by: Richard Lowe
(Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a very efficient,
true-color, compressed image format. It uses lossy compression,
which means that bits are removed from the image in order to
save space. JPEG files support millions of colors (compared with
the 256 for GIF).
JPG format is best for images with gradients, blends,
inconsistent color variations such as photographs or paintings.
Images which have well separated tones should be saved in the
GIF or PNG format. For example, if you include text in your
image, you will notice a definite fuzzing of the characters when
you view it.
have several options when optimizing JPG images. JPG
lossy format (which means it throws away bits), so with each
generation of the image you save you will loose information, and
that will degrade the quality of the image.
Any good image editor (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and others)
will allow you to specify a compression percentage when you save
the file. Before you purchase a graphics editor make sure it has
a preview pane on the save so you can see what the compressed
image looks like when you save it. This is a lot easier than
saving a copy, examining it, resaving it and so on.
supports a concept similar to interlacing in GIF which
called progressive JPEG. This simply means that a rough image is
displayed initially, followed by more and more detail as
additional bits of the image are received. This is good for
displaying large images. Unfortunately, progressive JPEG is a
relatively new standard and is not supported by all browsers.
is a new format which is threatening the supremacy of
and JPEG. That format is called PNG (Portable Network Graphics).
like GIF, supports lossless compression. This means
unlike JPEG, bits of the image are not lost or thrown away when
the image is decompressed. This compression scheme is public
domain and improved over the algorithm used by GIF.
in the PNG format may be made partially transparent.
is necessary for displaying good looking graphics on a web page.
PNG supports color depth of 24 bits or greater. This
makes it a much better format than GIF for images which must
have lots of colors.
important thing to remember about the PNG format is
color pallet is contained within the image. Thus, it's important
that the pallet be made as small as possible, containing only
the colors that are necessary to display the image. Most
graphics programs should handle this detail for you when the
file is saved.
that JPG is still superior for large images because
compression scheme is better suited for that purpose.
addition, the PNG design does not include support for
animation. Thus, GIFs must still be used for that purpose.
of the modern graphics editors support output in the
format. These editors include Paint Shop Pro, which is my
I think it's a little early to go and replace all of
your graphics with PNG graphics. Support within the different
browsers is still very new, and you would be depriving many of
your visitors of your graphics by including PNG images. However,
in a few years I expect to see this format more and more.
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