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Can You Explain the Difference among Image File Formats like JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF and BMP?

Duck Programmer
・3 min read

JPG/JPEG

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group.

Difference between JPG and JPEG

You may have seen two types of extension, .jpg and .jpeg. In fact, there is no difference in functionality between the two, just a difference in the extensions. That's because MS-DOS, which is a OS widely used in the 1980s, has a restriction on file extensions of up to 3 characters.

Characteristics

It is a format for compressing image files. Its way of compressing is a little complicated and is lossy compression so you can't restore the image to its original state. If you want to know its compression algorithm, click here.
24-bit color depth is mostly used. 24-bit color is a method of expressing about 16.7 million different colors by assigning 8 bits, or 256 shades, to each of red, blue and green.
You can use jpeg format on web. But its background cannot be transparent.

Purpose

Digital cameras often use jpeg format for their photos. It is suitable for phots. It's not suitable for images with a few colors because of its compression algorithm. Also, it is used on web because of its high compression rate.

PNG

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics.

Characteristics

It is a format for compressing image files. Its way of compressing is very simple so I'm going to explain the algorithm in next header. You can restore the image to its original state.
24-bit color depth is mostly used.
You can use png format on web. Also, its background can be transparent.

Compression Algorithm

In a image, there are always a lot of pixels that are the same color, pixel by pixel. So instead of storing each pixel data, you can store data like the image below.

comp

Mostly, its compression rate is lower than jpeg.

Purpose

If you want the background of your image transparent, it's the only choice. It is suitable on web.

GIF

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

Characteristics

It is a format for compressing image files. Its way of compressing is called LZW compression. If you want to learn LZW compression algorithm, click here. Using its algorithm, You can restore the image to its original state.
8-bit color depth is used. So the data size is small.
You can use gif format on web.
You can use gif for animation.

Purpose

It is suitable for images with a small number of colors, like logos and illustrations. It's good on web. Also, if you want to save easy animation for a small size, it's a choice.

Extra Talk

There's been a debate whether the pronunciation is "gif" or "jif" over years. If you have an interest, click here to see the history.

TIF/TIFF

TIFF stands for Tag Image File Format.

Difference between TIF and TIFF

It is the same reason as jpg/jpeg.

Characteristics

It is basically uncompressed format. 24-bit color depth is mostly used. You can't use tiff format on web.

Purpose

Digital cameras often use tiff format for their photos.

BMP

BMP stands for bitmap.

Characteristics

It is basically uncompressed format. 24-bit color depth is mostly used. You can't use bmp format on web.

Purpose

When you want a high resolution image and you don't care the file size, it can be an option. Or, when you want to render or edit an image by programming, it can be one of the easiest formats.

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