The PNG graphics file extension has come into mainstream use lately, but it was first used in Israel in 1977! It was developed from the work of two Israeli researchers on loss-less data. PNG was intended to replace the older GIF and TIFF formats for use on the World Wide Web and in image editing. A main advantage of PNG compression is that it's completely loss-less; this means that all compressed data is maintained and can continue to be fully edited, which can't be done with GIF and JPG formats.
PNG files also have the ability to be variably transparent, they have cross-platform image brightness control, and they have progressive display features. This is a large improvement over the GIF format; it should be noted that the improved compression rates of PNG files are anywhere from five percent to twenty-five percent compared to GIF formats. PNGs do not use animation like GIFs and it is a feature of the file that will not be supported by PNG. Other formats, like the MNG, have support for animations but are filed under different extensions. The MNG was developed in 1999 and is gaining support in some applications.
PNG formats are not vector-oriented, which is the file type preferred by most promotional product printers; this means that PNG formats are based on pixels and dots and are not intended for use with shapes, boxes, and lines. PNG supports 48-bit true color and 16-bit grayscales, and saving, editing, and transferring images will not degrade their quality. JPG is a better choice for photographic images because it supports the best rendering of these images (even with their subtle loss of definition at times, which can be corrected). The PNG file format is intended to be used by anyone using any number of applications. This is due to the parameters of the PNG file that require applications to support all of the aspects of the PNG file, unlike TIFF in which operators can choose what they support.
Descriptions of the PNG File Format
PNG Nome Site Page
A History of PNG File Format
Creating a PNG Image from a Webcam Image
Browser Support for PNG File Format
Web Colors and the PNG File Format
Comparison of PNG to Other File Formats
Cross Browser Variable Opacity with PNG File Formats
PNG Transparency Tests
Dreamweaver Tutorial on PNG File Format Use
Forum for the Use of PNG Graphics
Converting PNG Files
Free Online Image Converter
3D Applications that Support PNG File Formats
Optimizing PNG Graphics
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PNG Graphics File Type