Make GIF Animation File Smaller by Converting to APNG

March 25, 2010 | Filed under Imaging

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Graphics designer would know that the format to use for animating an image is GIF. GIF has always been the standard format for animated pictures which can be opened and viewed at any browser or image viewer software. However a gif format also makes the file size pretty big if there are many frames. PNG files are widely being used as screenshot compared to other format because it is known to create an image file size that is smaller than other formats. In the year 2004, Stuart Parmenter and Vladimir Vukicevic from the company that creates the famous Mozilla Firefox web browser, developed a new image format called APNG.

The Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) file format is an extension to the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) specification. It allows for animated PNG files that work similarly to animated GIF files, while retaining backward compatibility with non-animated PNG files and adding support for 8-bit transparency and 24-bit images.

Since PNG files are supposed to be smaller, converting an animated GIF image to animated PNG (apng) should make the file smaller saving user’s bandwidth and also makes the image loads faster. If you already have a bunch of animated GIFs, you can easily convert gif to apng using gif2apng. This is a command line application but the command is easy. For example, you want to convert animated.gif to animated.png:

gif2apng.exe animated.gif animated.png

Currently only a few software that can support viewing of animated PNG. Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 supports apng. Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome does not.

Download gif2apng




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