Throughout the articles included, you'll see references to methods of data
compression or data encoding.
the process used to reduce the physical size of a block of information. By
compressing graphics data, we're able to fit more information in a physical
storage space. Because graphics images usually require a very large amount of
storage space, compression is an important consideration for graphics file
formats. Almost every graphics file format uses some compression method.
There are several ways to look at compression. We can talk about differences
between physical and logical compression, symmetric and asymmetric compression,
and lossless and lossy compression. These terms are described in detail in
Chapter 9, Data Compression. That chapter also describes the most
common methods of, or algorithms for, compression, which we mention
Pixel packing--Not a method of data compression per se, but an efficient way
to store data in contiguous bytes of memory. This method is used by the
Macintosh PICT format and other formats that are capable of storing multiple
1-, 2-, or 4-bit pixels per byte of memory or disk space.
Run-length encoding (RLE)--A very common compression algorithm used by such
bitmap formats as BMP, TIFF, and PCX to reduce the amount of redundant graphics
Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW)--Used by GIF and TIFF, this algorithm is also a part of the
v.42bis modem compression standard and of PostScript Level 2.
CCITT encoding--A form of data compression used for facsimile transmission
and standardized by the CCITT. One particular standard is based on the keyed
compression scheme introduced by David Huffman and known widely as Huffman
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)--A toolkit of compression methods
used particularly for continuous-tone image data and multimedia. The baseline
JPEG implementation uses an encoding scheme based on the Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) algorithm.
Joint Bi-level Image Experts Group (JBIG)--A method of
compressing bi-level (two-color) image data, which is intended
to replace the MR (Modified READ) and MMR (Modified Modified
READ) compression algorithms used by CCITT Group 3 and Group
ART--A proprietary compression algorithm developed by
Johnson-Grace that can be adapted to support audio,
animation, and full-motion video in the future.
- Fractal--A mathematical process used to encode bitmaps
containing a real-world image as a set of mathematical data
that describes the fractal (similar, repeating patterns)
properties of the image.
Each of the articles in Part Two, Graphics File Formats,
lists the compression algorithms used for the
particular graphics file format described.
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