Do PNG Files Lose Quality When Editing?

Having the best graphics and highest quality possible is what can set you aside from the rest of the designers. If you are incorporating a PNG into your work you may be wondering if making changes to it will lessen the quality of the final graphic. Poor quality graphics can result in a less professional-looking outcome rather than the refined quality that you wish to present.

Generally, when using a PNG file you will not have to worry too much about a loss of quality because the file is designed to be lossless when compressed. Slight quality changes or differences in color from the original image can occur if a PNG file is saved in certain formats.

For more clarity on how quality is affected when editing a PNG file continue reading for helpful information.

PNG Files and How Are They Different From Other File Types

A Portable Network Graphic or PNG is a sort of graphic file that is generally preferred among graphic designers who focus on web design or use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for their creative design projects.

The reason many designers like to use this type of file format is that it allows for a broader range of colors and background transparency than other file types allow, such as a JPG or GIF format. Using a PNG format is especially useful when designing logos or creating images with multiple layers where background transparency is a must.

These types of file formats are considered to be lossless when edited and compressed for saving. There are some exceptions where the quality may be slightly downgraded which will be discussed in the next section.

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a PNG, the major downside of this type of format being that although the quality is increased they require more storage space which not everyone has the luxury of having which means it can be necessary to sometimes be sparing when using this type of file to avoid slow loading times and storage issues.

To learn more about how the quality of a PNG can be affected when saved by different methods continue reading the next section.

Two Ways to Save a PNG – Which is Best for Your Design?

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are different ways to save a PNG file. Both options offer a high-quality end product but there are some differences.

The first choice for saving a PNG file is the PNG 8-bit option which is much like a GIF because they only save a maximum of 256 colors.

The fact that this choice only supports 256 colors allows the file to take up less space. This can slightly reduce the image although some say that it is not enough for the human eye to detect but that depends upon who you ask.  

The second option for saving your PNG file is a PNG 24-bit format which allows for a virtually endless number of colors to be saved. The upside to this is that you will have some amazing eye-popping images to present; the downside as mentioned earlier is that the file sizes can become quite large which can slow loading time when being used in certain web applications.

What to Do When You Can’t Save Your Image as a PNG

There may come a time when you are ready to save the image you have worked so hard to design as a PNG file but alas it is not appearing as an option in the “save as” drop-down menu.

You may be wondering why this is and if there is anything you can do to solve the issue. Thankfully there is generally a simple reason as to why the PNG won’t save.

Here are the common reasons listed below:

  • Other non-PNG format options may be hindering the saving process
  • The bit mode of the image may need to be changed
  • Trying to save an image that is using CMYK color formatting which is not supported

If you have checked your settings and are still having difficulties you may need to reset your formatting preferences in which case you will likely be able to save your image at this point.

Knowing How to Edit and Save a PNG for the Best Results

Now that you have a more clear understanding of how PNGs work and how the quality of an image is affected by saving it in different formats you can make an educated decision on which file type to use on your next project.