Tuesday, September 2, 2008

PNG Images And Your Web Design

by Peter Brittain

The task of designing a web is incomplete without putting images on its pages. However you need to be careful while choosing the image format that best serves the purpose of designing your web. There are currently three types of image formats which are supported by all the browsers. They are JPEG (joint photographic experts group), GIF (graphic interchange format) and PNG (portable network graphics). The JPEG format is suitable when you have to use many colors for one image. However it cannot be used for images which have text with photographs. In the JPEG format the photographs may look blurred. The GIF format is used when there are less number of colors involved as it has a limitation of 256 unique colors. Usually GIF format reflects pixelated images which mar the beauty of photographs and therefore this format is not preferred. Thus the Portable Network Graphics or the PNG came into existence when the GIF format started showing shortcomings leading to its decreasing use by the web designers and developers across the world. On the other hand, a wide variety of images can be stored in the PNG format. Initially the most popular browser, Microsoft Internet explorer (IE), was found to be an incompatible support for this file format. But as soon as Internet explorer 7 (IE7) version came out with other java script hacks, PNG format became very effective. Thus the PNG images certainly have some clear advantages over the GIF format. Now let us discuss in detail why the PNG images will best suit your requirement for designing an excellent web.

Unlike the earlier GIF format, PNG format supports semi transparent pixels, which means PNG can be used as a watermark on a textured or gradient background. It can also be faded smoothly from opaque to transparent below the content on the web pages. If you want to change your logo with a soft drop shadow with a background of architectural sketches, which will change at regular intervals, then using GIF or JPEG format won't show the effect and therefore they are not advisable. This is due to the fact that every time the image changes, the background for the logo has to be edited. On the other hand, in the case of the PNG format, the image will float with a faded drop of shadow. This will help make your web fast, simple and dynamic.

The PNG format has the distinct advantage of displaying full color photographic images and supports a managed color palette. It never degrades in quality and saves the original files information. This quality makes for brighter and crisper images which smoothly pop on your site pages.

Earlier, the web designers had to face the problem of adjusting the brightness and the clarity of the images on a wide range of monitors and operating systems. This problem is related to gamma settings in different monitors. It is a method by which the monitors distribute the luminance evenly. But the problem is various operating systems have different gamma settings. This problem has been solved by the PNG file format which allows images to be saved with built-in gamma correction. This helps the operating systems to detect and adjust the brightness and contrast automatically. Thus by using the PNG format a web designer can correct images on their personal systems. This shows how the PNG format makes the job of designing a web so easy.

Thus PNG images ensure clarity as well as brightness of color. Using them for designing your web will definitely add much value to your website.

About the Author

Peter Brittain is a perth web designer who owns website design company slinky who specialise in great web page design.