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graphics on the webGIF - An acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, created originally in 1987 by CompuServe to facilitate the exchange of images between different platforms. The file format is known for its compression and the fact that it can store and display multiple images. The major drawback to GIF is that images can only use up to 256 distinct colors to display their data. For photographic-quality images, this is a significant obstacle.

Choose the GIF format for:

 Images with a transparent background
 Animated graphics
 Smaller, less complex images requiring no more than 256 colors

JPG - Developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, this file format is the Internet standard for presenting photo realistic images. It has the capability to compress large images down to very small file sizes while retaining the overall photographic quality of the image. JPEG files can use any number of colors, so it's a very convenient format for 24-bit images (True Color, which supports more than 16 million colors).

Choose the JPG format for:

 Larger, more complex images requiring more than 256 to display properly

Graphics Image Compression

Graphics CompressionBalancing quality against download speed is a constant concern when designing a web page and all the graphics for it. In the case of web graphics, less is definitely more. Some files can actually be much smaller using compression in the JPG format and result in a better looking graphic. The best of both worlds.

While using the GIF format generally creates a smaller file for faster download, that is not always the case!

What I usually do is create the image I like in Paint Shop Pro from, for example, using the default file setting of 16 million colors. (This allows for far more image design and effects possibilities while you are designing, too.) If I do not need the image to be transparent, I will play around with my compression options before saving, or exporting, the file to see which format gives me the highest quality at the lowest file size. Sometimes JPG files can be smaller than GIFS.

The only online graphics compression utilities that I have found are for GIFs only. GIFBot is an excellent one to try.

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