PNG Full Form (Portable Network Graphics) is a file format used for lossless image compression. PNG has almost completely replaced the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) that was widely used in the past.
Like a GIF, a PNG file is compressed in a lossless fashion, which means that all of the image information is restored when the file is viewed. The PNG file is not intended to replace the JPEG format, which is “lossy”, but allows the creator to make a trade-off between file size and image quality when the image is compressed. Typically, an image in a PNG file can be compressed 10 percent to 30 percent more than in the GIF format.
PNG file format
The PNG format includes these features:
- Not only can a color be made transparent, but the degree of transparency, called opacity, can be controlled.
- Supports image interlacing and is faster to develop than the interlaced GIF format.
- Gamma correction allows the brightness of an image’s color to be tuned as required by specific display manufacturers.
- Images can be saved in true color as well as in the palette and grayscale formats provided by GIF.
jpeg vs png
JPEG and PNG are the two most commonly used image file formats on the web, but there are differences between them.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) was created in 1986. This image format takes up very little storage space and is fast to upload or download. JPEGs can display millions of colors, so they’re perfect for real-life images such as photographs. They work well on websites and are ideal for posting on social media.
Because JPEG is “lossy”—meaning that when the data is compressed, unnecessary (redundant) information is permanently removed from the file—some quality will be lost or compromised when converting the file to JPEG. ,
JPEG is the default file format for uploading images to the web, unless they contain text, require transparency, are animated, or would benefit from color changes such as logos or icons.
However, JPEG is not good for images that contain little color data, such as interface screenshots and other simple computer-generated graphics.
The main advantage of PNG over JPEG is that the compression is lossless, meaning that there is no loss of quality each time the file is opened and saved. PNG is also good for detailed, high-contrast images. As a result, PNG is usually the default file format for screenshots, because instead of compressing groups of pixels together, it provides an almost perfect pixel-for-pixel representation of the screen.
Another key feature of PNG is that it supports transparency. With both grayscale and color images, pixels in PNG files can be transparent, allowing users to create images that overlap neatly with the content of a website or image.
Uses of PNG
PNG can be used for:
- Photos with line art, such as illustrations, sketches, and comics.
- Images or scans of text, such as handwritten letters or newspaper articles.
- charts, logos, diagrams, architectural plans and blueprints.
- Anything with text, such as page layouts created in Photoshop or InDesign, then saved as images.
Advantage of PNG
The advantages of the PNG format include:
- Lossless Compression – Image does not lose detail and quality after compression.
- Supports a large number of colors — This format is suitable for a wide variety of digital images, including photographs and graphics.
- Support for Transparency – Supports compression of digital images with transparent areas.
- Perfect for editing image – Lossless compression makes it perfect for storing digital images for editing.
- Sharp edges and solid colors — ideal for images with text, line art and graphics.
Disadvantages of the PNG
The disadvantages of the PNG format include:
- Large File Size — Compresses digital images to a larger file size.
- Not ideal for professional-quality print graphics — doesn’t support non-RGB color spaces such as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black).
- Does not support embedding the EXIF metadata used by most digital cameras.
- Doesn’t natively support animation, but unofficial extensions are available.
History of PNG
PNG was developed by an Internet Working Group headed by Thomas Bott, who came together in 1994 to create the PNG format. At that time, the GIF format was already well established. Their goal was to provide an image format that did not require patent licensing, while also extending color support.
The GIF format was owned by Unisys and its use in image-handling software involved licensing or other legal considerations. Web users can freely create, view, and send GIF files, but they cannot develop software that creates them without making arrangements with Unisys.
The first PNG draft was released on January 4, 1995, and within a week, most of the major features of PNG had been proposed and accepted. Over the next three weeks, the group produced seven important drafts.
By early March 1995, all of the specifications (Draft Nine) were in place and accepted. In October 1996, the first version of the PNG specification was released as a W3C Recommendation. Additional versions were released in 1998, 1999 and 2003, when it became an international standard.
Evolution of Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
Portable Network Graphics (PNG) is a raster graphics file format that uses lossless data compression. It was developed in the mid-1990s as an open source alternative to GIF, which was under CompuServe’s patent at the time. PNG was designed to be able to transfer images over the Internet, particularly in web applications, and to be compatible with existing web browsers and platforms.
The development of PNG was led by an Internet group called the Portable Network Graphics Group, which included representatives from various organizations including CompuServe and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The group was founded in 1995 to develop a new image format that would be able to replace GIF, but without the legal restrictions of patents.
PNG was designed to be a simple and efficient format that can be used for a wide range of applications. It supports 24-bit color, as well as grayscale and indexed color images. It also supports transparency, allowing images to blend onto other images or backgrounds with smooth anti-aliased edges.
PNG was first released in 1996, and has since become a popular choice for storing and transmitting images over the Internet. It is widely supported by web browsers and image editing software, and is often used for saving images for the web, as well as for storing graphics for applications and games.
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