What are PNG Files?

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, and they are increasingly important images. Their greatest use is when a transparent background is needed. There are two common situations: (1) a "cutout" or isolated image is needed (2) a composite image is being created by adding an element such as a person to a background they were not photographed in. The transparent area is represented by a checkered background.

There are three forces driving the increased importance: (1) the constant migration of content from print to web; (2) high production costs associated with location shoots; and, (3) the power of photo editing software to produce impeccable composite images.

They save time and money for all entities who use them with still imagery in their communications, whether digital or print media.

The only real weakness of the PNG file format is that it doesn't hold metadata so can't be searched with keywords. That's why we are the only known professional source of PNG images, and we are working on a solution to the keyword searches.

To learn more you can have our free report "How to Save Time and Money with PNG Files"

How to Use PNG Images

There is only room to list a few quick ideas here. To see examples with images get our free report - How to Save Time and Money with PNG Files. There is a link in the checkered box above.

1. If you have an image of a background that seems a little empty, perk it up with an element in a PNG File. Examples: a body of water, add a boat or for a city skyline add a plane and for a garden add a person.

2. On websites you don't need to change the background of a page to match an image, nor do you need to have the image in a rectangle. Use our a PNG file with a transparent background. A pizzeria can use PNG file of a pie with a transparent background.

3. Save production costs by using PNG images of models, products, or props in a studio, and drop them into an image that contains the right background. Example: use a PNG photograph of models in swimwear created in studio, place them in an image of the right beach.

How to Make PNG Images

Creating PNG images is essentially achieved by selecting (outlining) an element of a photograph, masking the "keep", deleting the rest of the image data, and saving the selected element in the .png file format. Before saving the file the background layer must be unlocked and deleted.

Photoshop has a lot of ways to make selections. For some selections it may be best to use tools like the pen, polygonal lasso, magic wand, or quick selection tool. Another choice is selecting a color range in the "Select" menu, and another is to create the mask with an alpha channel. Finally, you may use plug-ins with Photoshop to create masks. The essential for creating good PNG images is creating great masks.

Creating a good PNG image can be time consuming for professionals and unachievable for those who don't have capable photo editing software, the skill, and the time. So, it is often the case that acquiring PNG photographs is smart management.