format used in the photography industry
Image file format for compression, but may compromise on image quality
Ideal for high-quality, highly detailed photographic images
PNG (Portable Network Graphic)
The Portable Network Graphic (PNG) file format is ideal for digital art (flat images, logos, icons, etc.), and uses 24-bit color as a foundation. The ability to use a transparency channel increases the versatility of this file type.
The Pros of using PNG file types
Ideal file type for digital art
Incorporates a “lossless” compression for ensured file quality
24-bit color (similar to JPEG) which supports over 16 million colors
Which is better JPEG or PNG?
In general, PNG is a higher-quality compression format. JPG images are generally of lower quality, but are faster to load. These factors affect whether you decide to use PNG or JPG, as does what the image contains and how it will be used.
What is the highest quality image format?
Are you wondering what is the highest quality image format? Do you need to save pictures to preserve their quality while printing and sharing? Believe me, if your work doesn't require knowing what separates TIF from a PSD or a PDF (like mine, I'm working as a graphic designer), there is no necessity to learn such things.
The number of available formats is just impressive. That's why I will try to provide you with the main features of the best image formats.
A raster image is also known as the one consisting of a set grid of dots. They are usually called pixels and each pixel is given a definite color. Mind that raster pictures are resolution-dependent. In other words, they are available only in one size. In case you want to transform raster images, prepare to get a blurry result. While enlarging them, the software takes into consideration surrounding pixels trying to guess what picture data is missing.
Usually, such format is used for photos, digital artwork as well as web graphics (social media content, banner ads, etc.). Photoshop is known as an image editor for creation, designing and editing raster images. You can also use it to add some shadows, effects or textures to available designs.
TIFF – Highest Quality Image Format
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is commonly used by shooters and designers. It is lossless (including LZW compression option). So, TIFF is called the highest quality image format for commercial purposes. It doesn't mean that this format is of higher quality than others. The main difference between TIFF and other formats is that it is more suitable for image post-production since it isn't compressed.
Moreover, TIFF makes it possible to create any desired kind of digital images. Feel free to work with it in any photo editing software to improve pictures. Be ready, TIFF images will occupy a lot of space on your device.
You should use a TIFF if:
A high-quality print graphics is necessary. TIFF, like RAW, is the best image file format. You’d better choose this format if you want to print photos in a large size.
You need to make a qualitative scan. If you use TIFF for this purpose and scan any required documents, artwork or photos, then be sure you will get the best copy of original files.
Don’t use a TIFF if:
You deal with web graphics. Of course, most web browsers support TIFF. However, its main function is printing. You’d better give preference to PNG or JPEG to showcase top-quality images online.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a widespread format for saving photos. Its extension is written as .jpg.
This best image file format features various qualities such as low, medium and high. You should select less compressed options for this format if you need a high-quality image. As a rule, photos in JPEG are shared on email, posted on the social network, published on the websites, etc.
One of its great benefits is saving a lot of space. The format doesn't take too much space on the memory cards. It means that you can store many images and do not worry about any limits. Mind that editing images in JPEG format may decrease their quality.
You should use a JPEG if:
You work with online photos and artwork. The highest quality image format lets you have impressive flexibility with raster editing as well as compression. As a result, you receive web images that can be downloaded quickly.
You are eager to print photos or artwork. Images saved in JPEG format are ideal for editing and further printing thanks to a high resolution with low compression.
There is a necessity to send a quick preview image to clients. You reduce the size of JPEG images to share them via email.
Don’t use a JPEG if:
You look for a web graphic with transparency. It is not a good idea to use JPEG as it doesn’t have a transparency channel and requires a plain color background. Give preference to GIF and PNG for this purpose.
You require a layered and a fully editable image. You will have problems with JPEG images as all changes are saved only in one layer and there is no opportunity to redo them. So, a PSD is a nice alternative in this case.