Developer Rei Kagetsuki is spearheading a Kickstarter
campaign to fund the creation of animated PNG (APNG) tools with the ultimate goal of replacing animated GIFs (pronounced "jif,"
in case you're wondering) as the de facto standard for moving images. With 28 days to go, he's already more than halfway to his $5,000 goal courtesy of about a dozen backers.
According to Kagetsuki, APNG could have been a standard more than a decade ago, but the reason the web at large still primarily uses animated GIFs is because of the lack of available tools for the former.
"Animated PNG, a high quality animated image format complete with full alpha channel and graceful degradation has been available and usable since 2004," Kagetsuki explains in his Kickstarter campaign. "Essentially APNG is like a much better animated GIF. A large problem hindering widespread use is the lack of tools to create APNG. We would like to remedy this by taking the leading APNG conversion tool apngasm and, along with its author Max turn it into a robust and feature packed conversion library and a provide a full graphical authoring and editing tool."
The major advantage of APNG versus an animated GIF is image quality. APNGs simply look better, especially on a wider variety of backgrounds, and there's already support baked into both Firefox and Opera; Chrome users can download an extension
to support APNG files.
Should the Kickstarter campaign receive $5,000 in funding, it will proceed with creating a new version of apngasm in C++ as a library with new features added. There will also be a new version of the apngasm command tool; packages and installers for Debian and Ubunu Linux, OS X, and Windows; a Ruby gem "rapngasm" with a native Ruby interface; and a cross platform graphical APNG authoring tool to assemble sets of images into APNG.
The project also includes several stretch goals in case the campaign takes off and raises upwards of $25,000.