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    JPEG (/ˈdʒeɪpɛɡ/JAY-peg)[1] is a commonly used method of lossy compression for digital images, particularly for those images produced by digital photography. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality.[2]

    JPEG compression is used in a number of image file formats. JPEG/Exif is the most common image format used by digital cameras and other photographic image capture devices; along with JPEG/JFIF, it is the most common format for storing and transmitting photographic images on the World Wide Web.[3] These format variations are often not distinguished, and are simply called JPEG.

    The term "JPEG" is an initialism/acronym for the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the standard. The MIME media type for JPEG is image/jpeg, except in older Internet Explorer versions, which provides a MIME type of image/pjpeg when uploading JPEG images.[4] JPEG files usually have a filename extension of .jpg or .jpeg.

    JPEG/JFIF supports a maximum image size of 65,535×65,535 pixels,[5] hence up to 4 gigapixels for an aspect ratio of 1:1.

    1) The JPEG standard
    The JPEG standard

    "JPEG" stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that created the JPEG standard and also other still picture coding standards. The "Joint" stood for ISO TC97 WG8 and CCITT SGVIII. In 1987 ISO TC 97 became ISO/IEC JTC1 and in 1992 CCITT became ITU-T. Currently on the JTC1 side JPEG is one of two sub-groups of ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 29, Working Group 1 (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 1) – titled as Coding of still pictures.[6][7][8] On the ITU-T side ITU-T SG16 is the respective body. The original JPEG group was organized in 1986,[9] issuing the first JPEG standard in 1992, which was approved in September 1992 as ITU-T Recommendation T.81[10] and in 1994 as ISO/IEC 10918-1.

    The JPEG standard specifies the codec, which defines how an image is compressed into a stream of bytes and decompressed back into an image, but not the file format used to contain that stream.[11] The Exif and JFIF standards define the commonly used file formats for interchange of JPEG-compressed images.

    JPEG standards are formally named as Information technology – Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images. ISO/IEC 10918 consists of the following parts:

    Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images – Parts[7][9][12]
    Part ISO/IEC standard ITU-T Rec. First public release date Latest amendment Title Description

    Part 1 ISO/IEC 10918-1:1994 T.81 (09/92) Sep 18, 1992 Requirements and guidelines

    Part 2 ISO/IEC 10918-2:1995 T.83 (11/94) Nov 11, 1994 Compliance testing rules and checks for software conformance (to Part 1)

    Part 3 ISO/IEC 10918-3:1997 T.84 (07/96) Jul 3, 1996 Apr 1, 1999 Extensions set of extensions to improve the Part 1, including the SPIFF file format

    Part 4 ISO/IEC 10918-4:1999 T.86 (06/98) Jun 18, 1998 Jun 29, 2012 Registration of JPEG profiles, SPIFF profiles, SPIFF tags, SPIFF colour spaces, APPn markers, SPIFF compression types and Registration Authorities (REGAUT) methods for registering some of the parameters used to extend JPEG

    Part 5 ISO/IEC 10918-5:2013 T.871 (05/11) May 14, 2011 JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF) A popular format which has been the de facto file format for images encoded by the JPEG standard. In 2009, the JPEG Committee formally established an Ad Hoc Group to standardize JFIF as JPEG Part 5.[13]

    Part 6 ISO/IEC 10918-6:2013 T.872 (06/12) Jun 2012 Application to printing systems Specifies a subset of features and application tools for the interchange of images encoded according to the ISO/IEC 10918-1 for printing.

    Ecma International TR/98 specifies the JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF); the first edition was published in June 2009.[14]

    Typical usage

    The JPEG compression algorithm is at its best on photographs and paintings of realistic scenes with smooth variations of tone and color. For web usage, where the amount of data used for an image is important, JPEG is very popular. JPEG/Exif is also the most common format saved by digital cameras.

    On the other hand, JPEG may not be as well suited for line drawings and other textual or iconic graphics, where the sharp contrasts between adjacent pixels can cause noticeable artifacts. Such images may be better saved in a lossless graphics format such as TIFF, GIF, PNG, or a raw image format. The JPEG standard actually includes a lossless coding mode, but that mode is not supported in most products.

    As the typical use of JPEG is a lossy compression method, which somewhat reduces the image fidelity, it should not be used in scenarios where the exact reproduction of the data is required (such as some scientific and medical imaging applications and certain technical image processing work).

