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From the Article Archive
The Basics of Image Formats
We’ve used them countless times but do we really know the exact differences of each image formats? In web designing, it is important to know how each format is different from one another in order for you to precisely determine which type of image format will suit the best in your web designing planning. Each has its own definite strengths and weaknesses and being familiar with the form of each format will help you to use each to their maximum potential in terms of appearance in your website. Here is a complete list of the most widely used image formats in web design and in the internet in general.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
The most generally used image format for its emphasis on the quality of the image. JPEG formats are much more compressed than it counterparts but it does not diminish the quality of the image in anyway. It is the default format for almost all digital cameras and is preferred by photographers due to its simple customization and ideal file size. The compression process of the image is also manually controlled by the user making this format user-friendly and easy to customize to your benefit.
The JPEG’s main advantages would be its fast loading and compression, excellent quality images, 24-bit color support and its compatibility in all major media devices. The most common format for images, it is the preferred due to its simplicity and its excellent image quality production.
Graphic Interchange Format (GIF)
GIF images are now mainly used as small animation clips for websites. This was mainly generated for the specific use in web designing to be able to create animations that do not use flash giving it the advantage of having a faster loading time. Using a compressed algorithm, GIF images are able to load at a rapid rate by using only small file sizes to generate each image. Using only about 256 colors or basically 8-bit level of animation it does not need any type of upgraded application to be able to play appropriately. Like the JPEG file, the GIF format is compatible with all types of browsers.
GIF images have a distinct advantage when it comes to web designing with its average to above quality image generation and the added ability to be animated. Among other things, GIF images are able generate transparency and graphs are much better when in GIF format.
Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
An alternative format to GIF images, PNG file format is still unable to find its niche crowd in web designers or in web images in common. While PNG format images are better than GIF images on paper, the execution still has much to be desired as most browsers still have problems supporting the format. While some that do support the image format still is having trouble applying some of the distinct features that PNG format offer to its full effect. However, most see this to be just a hindrance for PNG files that it will soon overcome. PNG format can still be seen as the future and preferred format in web browsing and web design.
Most of the PNGs advantages stem from the GIF format’s short comings. The format builds around the premise of GIF images and strengthens the weaker foundations that hinder its quality production. PNG do not have the same color limitations that GIF does, it allows text integration into the image helping you search for specific images on search engines, and like GIF it supports image transparency and has a much better image quality projection than JPEG. This shows how most view PNG files as the future of image formats.
JPEG and GIF format images are commonly used today in web integration due to their accessible nature and their cross compatibility with most web browsers. PNG may offer superior image quality but it still, up to now, in the early planning stage and is not a suggested format to be used in your website.