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Images

If you’re making the leap from desktop publishing, you’re probably accustomed to using image and graphics formats, such as TIFF and EPS, that give you the best possible image quality. On the Web, these formats are largely irrelevant, while JPEG, GIF, and PNG prevail. As you probably know, bandwidth is a big issue on the Web. Even with a 56 K modem you will most likely get only 45 K actual throughput, so large data transmissions are out of the question. Images usually make up 60 percent to 80 percent of the data on a Web page; consequently, file compression is a significant issue. JPEG and GIF are popular formats on the Web, because they employ effective compression algorithms that can compress graphics into relatively small files. This efficiency, however, comes at the expense of image quality.

JPEG, GIF, and PNG all have their advantages and drawbacks, which pertain mainly to their different compression algorithms. Generally, JPEG is used for photographs, GIF is used for graphics with solid-colored areas, and PNG straddles both worlds. Each of these image formats are explained in detail in their own chapters, but to help you get started designing right away, the following sections offer brief explanations.


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