You might have come across JPEG vs. PNG vs. GIF several times and you may think that all three are same. Actually they aren’t. It’s true that all of them are different format for images but they differ from one another vastly. In this tutorial I’m going to tell you how do they differ, when to choose them and when not to.

Last time I discussed regarding the calibration of monitor. You can check out that tutorial here: How to Calibrate your Monitor for Printing and Photoshop.

So let’s start with JPEG against jpg vs. png.


JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Expert Group

One thing worth noticing is that JPEG and JPG are same. Years ago, Microsoft’s Window only supports extensions of 3 characters. So JPEG was shorten to JPG so that window’s user can also preview JPEG file. But Mac didn’t have this problem. So the Mac users call it JPEG while the window’s call it JPG. With the advancement in technology, Microsoft’s Window starts to support four characters extension and now window’s users can preview JPEG format also. Interesting fact, right?

You should use JPEG when your image has millions of colors but you don’t want to unnecessarily increase your image size. JPEG compresses the image by eliminating some fine details off the image. This process is called as image compression and the result is a ‘lossy’ image. This format is sometimes also called as ‘lossy’ format. Use it when you need to handover the images to someone or you want to upload it on the internet.

With the help of Photoshop’s ‘Save for Web’ command (Go to File>Save for Web or press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S/Cmd+Opt+Shift+S), you can also control the amount of compression.

One point worth noticing is that JPEG doesn’t preserve transparency. More details regarding the transparency is explained under PNG section.

Below is an example for you. You can see a huge loss in details of the the left image as compared to the right images. Left image is also showing a little bit false color.

3_thumb1 - Difference Among: JPEG vs. PNG vs. GIF vs. WBMP, and When to Choose Them

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