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Difference between JPEG, PNG & other image formats.


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JPEG and PNG are very different because they have different goals.

JPEG is what's called a "lossy" format, it uses very clever math to compress an image as small as possible while still making it appear the same. In this process it throws away some of the information of the image but if you keep the settings high you'll never notice (also recompressing with different base parameters will make the image progressively worse quality for each time it's saved, this is why re-shared JPEGs become blurry and blocky). Because of the way this compressin works, JPEG is not capable of storing transparency (If I recall correctly, JPEG2000--a variant of JPEG is capable of storing transparency--but that format is rarely used https://19216801.onl/).

PNG on the other hand is a "lossless" format, it will not throw away any of the information in the image, what you put in, you get right back out again. The compression in the format is kind of like a zip file, but specifically designed for images. It also supports four channels--red, green, blue and transparency.

To also answer Gwiel's question, this means that JPEG is really good for storing photos, they're usually fairly high resolution images that it doesn't matter much if a few pixels are bit off in and JPEG will make them small and easy to transfer. PNG on the other hand is often used for icons, replacing the venerable GIF format on the web (unless you want animation which PNG officially does not support).

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