what is JPEG?

What is JPEG? – A Quick Guide

JPEG or JPG is an extensively used method of compressing digital photographs, especially for the images created by most digital cameras. The level of compression can easily be switched, enabling a much chooseable trade-off in terms of image quality and storage space. Unlike other types of compressors, JPEG is designed to deliver very good compression results. Unlike other formats, though, Jpeg files have some limitations that might affect the way they are used. These include:

* Most website owners use only jpg images on their sites. They are used as the preferred format for pictures and images taken on mobile phones, handheld cameras, and various other devices. This means that the compatibility of such images across all common file formats is relatively low.

In addition, using jpg format requires a bit of learning. Many website owners, therefore, avoid the format for images intended for mobile use because they believe it is difficult to learn and implement.

* JPEG compression is not yet available in Windows Vista. It is, however, possible to compress JPEGs using tools available in Windows. These tools compress the image using lossless methods. Lossless compression schemes work well with jpeg images because no data is lost when compression occurs. This makes jpeg images suitable for use as still images or as part of the meta-data of web pages.

* JPEGs are not yet supported on Windows CE. A compatibility layer has been developed by several software vendors, but so far, only PCVITA and libjpeg-core are able to read pre-installed Windows CE systems. libjpeg-core is the most widely used pre-installed libjpeg library. PCVITA’s JPEG libraries are able to read and write pre-installed Windows CE images.

* JPEGs may be compressed with some current versions of the following file formats: PCM, GIF, PICT, TIFF, BMP, PNG, and JPG. Most PCM compression programs include a compression utility with various options. On the other hand, GIF and PICT compression programs are sold as freeware. The advantage of using these freeware programs is that you do not need to have a Java virtual machine installed.

* JPEGs can be compressed with some current versions of the following file formats: PICT, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG, and JPG. PCM (portable compression software), the de facto standard image formats, was designed by compression designers who also developed the compression algorithms used in the LZW and WZR compression programs.

Since PCM lacks a few features found in the more widely used LZW and WZR formats, however, PCM files are not as portable as their larger-scale brothers. They are, however, excellent digital images for web browsers and printing. JPEG is not compatible with all current digital cameras, although many modern digital cameras support the file formats.

* There are several ways to access and store JPEG files on your computer. One of the most common methods is through the use of a web browser. Many web browsers, including Google Chrome, will let you open and view JPEG files from a remote site. Or, you can save the images to your hard drive using your home computer and then transfer them to your laptop or other computing device.

If you would rather not use a web browser for uploading and downloading pictures, there are free photo sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa that will allow you to upload your pictures using their web services and later download them to your computer. You can even set up a free Google email account and sign up to receive emails with interesting pictures and other items you can check out.

* A word of advice about JPEGs. Most websites that use this file extension will display an image with a.jpg extension instead of a.Png extension whenever you view their site.

This is done so that web site visitors who have downloaded a picture in a.jpg format will not be confused if they try to open the picture in an image viewer or if they try to display it in a format that doesn’t support the image size of the file. This small detail can make a big difference in terms of loading times and efficiency when viewing pictures in the future.

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