    JPEG is also not well suited to files that will undergo multiple edits, as some image quality will usually be lost each time the image is decompressed and recompressed, particularly if the image is cropped or shifted, or if encoding parameters are changed – see digital generation loss for details. To avoid this, an image that is being modified or may be modified in the future can be saved in a lossless format, with a copy exported as JPEG for distribution.

    JPEG compression

    JPEG uses a lossy form of compression based on the discrete cosine transform (DCT). This mathematical operation converts each frame/field of the video source from the spatial (2D) domain into the frequency domain (a.k.a. transform domain). A perceptual model based loosely on the human psychovisual system discards high-frequency information, i.e. sharp transitions in intensity, and color hue. In the transform domain, the process of reducing information is called quantization. In simpler terms, quantization is a method for optimally reducing a large number scale (with different occurrences of each number) into a smaller one, and the transform-domain is a convenient representation of the image because the high-frequency coefficients, which contribute less to the overall picture than other coefficients, are characteristically small-values with high compressibility. The quantized coefficients are then sequenced and losslessly packed into the output bitstream. Nearly all software implementations of JPEG permit user control over the compression-ratio (as well as other optional parameters), allowing the user to trade off picture-quality for smaller file size. In embedded applications (such as miniDV, which uses a similar DCT-compression scheme), the parameters are pre-selected and fixed for the application.

    The compression method is usually lossy, meaning that some original image information is lost and cannot be restored, possibly affecting image quality. There is an optional lossless mode defined in the JPEG standard. However, this mode is not widely supported in products.

    There is also an interlaced progressive JPEG format, in which data is compressed in multiple passes of progressively higher detail. This is ideal for large images that will be displayed while downloading over a slow connection, allowing a reasonable preview after receiving only a portion of the data. However, support for progressive JPEGs is not universal. When progressive JPEGs are received by programs that do not support them (such as versions of Internet Explorer before Windows 7)[15] the software displays the image only after it has been completely downloaded.

    There are also many medical imaging and traffic systems that create and process 12-bit JPEG images, normally grayscale images. The 12-bit JPEG format has been part of the JPEG specification for some time, but this format is not as widely supported.

    Lossless editing

    See also: jpegtran

    A number of alterations to a JPEG image can be performed losslessly (that is, without recompression and the associated quality loss) as long as the image size is a multiple of 1 MCU block (Minimum Coded Unit) (usually 16 pixels in both directions, for 4:2:0 chroma subsampling). Utilities that implement this include jpegtran, with user interface Jpegcrop, and the JPG_TRANSFORM plugin to IrfanView.

    Blocks can be rotated in 90-degree increments, flipped in the horizontal, vertical and diagonal axes and moved about in the image. Not all blocks from the original image need to be used in the modified one.

    The top and left edge of a JPEG image must lie on an 8 × 8 pixel block boundary, but the bottom and right edge need not do so. This limits the possible lossless crop operations, and also prevents flips and rotations of an image whose bottom or right edge does not lie on a block boundary for all channels (because the edge would end up on top or left, where – as aforementioned – a block boundary is obligatory).

    Rotations where the image is not a multiple of 8 or 16, which value depends upon the chroma subsampling, are not lossless. Rotating such an image causes the blocks to be recomputed which results in loss of quality.[16]

    When using lossless cropping, if the bottom or right side of the crop region is not on a block boundary then the rest of the data from the partially used blocks will still be present in the cropped file and can be recovered. It is also possible to transform between baseline and progressive formats without any loss of quality, since the only difference is the order in which the coefficients are placed in the file.

    Furthermore, several JPEG images can be losslessly joined together, as long as they were saved with the same quality and the edges coincide with block boundaries.

    JPEG files

    The file format known as "JPEG Interchange Format" (JIF) is specified in Annex B of the standard. However, this "pure" file format is rarely used, primarily because of the difficulty of programming encoders and decoders that fully implement all aspects of the standard and because of certain shortcomings of the standard:
    • Color space definition
    • Component sub-sampling registration
    • Pixel aspect ratio definition.
    Several additional standards have evolved to address these issues. The first of these, released in 1992, was JPEG File Interchange Format (or JFIF), followed in recent years by Exchangeable image file format (Exif) and ICC color profiles. Both of these formats use the actual JIF byte layout, consisting of different markers, but in addition employ one of the JIF standard's extension points, namely the application markers: JFIF uses APP0, while Exif uses APP1. Within these segments of the file, that were left for future use in the JIF standard and aren't read by it, these standards add specific metadata.