There are different image formats for people to use. These formats are Graphic Interchange Format (GIF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (PNG). Most people disregard file extensions like .gif, .jpeg, and .png thinking that it will not cause any difference. However, it is necessary to remember that these image formats differ from one another. In fact, these are incompatible with one another. To clarify the difference between these three image formats, let us discuss the pros and cons of each of these image formats.
Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
GIF compresses files by scanning in a horizontal manner across a row of color while searching for solid colors in the image. It also indexes the pixels in accordance to the 256 color palette in the file. By using graphic interchange format, there will be no information that will be lost in the process of saving. However, minimal information loss is possible upon the RGB to GIF conversion process.
Pros of Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
- There are 256 colors in Graphic Interchange Format.
- Graphic Interchange Format is perfect for logos.
- It is best for flat areas of color that come with a distinct region.
- It works with the lossless compression process.
- It is ideal for small animations.
- It is suitable for icons that come with small colors.
Cons of Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
- It uses a bigger file size compared to the PNG format.
- It is the oldest among the image formats.
Joint Photographic Experts Group
When compressing the file, some data will be discarded when using this format. Therefore, the final file will have a reduced quality of its original file. Its compression algorithms deal with abrupt changes and sharp edges in a poor manner. When referencing color information, it does not use color palettes. The individual will have the choice to compress the JPEG file as much as the individual wants.
Pros of Joint Photographic Experts Group
- It uses 24bit color.
- The Joint Photographic Experts Group is great for high details and high-quality images.
- It converts with lossy compression.
- It was approved as the standard image format in 1994.
- Most often, the design and photography industry uses this kind of image format.
- It is the best image format if the person is willing to give up the quality for the sake of its size.
Cons of Joint Photographic Experts Group
- The Joint Photographic Experts Group does not support transparency.
- It does not work well for logos and icons.
Portable Network Graphic (PNG)
The good thing about Portable Network is that it uses the 24-bit color. It is suitable for icons, flat areas, and logos. One more thing about Portable Network Graphic that captures the heart of the people has more advance transparency channel than the Graphic Interchange Format. However, in most cases, the PNG produces bigger files compared to JPEG. PNG is not great for saving big images due to its big generated file size.
Here is a cool infographic I found on these different file types. This graphic makes it easy for you decide which one you want to use. Make sure you bookmark this page for future reference!
Pj Lucas says
Hello, there Garen, You are a wealth of information and very happy to find you! I have never had the different extensions graphics explained. You made it very clear! Thank you. Also, you used the terms lossy/loseless. Could you please explain those for me? And what are the benefits or disadvantages are of each?
as I investigate you site further. You have it very well laid out. It loads quickly to be so full of information. You would think it would bog down! Ha!
Bookmarking you now! Thank you, pJ
Lossless and lossy have to deal with image compression. Here is a good article that explains it:
https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/lossless-and-lossy-compression and https://www.tucows.com/article/930
This article has really helped me clear up some things I could not quite get my head around.
I have always enjoyed photography, and have recently looked into maybe selling some of my photos. I have been getting really positive comments on my photos for years, but have only kept them for personal enjoyment.
So now that I have started to look into more professional photo editing I have had to get my head around the different file types. I had previously only edited JPEG, but I am now using RAW more.
This has been a great help thanks.
Do you know much about TIFF files, as they seem to be used widely in the photography world too?
Tiffs are a lossless file that does’t use any compression. The file sizes for these pictures can be quite big. The have excellent photo quality, but I would recommend storing these files on a remote server or any external hard drive.
I wouldn’t recommend using these files on the web though. They are far to big and will take forever to load.