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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Helper - A Techno TidBit About PNGs

Happy Sunday morning!  It's time to rise and shine!  Grab your cup of coffee and let's hang out together.  I'm Linda, one of Cheri's newest CT gals and I'll be blogging some hints and tips along with layout highlights and fun sneak peek games each week.  There's going to be lots of amazing new stuff coming out across the Dream Big Designs' blog and Facebook, so make sure you're connected to Cheri.  You don't want to miss out!

I've been using Photoshop Elements for a while now, but I still amazed at how many buttons and tools I rarely use and how many technology terms I'm not familiar with.  So let's see if we can't learn a few things together.  Today I'll be talking about PNGs and saving options.

Developed in 1995, PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, typically called "ping", and is an image file format that was designed to replace the GIF format.   The PNG file format offers better compression (meaning smaller file sizes) and more color support than GIFs.  GIFs only support a color palette of 256 colors while PNGs support millions of colors.  GIFs are widely used today for animated files (like blinkies) because PNG doesn't support animation.   File formats are important for web display and for image editing.  From our digital scrapbooking perspective, all embellishments are saved as PNG files.

OK, so if embellishments are PNG files, why are papers, layouts and photographs stored as JPG files?  It's because of transparency.  When you crop your PNG, it's still in a rectangular size, but you only see the embellishment itself and the rest of the cropped outer space is invisible or transparent.  If you crop your embellishment and try to save it as a JPG, it would add a solid white background behind the element to fill the entire cropped space.  JPG is for photographs and images that contain photographic elements as well as flatter paper images.  Make sense?  Do you need more coffee?

When you're creating an embellishment and getting ready to save it, you get this option box.  Do you know which option to select?

Choosing the interlaced option means that several "versions" are saved of the image inside the file (like going from a fuzzy image to a crystal clear image).  That's what makes the file size larger.  A while back when we were using really slow modems, this was a good thing because at least some image would appear on your screen and then get progressively clearer.  With the old modem and a non-interlaced PNG, you'd see nothing on the screen until the entire image loaded.

With today's faster cable access to the Internet combined with computers having faster processors and more memory, there's no substantial benefit of interlaced files because the response time is so quick.  So choose "None" for your PNG Options.  But let's try an experiment just for fun.

Here's a word art cluster I made with Cheri's Lucky Day kit.  This version I saved as a PNG with the "None" option.  File size is 4.3mb.

Here is the version I saved with the "Interlaced" option.  File size is 4.9mb, that's almost 14% larger.

Did you see any difference in how quickly it loaded?  What if you hit refresh and check it again, or scroll up and down this blog post?  Your computer probably loaded it so fast that you couldn't see any difference at all.  Now you know it's OK to click "None" when you're saving a PNG and feel comfortable that you made the right selection.    Hopefully you learned a little techno tidbit today.  Have a great week!  See you next Sunday for more coffee together!


  1. I've been wondering about this; thanks!

  2. Thanks for the tid bit! I had wondered why I had not heard of png files before I started working with photoshop a few years ago. The file type did not exist when I 1st tried digital scrapbooking in the early 1990's (and gave that notion up real fast). So many improvements in the last 20 years! I am now totally digital.

  3. I always wondered what the difference was between interlaced or not! Thanks for the info!

  4. Thank-you.(keyboard-malfunction-space-bar-does-not-work.)