JPG or PNG - which should I use?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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  • (Edited)
As a photographer, jpgs are my "go to" image distribution format.  I have been saving and editing my Snagit captures as jpgs since many of my communications are via photographic web sites that only allow jpg images.  

However, due to  some technical problems I had with Snagit, I was using Jing for a while (I got Snagit back, and am happy).  However, I notice that Jing sort of 'prefers' to save in the png format.  It's a tad bit more difficult to save a jpg in Jing, than it is in Snagit.

So my question is, is there some workflow or technical reason for this png preference?  SHOULD I be working in png for some reason and convert to jpg as needed?  FWIW, I have recently purchased Camtasia 9 and am starting to create video tutorials.
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Glen Barrington

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Posted 2 years ago

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Fred Slocombe

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My only concern is png file sizes are much larger than jpg, but the upside is png doesn't have as much noise and incorporates transparency.
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Jérôme Louvel

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The incorporation of transparency is a big advantage of the png format
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Glen Barrington

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I am aware of Png's transparency capabilities.  I guess what I am asking about is there a specific workflow or technological reason to use png by default?  is there some reason, perhaps with one of the other Techsmith products where png would be preferable enough to jpg where png should be favored?
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Paul

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Not that I am aware of.  I use PNG for SnagIt because I know that most of that material is destined for web use and PNG tends to be more web friendly but I use jpg for my photos.  As others have said, PNG's transparency capability is a real advantage for web work.
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Dubie

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In short there is no one size fits all if you will.
It depends on the project at hand.

Png is usually preferred when working with video because of its ability to have transparency
which is necessary when doing overlays or watermarks.

Jpeg is a lossy format in which some information is discarded and quality can be lower.
Although file size is usually smaller, it doesn't scale well and of course transparency is not
available.

png is a lossless format which retains more information and is more editable, scales better and retain better quality. The file size though can be larger.
(Edited)
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Glen Barrington

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"Png is usually preferred when working with video because of its ability to have transparency which is necessary when doing overlays or watermarks."

I suspect this is why Png appears to be the format of choice for Techsmith.   I have come to the conclusion that for the sort screen captures I have been doing, jpg is likely fine, almost required; but as I get more involved in creating Photographic video tutorials, I can see some value in the png format.
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Rick Stone

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Chiming in here with others. I totally love the PNG format. I love the ability to have the transparency as has been mentioned.

I'm probably using the wrong terminology again and I'm sure if I am I'll be shortly corrected and properly and fully chastised, but another aspect of PNG is the ability to have the alpha channel. Where the entire PNG image itself has partial transparency. I find that to be a huge benefit as well.

I've been a huge fan of PNG and have tried using it almost exclusively since it's now commonly accepted across browsers.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Paul

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I have often wondered why cameras don't shoot to PNG format.  I expect there's some complex technical reason that will go right over my head.

Paul. :)
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Joe Morgan

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High end Cameras shot in RAW and Jpeg. RAW retains all the original information captured by the camera.It's a format designed specifically for digital cameras. The file sizes are actually smaller that png's by comparison.
 
My Nikon D330 shooting a 6000 x 4000  RAW image.


That same image saved as a PNG from Photoshop.


Then saved as a JPEG



The problem with cameras saving as Jpeg is information is lost and you cannot get it back.My Nikon shoots RAW and Jpegs at the same time. If you like the Jpegs you are all set, or you can edit the RAW files for maximum results.

PNG is great for editing.If you done editing a png and know you will never edit it again.If you save it as a Jpeg you cannot see the difference with the naked eye.In reality, it's a waste of disk space to save png's just to look at them.Unless you need transparency,which is another story really.

Regards,Joe
 
(Edited)
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Paul

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But disc space is as cheap as chips these days so plenty of room for PNGs.  I've got 8 TB sitting on my desk in my home office.  Just sayin'
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Rick Stone

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Oh you guys and comparing your huge discs and all... ;)
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Paul

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Bragging Rights.  :)
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Joe Morgan

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Yeah, disk space is not so important these days. Makes a difference with camera storage though. Even memory cards are getting reasonably priced.
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Dubie

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I would somewhat disagree that png is always larger than raw.

It usually varies dependent on the  camera and the raw format.

Image shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark lll in the DNG format

DNG


Saved PNG  from Photoshop


Saved jpeg from Photoshop
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Dubie

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I would somewhat disagree that png is always larger than raw.

It usually varies dependent on the  camera and the raw format.

Image shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark lll in the DNG format

DNG


Saved PNG  from Photoshop


Saved jpeg from Photoshop
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Dubie

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Don't know how I got the double post ??  Sorry :)
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Joe Morgan

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I'm not strong on this subject matter but png's get really big if there truly saved as uncompressed.
My Nikon is pretty consistent.18 to 21 MB RAW files on average.
The brighter the colors the higher the Numbers.
I scaled this image down and saved it as a JPEG so you can see what I used for my example.It's actually a 6000 x 4000 RAW file.


In the RAW form it's properties are as follows.


In a compressed form of PNG, the one most people would probably be saving there PNG's with. It's a myth that the average PNG is fully uncompressed.Same goes with AVI video's.A fully uncompressed AVI, 1 min in duration.Would be several GB's,  but that's another story.


Here's the uncompressed version.68.7 Whopping MB's


Different Cameras probably use different algorithms for RAW but you see my point.RAW is what it is.
 PNG is a bit of a crap shoot. If the program you use doesn't give you control over the compression applied.You get whatever file size you get.But programs don't use Fully Uncompressed by default. Uncompressed creates unmanageable file sizes to say the least.But any time you compress a file,you "Are" throwing away information. So there is some edit-ability quality that is lost.
For photographers, the RAW file is the one to keep. 

Regards,Joe
(Edited)
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi all!

This is a pretty great discussion about an interesting aspect on the technicalities of TechSmith applications! I love it! I will admit though, that I don't have the answer as to why one or the other is used, so I am going to bring it up to the product teams to see what I can come up with; either I or a member of the product team should be getting back as soon as we're able.

Thanks all!

-Robert
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Fred Slocombe

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I remember that the png format has a better compression rate for solid colors such as those generated by Adobe Illustrator or captured computer screens with few gradients. Here's a side-by-side of color bars  to illustrate:
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Chris Larson, Snagit Technical Product Manager

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Official Response
Hello all!

We have a couple blog posts dedicated to this exact issue!
https://blogs.techsmith.com/tips-how-tos/jpg-vs-png/
and
https://blogs.techsmith.com/tips-how-tos/understanding-image-file-formats/

tl;dr
There are tradeoffs with file size, processing time, and transparency. But we lean toward PNG for the image clarity and transparency. Especially when dealing with screen text. It can get tough to read when compressed in a "lossy" manner.
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Glen Barrington

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"But we lean toward PNG for the image clarity and transparency. Especially when dealing with screen text. It can get tough to read when compressed in a "lossy" manner."

Ahhh!  THAT'S the answer I was looking for.  The answer to the question why does jing make it so difficult to use jpg?  It was as I suspected, that png is more useful to more Techsmith products than jpg.

Thanks Chris.