Images are one of the best ways to attract visitors on your page. For blogs and other content related pages, images are a way to keep the users interested. On the other hand, for eCommerce stores, images are the most important elements based on which users make their purchase decisions. So, it is vital to provide perfect images on every page of your site. But, how would you know which is the perfect format to use from the wide options available? This blog will discuss in detail about the most popularly used image formats and will help you decide which image format you must use so that you have the best results.
JPEG image format
This is one of the most popular and most loved image formats. It is being effectively used since its invention in the year 1991! But, since the past 25 years, not many know how it works. Essentially, JPEG compression carves an image up to 8×8 pixel blocks. It then coverts the list of R,G,B values of each block’s pixels into a list of coefficients that are used in equations to describe the block in terms of waves of energy. Confused? Okay, all you need to understand is that JPEG is great at compressing those images with tremendous number of colours with smooth transitions between them; meaning that JPEG converts your image into more or less a photograph. On the other hand, it is very bad at compressing images with crisp edges or high-energy noisy textures, leading to blurring out the fine details.
GIF image format
GIF uses the LZW compression algorithm that scans over your image data and generates short codes for the parts of the image that repeat. This means that LZW shortens repetition and is great at compressing images that have large chunks of repetitive data. GIF works great for images that have only a few colours with sharp transitions between them. Although far simpler than JPEG’s mathematical compression, the drawback with GIF is that it cannot effectively compress images that have a moderate number of colours going above the 256 colour limit. An image with more than this number of colours results in slaughtering posterization. However, GIF sports fancy features of transparency and animation, unlike JPEG.
PNG image format
PNG effectively works for the same kind of images that GIF works for but, with added benefits like alpha channel transparency and no restriction of the 256 colour limit. Moreover, PNG also beats GIF in terms of compression by adding some layers to its compression stack. Firstly, it tries to reduce the amount of data to be stored by using the prediction strategy that pixels next to each other will be similar. This helps PNG save data by storing only the difference between its prediction and actual value. Secondly, it cuts off repetition using the LZ77 algorithm, just like GIF uses LZW. And then, finally, PNG uses the process of Huffman coding to boil down the remaining values by generating smallest possible codes for the most common values. Combining all these strategies provides huge benefits to make it more compression-friendly. All you need to understand is that PNG is the best for images with crisp edges and broad swaths of solid colour or accurately repeated patterns.
- JPEG is for those images with tremendous number of colours with smooth transitions between them.
- GIF is for images that have only a few colours (within the 256 colour limit) with sharp transitions between them.
- PNG is for images with crisp edges and broad swaths of solid colour or accurately repeated patterns.
Hope you will now be able to better decide which image format is the best for your blog/website. And if you still are not sure, you can have the best web designers in India to work on the designing of your site, who will know perfectly what to put up on your website for its success.