Choosing the Right Image Formats: JPG, PNG, WEBP, and TIFF

Explore the essentials of image formats with our concise guide on JPG, PNG, WEBP, and TIFF. Learn how each format plays a vital role in digital imaging and discover how to use Picsart's tools to maximize image quality and performance for your projects. Perfect for anyone looking to sharpen their image handling skills!

In the vast digital landscape, choosing the correct image format can significantly affect the performance and quality of your content. Among the myriad of formats available, JPG, PNG, WEBP, and TIFF stand out as popular choices for different needs and platforms. Here, we explore these formats and how they can be best utilized using Picsart's range of tools and services.


Here is a quick comparison of the formats

FormatMax. ResolutionPros and Cons
PNGTheoretically unlimited resolution but practical limits depend on software and processing power- Supports transparency
- Lossless compression- Larger file size compared to JPEG
JPGMaximum of 65535x65535 pixels due to format limitations- Widely supported
- Efficient compression resulting in smaller file sizes
- Lossy compression; does not support transparency
WEBPCan support resolutions up to 16383x16383 pixels- Superior compression techniques
- Supports both lossy and lossless compression
- Supports transparency- Not fully supported by all web browsers
TIFFTheoretically unlimited, often limited by software capabilities- Ideal for high-quality images
- Supports multiple image layers and tags- Very large file sizes
MPODepends on the device capabilities- Supports multiple images in one file, ideal for 3D photography, versatile for various applications including scientific imaging
- Not universally supported by all software or devices, requires specialized software for viewing and editing
HEIFDepends on the implementation and the capabilities of the device or software handling the file- Efficient compression, smaller file sizes while retaining quality
- Has a rich color depth with 16-bit colors- Not universally supported across all platforms.
- Requires more computational power for processing.


JPG, formally known as JPEG, is the most widely used image format, renowned for its efficiency in compressing images into smaller file sizes while maintaining reasonable quality. This format is ideal for photographic content where detail is key but some quality loss is acceptable. It's particularly useful in scenarios where bandwidth and storage are considerations, such as web pages and email attachments. When using Picsart Creative APIs, JPEGs can be dynamically optimized to balance quality and file size, ensuring fast loading times without sacrificing visual fidelity.

The terms JPG and JPEG essentially refer to the same image format. The only difference between them is the number of characters in the file extension. Both extensions represent the JPEG standard, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group—the name of the group that developed this widely-used digital image format.

The divergence in extension—.jpg versus .jpeg—originated from the early versions of Windows. Older Windows versions only supported three-letter file extensions, which led to the abbreviation of the JPEG format to .jpg. On the other hand, Unix-based systems did not have such a limitation, so the full four-letter extension, .jpeg, was used.

Today, both .jpg and .jpeg are recognized universally by most, if not all, operating systems and software. There is no technical difference between the two; the choice of extension usually depends on the operating system, user preference, or the default setting in the software being used to save the file.

At Picsart, the distinction between .jpg and .jpeg file extensions is seamless, as the platform does not differentiate between the two. Whether users upload a file with a .jpg or a .jpeg extension, the software treats them equally, ensuring full compatibility and functionality. This approach allows users to work with their images without concern for the specific format nuances, focusing instead on unleashing their creativity and utilizing the wide array of editing tools available on Picsart to enhance their digital images.


PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics and is the go-to format for anyone needing high-quality transparent graphics. Unlike JPEG, PNG files support lossless compression, meaning they do not lose quality over multiple saves. This feature makes PNGs perfect for logos, icons, and any graphic where sharpness and clarity are paramount. Moreover, the PNG format supports a broad color palette and is widely used in web design. Picsart Programmable Image APIs can manipulate PNGs to ensure they are web-optimized while retaining their crisp visuals.


Developed by Google, WEBP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WEBP can drastically reduce the filesize of images compared to PNGs and JPEGs, which means quicker load times and less bandwidth usage—essential for mobile and web applications. WEBP is supported by most modern browsers and is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for web images. With the Picsart Photo and Video Editor SDK, converting images to WEBP is straightforward and provides an excellent balance between quality and performance.


TIFF, or Tagged Image File Format, is used extensively in the professional photography and publishing industries due to its ability to store images in a high-quality, lossless format. TIFF files are larger but preserve the original quality of digital images, making them ideal for any editing or printing process that demands high fidelity. While not typically used for web purposes due to their size, TIFF files are perfect for storing archive-quality images or for use in printed materials. When handling TIFF files, Picsart Enterprise solutions offer robust tools for processing and converting these images without losing detail.


The MPO (Multi Picture Object) format is an image file format that stores multiple images in a single file. It's an extension of the JPEG format, which means it uses the JPEG standard for image compression but allows for more than one JPEG image to be stored in the same file. This feature is particularly useful for storing stereoscopic images, which are used to create 3D effects.

Here are some key points about the MPO format:

  1. Purpose: Primarily, MPO files are used to store 3D images captured by digital cameras with 3D capabilities. Each file typically contains two JPEG images taken from slightly different perspectives. When these are viewed together through a 3D-compatible device or software, they produce a perception of depth, simulating a three-dimensional effect.

  2. Compatibility: While MPO files use the JPEG format for each of the individual images, not all standard photo viewing software or devices support MPO files. Specialized software or devices designed for 3D image viewing are required to fully utilize the format's capabilities.

  3. Structure: An MPO file contains a set of attributes and markers that define how the images should be combined and displayed. It includes metadata that can describe not only the standard EXIF data found in JPEG files, such as camera settings and scene information, but also additional information specific to 3D presentation, such as the relation between the images.

  4. Usage: Besides 3D photography, MPO files can be used in other applications where multiple related images need to be stored together. This can include image editing tasks, scientific imaging, and other applications that benefit from storing different views or states of the same scene in a single file.

  5. Editing and Conversion: There are specialized tools and software available that can edit MPO files or convert them into other formats. For instance, software might split an MPO file into individual JPEG files or combine JPEG files to create a new MPO file.

Overall, the MPO format is a versatile extension of JPEG that supports innovative uses like 3D imaging, making it valuable for photography and applications requiring multi-perspective images.


HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image File Format and represents a leap forward in image file compression technology. Originally developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), HEIF can store higher quality images at half the size of JPEGs, making it a superb choice for high-resolution photography on modern devices that require efficient storage management. Beyond just storing a single image, HEIF is capable of including multiple images in one file, which is ideal for live photos, sequences, or bursts, as well as storing image metadata, thumbnails, and even depth information—all within the same file.

One of the notable advantages of HEIF is its support for 16-bit color depth, significantly greater than the 8-bit depth of JPEGs. This makes HEIF particularly advantageous for images with wide color ranges and gradients, providing smoother transitions and more detailed color representation. Because of its advanced compression algorithms, HEIF is becoming increasingly popular in environments where storage efficiency and image quality are critical, such as in smartphones and high-end photography.

However, despite its benefits, HEIF is not yet supported by the Picsart Creative APIs.

The Final Pixel

Understanding the strengths and limitations of each image format can help you make better decisions when it comes to creating, storing, and distributing digital images. Whether you're optimizing for speed and efficiency with JPEG and WEBP, aiming for the highest quality with TIFF, or needing the versatility of PNG, Picsart’s suite of products, including the Picsart GenAI APIs and the Picsart Programmable Image APIs, provide powerful solutions for managing these formats effectively. Each format serves specific purposes and choosing the right one can make a significant difference in how your digital content is presented and perceived.