Computer programmer Fabrice Bellard has developed a new image format called BPG (Better Portable Graphics) to replace the JPG image format when quality or file size is an issue.
Bellard is best known as the creator of the FFmpeg and QEMU software projects. He has also developed a number of other programs, including the Tiny C Compiler.
According to Bellard the main advantages of the new BPG image format are:
- High compression ratio. Files are much smaller than JPG for similar quality.
- Based on a subset of the HEVC open video compression standard.
- Supports the same chroma formats as JPG (grayscale, YCbCr 4:2:0, 4:2:2, 4:4:4) to reduce the losses during the conversion. An alpha channel is supported. The RGB, YCgCo, and CMYK color spaces are also supported.
- Native support of 8 to 14 bits per channel for a higher dynamic range.
- Lossless compression is supported.
- Various metadata (such as EXIF, ICC profile, XMP) can be included.
Bellard said that Mozilla did a study of various lossy compressed image formats, and BPG was a clear winner by a wide margin.
“BPG natively supports 8 to 14 bits per channel when most other formats use 8 bits, including most of the JPG implementations and WEBP,” said Bellard.
“It gives a higher dynamic range (which is important for cameras and new displays) and a slightly better compression ratio (because there are less rounding errors in the decoder).”