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5 Key Differences Between PNG and JPG

PNG and JPG are two of the most popular image file formats. The two also have similarities in some ways. Like, both are intended for the end use. Other sameness, PNG and JPG are basically portable formats and require no specific tool to open them.

Even so, PNG and JPG have some basic differences. One of the technical differences between PNG and JPG is the compression algorithms used by each format. PNG uses lossless data compression, while JPG uses lossy data compression. The way how the files are created is also different. Typically, PNG files are created using drawing tools, while JPG files are generated by digital cameras.

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It was initially developed as an open alternative to GIF, which used the proprietary LZW compression algorithm. Meanwhile, JPG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It was a filetype developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group with the intention as a standard for professional photographers.

To make it clearer, below are 5 key differences between PNG and JPG.

1. Compression algorithm

As mentioned, one of the basic technical differences between PNG and JPG is the compression algorithm they use. PNG uses the lossless data compression. This algorytm allows the original data be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data. When you compress a PNG file, the quality of the file, remains good and not change. The consequence, the file size is commonly larger.

Conversely, JPG uses the algorithm of lossy compression. As opposed to lossless data compression, you will lose the file quality every time you compress your JPG image. This algorithm uses inexact approximations and partial data discarding to represent the content. Those technique of compression will be reducing the data size.

2. The way each file is created

As explained above, the initial purpose of JPG is to be a standard for professional photographers. In other words, JPG is the image format with a coverage of photography. JPG is the standard image file format of photographs, other than RAW. When you set the image quality on your digital camera settings to JPG, your photographs will saved in the format of JPG.

PNG, on the other hand, is the common format used on images types like digital illustrations and marketing materials which involve more detailed drawing forms like lines and typogrphy. When you work on digital illustrations or marketing materials that involves more detailed forms and typography, you should save your work in a PNG format instead of JPG. Up here, we can conclude that JPG is typically generated by digital cameras, while PNG is generated by drawing tools.

3. EXIF support

The major reason why JPG is used as the standard format in the digital photography field is because it is capable of embedding EXIF data. PNG has no capability to do the same. When it comes to photography, EXIF is the format of photo metadata which usually consists of information like the date the photo was taken, ISO, shutter speed, aperture and so on. Even so, JPG contains less information than RAW.

4. Transparency support

When editing a certain image, you sometimes want to make certain area of your image to be transparent. In PNG, you can apply this sort of effect. That is why nearly all logo images use the format of PNG instead of JPG. Since JPG doesn’t support transparency. To prove this, you can download this logo, which is available in a PNG format with a transparent background. Open the logo using your favorite image editor and export it in a JPG format. Instead of transparent, you will see the exported logo with a white background.

5. Typical use

Other difference between PNG and JPG is how they are implemented. JPG is implemented in digital photography as it is capable of embedding EXIF, which is crucial enough in digital photography. In addition, the JPG compression algorithm is also suitable on paintings of realistic scenes with smooth variations of tone and color. Conversely, PNG is better suited for image types like line drawings and other textual graphics where the sharp contrasts between adjacent pixels can cause noticeable artifacts. In other words, if you want create to such image types like logos, icons and digital illustrations, you should save your image in a PNG format instead of JPG.

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