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Unit 30 Digital Graphics
D2 Impact that file formats,
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compression techniques, image
resolution and colour depth have on
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file size and image quality
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By Dom Gorka

Introduction

In this assignment I will be discussing the impact that files formats,


compression techniques, image resolution and colour depth have on file
size and image quality and seeing which one suite best different purposes.
File Formats

PNG: PNG file format was created as a free, open-source alternative to


GIF. The PNG file format supports eight-bit palette images with optional
transparency for all palette colours and 24-bit true colour or 48-bit true
colour with and without alpha channel. Compared to JPEG, PNG excels
when the image has large, uniformly coloured areas. Even for photographs
where JPEG is often the choice for final distribution since its compression
technique typically yields smaller file sizes; PNG is still well-suited to
storing images during the editing process because of its lossless
compression.
GIF: GIF is for common usage limited to an 8-bit palette, or 256 colours
while 24-bit colour depth is possible. The GIF format is most suitable for
storing graphics with few colours, such as simple diagrams, shapes, logos
and cartoon style images. Due to its included animation capabilities it is
still widely used to provide image animation effects, despite its low
compression ratio in comparison to modern video formats.
Bitmap: Bitmap graphics are made of pixels which can actually be
zoomed into which means that the more a picture is enlarged or shrunk
then the more the pixels will become visible. Bitmap files are
uncompressed, and therefore large and lossless; their advantage is their
simple structure and wide acceptance in Windows programs. Software
that uses bitmap format includes Microsoft Paint.
JPEG: JPEG is a lossy compression method. Nearly every digital camera
can save images in the JPEG format, which supports eight-bit gray scale
images and 24-bit colour images. JPEG is a very popular format for images
and many images that you find on the internet will be saved as a JPEG
format as your default setting.

Compression, Compression Techniques

In this screenshot I
saved
the
same
image
in
two
different formats to
see
how
compression would
affect them. Select
the items you want
to compress and
send
them
to
Compressed

After both formats of


the same file have
been sent to a
compressed folder;
we can see that
JPEG is a much
smaller compressed
size
at
73KB
compared to PNG
which is a larger
316KB. Therefore we
conclude that JPEG
format is better for
compressed files as
they are smaller and
take up less space
on your disk.

Colour Depth

This image shows four different formats of saving the current image; the
top left is the original and is saved as a JPEG, the top right is also a JPEG
but with reduced quality which doesnt really make a difference to the
original image. Bottom left however is GIF with 64 colours and we can see
a stand out difference that 64 colours is much worse than the original
image as well as GIF providing slightly worse quality than JPEG as an
overall. The bottom right is a PNG and it really doesnt look too bad when
compared to the JPEG above.
From the image above we can clearly see that changing the colour palette
makes a staggering difference to the quality of an image as GIF easily
stands out as the worst of the bunch due to its 64 colour palette when the
rest may have 128 or even 256 colour palette.

In this image I changed the PNG format of the picture to a miniscule 4


colour palette and the image looks ugly, it is green and resembles nothing
like the original therefore we can now clearly see that colour depth is a
huge factor when designing a good image.

Resolution

This image shows three types of GIF images all with different lossy
settings. For example the original is a JPEG and has no lossy difference.
Top right is GIF and has 20% lossy, bottom left is also a GIF and has 50%
lossy and bottom right is again GIF but this time with 100% lossy. From
that we can see that the lossier an image is the blurrier it gets as the
original has no lossy at all and looks the best of the bunch. To conclude on
resolution and quality; an image wants to maximise its quality. The
resolution of all the images was the same to make a fair experiment when
changing lossy percentage to see how it would affect it.