I know, I know, you’ve all likely been up countless nights stressing about whether that image should have been saved as a Jpeg or a png file. We’ve all been there. But now you don’t need to worry anymore, we now have the final definitive answer to the burning question.
In this video from PiXimperfect, they take us through the main differences between a jpeg and a png file, and it’s pretty interesting. He also gives us a guide for when to use each type as they both have their uses.
So what are the differences then between Jpeg and png? Firstly, the main thing to remember is that png files are lossless and so don’t lose quality, whereas jpeg files are lossy and do lose image quality. That being said, there are specific instances when you should and shouldn’t use each one. This video has a great flow chart (at 11:38) that will take your hand in making the decision.
Is it a real photograph or a flat illustration?
Flat illustrations or graphics where you can count the colours are generally better as png files. If you zoom in at 800% you will see no artefacts. The jpeg file is similar in quality but double the output file size. For a photograph, it’s actually the reverse. A photograph fares much better as a Jpeg with a much smaller file size. Weird, I know!
Do you need transparency?
If you need a transparent background then you absolutely must choose a png file. Jpeg does not support transparency.
Are you using 16 bit and concerned about banding?
Now it’s no surprise that Jpeg has a lot more banding than png. 16-bit files generally have much less banding than 8-bit files. So if banding is a concern, you’re better off working and saving in 16-bit. But jpeg doesn’t support 16-bit files, so if you want to save in 16 bit you will have to save it as a png or a Tiff file.
Does the platform you’re posting the image to convert it to a jpeg?
Obviously many social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram will automatically convert any image to a jpeg file. You’ll retain much better image quality if you convert the image yourself rather than letting the platform convert it for you. So you need to know the output for the image and where it will end up before making a final decision.
So now that’s settled we can all sleep easier!