My take on the webp file format

2017-04-13

Today I learned about a new file format that Google has been making called webp. How I came across it was I wanted to include animated files to showcase the projects I work on, primarily DMUX. webm is now available and widely used but it is a video format and is not really appropriate for small animations.

A sad story about apng

A stack overflow question was talking about this and most people talked about the dead apng file format once pushed by Mozilla. I already knew of this format but I knew it was dead. Not even my Chromium browser supports it, which sucks. I have known about the apng file format for a long time, and have been sad that it never took off. I have wanted a good replacement for the terrible gif format, apng seemed to give me what I wanted but was dead, so I could not use it. But someone mentioned this new format by Google called webp! I am happy that there is going to be a file format that will fufill this need, and will be widely supported.

New, to me at least

I read about it an apparently webp is not new, it is new to me. It has been around since 6 years. But it is still new in the sense that only blink based browsers like Chromium support it. webp has a lot of the typical “latest and greatest” things about it, more color pallete, animation support, etc.

Some new cool features about webp

  • Can be animated or not
  • Either lossy and lossless, animated webp can have mixed lossy and lossless frames in it
  • It’s compression rate is much higher, it can be 90% smaller than a JPEG in some instances, and beat PNG by half !
  • Supports a much wider color pallete and alpha channel to gif. gif has a 1 bit alpha channel while webp has an 8 bit alpha channel.

The bad

  • webp is not yet supported by Firefox and it’s variants. Although Mozilla has promised to implement support for it .
  • The only major browsers that support it are Chromium/Chrome, and Opera. Firefox, Safari and Microsoft’s suite of browsers all have no webp support

My resolution to the situation

I will be using webp on this website and will be offering no fallback pngs. If you would like to view my files then please call on Mozilla, or whoever develops your browser to expedite the process of supporting webp. Or you can install a browser that supports webp as I have. From now on when I make updates to DMUX I will try to provide animated webp files to show the progress I am making in a non textual way. I would also like to see the potential for using webp as a file format for my textures; and I will mention on the OpenSceneGraph mailing list asking for a texture loader and supporting webp.

Installing LUI and Panda3d

A new world for DMUX