Move Over Animated GIF, APNG (Animated PNGs) Are Coming

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News Posted: Sun, Aug 11 2013 12:27 PM
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."

APNG vs GIF

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.
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RWilliams replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 12:32 PM

These examples all show off actual art, cartoony animations... what about the majority of GIFs out there, which is just video converted over to GIF? In the past year of being a Reddit user, I've never seen a GIF like the ones shown in the video... they've only been videos transcoded to GIF.

If an actual photo is saved as a PNG, it tends to take up a -lot- more space than the original JPG, so I'm just curious about its uses there.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 4:57 PM

Good point. I think it depends on the bit depth, dithering etc. I've seen some pretty grainy animated GIFs of images. You could probably achieve reasonable file sizes with superior image quality, I bet... or not? LOL

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RWilliams replied on Sun, Aug 11 2013 6:23 PM

It's all rather confusing. I'm just wondering if there's a reason the example didn't show video. And I know what you mean about GIF and poor quality... if JPG could be animated, it'd look a lot better. Few photos translate to a GIF static image too well.

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