What Should I Be Watching For Regarding Compression Format for Photos?

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

JPEG is certainly the most common compression format for photos, but I've heard of other formats, such as JPEG 2000 and Microsoft's HD Photo format. We need to be able to work with clients' files in almost any format. What should we be watching for?

You're right: as our computing power has evolved, there have been several other compression formats that have competed to succeed the JPEG standard, which is now 15 years old.

The latest contender comes from Redmond, Washington. Having successfully killed off the JPEG 2000 standard by not supporting it in its Internet Explorer browsers, Microsoft has announced that its own JPEG XR format has been approved by the international Joint Photographic Experts Group as the successor to the JPEG standard.

It's based on Microsoft's HD Photo format (previously known as Windows Media Photo), and supports an Extended Range of colors and bit depth (hence the "XR" in the name), and provides better compression than JPEG.

Widespread adoption is expected to take several years, but it's good to pay attention to JPEG XR now. There's bound to be a Murphy's Law involving a customer bringing in rush job on Friday in a file format that will be supported by software you expect to receive on Monday.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail info@design-tools.com, or go to their website: www.design-tools.com.
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