Technology

What is image compression? 

3 Mins read

What is image compression? 

Image compression is a technique used to reduce a graphics file’s size in bytes without lowering image quality below a desirable level. More images can be stored in a given amount of disc or memory space by reducing the file size. Additionally, the image uses less bandwidth when it is downloaded from a website or transmitted over the internet, which eases network congestion and expedites content delivery.

Image Compression tool.

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Which two types of image compression are there?

Lossy and lossless compression techniques are the two main types of image file compression. Lossy compression reduces the size of an image file by permanently removing redundant and less important information. Lossy compression can drastically reduce file size, but it can also distort images if they are over compressed, resulting in a significant loss of image quality. However, when compression is used carefully, quality can be preserved.

The irreversibility of lossy compression is one of its drawbacks. An image cannot be restored to its original state once it has been applied to it. Lossy compression causes an image to become increasingly distorted when used repeatedly. But even so, lossy compression has proven to be a useful technique for the web, where a little bit of image degradation is frequently acceptable.

JPEG, a popular image compression format used in digital photography and extensively on the web, is the most typical example of lossy compression. Numerous tools and applications support this widely used format. Additionally, since compression can be applied in varying degrees, JPEG compression can be used to achieve the ideal balance between file size and quality.

Lossless image compression is the other method of image compression. With this technique, compression is applied without changing image quality or essential data, yielding a compressed image that can be restored to its original state without any loss of quality or distortion. Lossless compression offers little benefit in terms of storage space, network bandwidth, or download speeds because it doesn’t reduce the file size nearly as much as lossy compression. When image quality is more important than disc space or network speed, such as when displaying artwork or product images, lossless compression is typically used.

PNG, a popular format that reduces file size by locating patterns and grouping those patterns together, is one of the most widely used lossless formats. Websites frequently use PNG files even though they are typically larger than JPEG files when more image detail is required, such as for logos, icons, screenshots, or images with text. BMP, a proprietary method of image compression created by Microsoft and primarily used for its products, particularly Windows computers, is another well-known lossless format.

Although there is some debate over whether GIF is a lossless or lossy compression format, it belongs to the category of lossless compression. Since GIF files can only contain 256 colours, there will be a quality loss when converting an image with more colours to a GIF file, which is sometimes referred to as lossy compression. But GIF uses lossless compression algorithms. If quality is lost, it is because of problems with the conversion of the file. Currently, simple videos and animations are the main uses of the GIF format.

Google’s WebP, an image format created specifically for the web, is a compression format that is gaining ground. WebP is much more versatile than most compression methods because it supports both lossless and lossy compression. WebP images typically take up less disc space than other formats while maintaining a similar level of quality. WebP images are supported by most popular browsers.

Although compression can be applied to other types of files besides images, such as text or program files, its use is typically restricted to lossless compression. Because a single error can change the meaning of a text file or make a program not run, lossless compression is essential for text and program files. For text files or even entire directories of files, a common example of lossless compression is the zip file format.

A slight quality loss during image compression is typically undetectable. Greater compression can be used on files when there is some tolerance for loss as opposed to when there is none. Graphical images can therefore typically be compressed much more than text or program files.

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