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Image file formats are standardized means of organizing and storing digital images, some are good for retaining high quality, some have small footprint and others are trying to do both.

Legend
  • Released
  • Developer(s)
  • Extension
  • Type
  • Based on
  • Color depths (Palettes)
  • Animation Support
  • Transparency Support
  • Alpha Compositing
  • Compression type
  • Compression algorithm
  • Royalty Free
  • WebP Image File Format Logo
    WebP
    • 2010
    • Google
    • .webp
    • Raster

      When you zoom in on a raster image, you will see pixels.

    • Raster
    • VP8 & RIFF

      WebP is based on VP8's intra-frame coding and uses a container based on Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF).

    • VP8 & RIFF
    • Indexed & Direct

      Indexed: Means that the image can only store a limited number of colors (usually 256), controlled by the author, in something called a Color Map.

      Direct: Means that you can store many thousands of colors that have not been directly chosen by the author.

    • Indexed & Direct
    • Lossy / Lossless

      Lossy: Means the image is made (even) smaller, but at a detriment to the quality. If you saved an image in a Lossy format over and over, the image quality would get progressively worse and worse.

      Lossless: Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossy / Lossless
    • VP8

      It is an open and royalty free video compression format created by On2 Technologies as a successor to VP7 and owned by Google from 2010.

    • VP8
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) Image File Format Logo
    SVG
    • September 2001
    • W3C
    • .svg
    • Vector

      It's actually comprised of lines and curves instead of pixels. When you zoom in on a vector image, you still see a curve or a line.

    • Vector
    • XML
    • -
    • Lossless

      Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossless
    • -
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) logo
    PNG
    • October 1996
    • PNG DG

      PNG Development Group (donated to W3C).

    • PNG DG
    • .png
    • Raster

      When you zoom in on a raster image, you will see pixels.

    • Raster
    • -
    • Indexed & Direct

      Indexed: Means that the image can only store a limited number of colors (usually 256), controlled by the author, in something called a Color Map.

      Direct: Means that you can store many thousands of colors that have not been directly chosen by the author.

    • Indexed & Direct
    • APNG

      PNG doesn't have animation support, but another format (based on PNG) was developed to make PNG able to support animation, and it is called APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphics).

      For more information, please visit here.

    • No, but ...
    • Lossless

      Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossless
    • DEFLATE

      It is a lossless data compression file format that uses a combination of LZSS and Huffman coding. It was designed by Phil Katz, for version 2 of his PKZIP archiving tool.

    • DEFLATE
  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) logo
    JPEG
    • September 1992
    • 5 Developers

      JPEG is developed by:
      - Joint Photographic Experts Group.
      - IBM.
      - Mitsubishi Electric.
      - AT&T.
      - Canon Inc.

    • JPEG ... (+4 more)
    • .jpeg & .jpg / .jp2
    • Raster

      When you zoom in on a raster image, you will see pixels.

    • Raster
    • -
    • Direct

      Means that you can store many thousands of colors that have not been directly chosen by the author.

    • Direct
    • -
    • Lossy / Lossless

      Lossy: Means the image is made (even) smaller, but at a detriment to the quality. If you saved an image in a Lossy format over and over, the image quality would get progressively worse and worse.

      Lossless: Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossy / Lossless
    • JPEG & JPEG 2000

      The main basis for JPEG's lossy compression algorithm is the discrete cosine transform (DCT), which was first proposed by Nasir Ahmed as an image compression technique in 1972. Ahmed developed a practical DCT algorithm with T. Natarajan of Kansas State University and K. R. Rao of the University of Texas in 1973.

      The JPEG's compression benefits are the reason why JPEG became so popular.

      JPEG 2000 (JP2) is an image compression standard and coding system that supports lossy and lossless compression. It was developed from 1997 to 2000 by a Joint Photographic Experts Group committee chaired by Touradj Ebrahimi (later the JPEG president), with the intention of superseding their original discrete cosine transform (DCT) based JPEG standard (created in 1992) with a newly designed, wavelet-based method.

    • JPEG / JPEG 2000
    • JPEG's patent controversy

      You can read more about the patent controversy Here.

    • Complicated
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) logo
    GIF
    • June 1987
    • CompuServe
    • .gif & .gfa
    • Raster

      When you zoom in on a raster image, you will see pixels.

    • Raster
    • -
    • Indexed

      Means that the image can only store a limited number of colors (usually 256), controlled by the author, in something called a Color Map.

    • Indexed
    • Lossless

      Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossless
    • LZW

      Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW) is a universal lossless data compression algorithm created by Abraham Lempel, Jacob Ziv, and Terry Welch. It was published by Welch in 1984 as an improved implementation of the LZ78 algorithm published by Lempel and Ziv in 1978. The algorithm is simple to implement and has the potential for very high throughput in hardware implementations.[1] It is the algorithm of the widely used Unix file compression utility compress.

    • LZW
  • BMP Bitmap Image File Format Logo
    BMP
    • Microsoft
    • .bmp
    • Raster

      When you zoom in on a raster image, you will see pixels.

    • Raster
    • -
    • Indexed & Direct

      Indexed: Means that the image can only store a limited number of colors (usually 256), controlled by the author, in something called a Color Map.

      Direct: Means that you can store many thousands of colors that have not been directly chosen by the author.

    • Indexed & Direct
    • -
    • Lossless

      Means that the image is made smaller, but at no detriment to the quality, so if you saved an image in a Lossless format over and over, the image quality would not get worse.

    • Lossless
    • RLE & Huffman

      Run-length encoding (RLE) is a form of lossless data compression in which runs of data (sequences in which the same data value occurs in many consecutive data elements) are stored as a single data value and count, rather than as the original run. This is most useful on data that contains many such runs.

      Huffman code is a particular type of optimal prefix code that is commonly used for lossless data compression. The process of finding or using such a code proceeds by means of Huffman coding, an algorithm developed by David A. Huffman while he was a Sc.D. student at MIT, and published in the 1952 paper "A Method for the Construction of Minimum-Redundancy Codes".

    • RLE & Huffman
Note(s):
- There are many other image file formats, but we considered only the most important and commonly used ones that has enough information to include in the comparison.
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REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_file_formats
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMP_file_format
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Network_Graphics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG_2000
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebP
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SVG
https://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements
https://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~ece533/project/f06/aguilera_rpt.pdf
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2336522/what-are-the-different-usecases-of-png-vs-gif-vs-jpeg-vs-svg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFLATE
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lempel%E2%80%93Ziv%E2%80%93Welch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP8

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Inacuracy Bug Copyright
i Click/Tap for more information about the feature.
- : N/A (Non-Applicable).
Feature Existence:
Implemented.
Not implemented.
Work in progress.
No info available yet.
Text colors:
Accent text: Good.
Yellow text: Acceptable.
Red text: Bad.
More details
Type
Color depths

The number of colors that can be stored in the image.

Alpha Compositing

(Also known as Alpha transparency) Is the ability to create partial transparency for each pixel.

When you see references to the RGBA color space, the color is defined by the (R)ed, (G)reen, and (B)lue channels, and the (A)lpha value defines the opacity for that color.

Compression type