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Image Optimization > PNG—Portable Network Graphic Format

PNG—Portable Network Graphic Format

The PNG (Portable Network Graphic) format was supposed to be the next-generation image format for the Web. It was developed to bring the best of two worlds together: JPEG and GIF. In fact, it has many of the benefits of those formats, but it transcends some of their limitations.

PNG allows lossless compression with 24-bit color, which yields more than 16 million colors. It comes in two flavors: PNG-24, which you can use for photographic images in lieu of JPEG, and PNG-8, which is an alternative to GIF. Like JPEG, PNG supports interlacing; unlike GIF, it does not support Lossy. PNG stands apart from both formats in a couple of ways. First, PNG-24 provides 256 levels of transparency through a dedicated Alpha channel, which lets you create transparent drop shadows that blend seamlessly with the background; PNG-8 supports one level of transparency. JPEG doesn’t support transparency at all, and transparency can be problematic with GIF, where you sometimes get a halo effect with anti-aliased images.


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