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JPEG

JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group (the name of the group that created the standard), is a commonly used lossy technique of compression for color photographic images. An image in JPEG format has a ‘.jpg’, ‘.jpeg’, or ‘.jpe’, extension.

The technique used in the compression of photographic images in JPEG involves splitting the original image into minute pixel blocks, which are halved again and again to achieve the desired amount of compression. Images may be compressed by 90% compared to uncompressed .bmp or .tif bitmap. JPEG can achieve this as it ingnores information in the image which is not important to the appearance of the image.

JPEG images can contain up to 16.7 million colors (24-bit color information) without using palettes. As it was designed specifically for use with highly detailed or "photorealistic" images, it is applied to rendered images and digitized photographs.

Since compression makes images small, they are quicker to download and transmit (send or receive) over the internet. JPEG has smooth variations of color and tone, and its files can be embedded in other file types such as TIFF. These features have made JPEG very popular.

JPEG does not support transparency and animation, and is not suitable for rough drafts, line drawings, screen captures and other image types which use sharply-defined lines and colored regions. The reason is that the compression method of JPEG may distort such images. JPEG also has an interlaced format, the “Progressive JPEG”. However, Progressive JPEGs are not widely supported.

JPEG files can be viewed by a variety of downloadable software on both the PC and Mac.

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Wit of the day

A portrait is a painting with something wrong about the mouth.
John Singer Sargent, U.S. artist