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comp.compression Frequently Asked Questions (part 1/3)
Section - [16] What is the state of the art in lossless image compression?

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The JBIG algorithm is one of the best available for lossless image
compression.  For an introduction to JBIG, see question 74 in part 2.

JBIG works best on bi-level images (like faxes) and also works well on
Gray-coded grey scale images up to about six or so bits per pixel.  You
just apply JBIG to the bit planes individually.  For more bits/pixel,
lossless JPEG provides better performance, sometimes. (For JPEG, see
question 19 below.)

You can find the specification of JBIG in International Standard
ISO/IEC 11544 or in ITU-T Recommendation T.82. You can order a copy
directly from ISO ( or ITU ( or from your
National Standards Body. In the USA, call ANSI at (212) 642-4900.

See also the MG system containing an implementation of the 'FELICS'
algorithm of P.G. Howard and J.S. Vitter.  FELICS usually gives better
and faster compression than lossless JPEG, at least for 8-bit
grayscale images. (See item 15 above for ftp location). From the MG
README file:

  The MG system is a suite of programs for compressing and
  indexing text and images. Most of the functionality implemented
  in the suite is as described in the book ``Managing Gigabytes:
  Compressing and Indexing Documents and Images'', I.H. Witten, A.
  Moffat, and T.C. Bell; Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1994, ISBN
  0-442-01863-0; US $54.95; call 1 (800) 544-0550 to order.

  These features include:

  -- text compression using a Huffman-coded semi-static word-based
  -- two-level context-based compression of bi-level images
  -- FELICS lossless compression of gray-scale images
  -- combined lossy/lossless compression for textual images
  -- indexing algorithms for large volumes of text in limited main
  -- index compression
  -- a retrieval system that processes Boolean and ranked queries
  -- an X windows interface to the retrieval system

Paul Howard's PhD thesis, which among other things describes FELICS,
is available in

JPEG-LS is the emerging ISO standard for lossless/near-lossless 
compression of continuous-tone images. Marcelo Weinberger
<> says about it:

  JPEG-LS is being developed by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG1 (final committee
  draft document FCD14495-1 as of July 1997), and it is based on HP's
  LOCO-I algorithm (reference: M. Weinberger, G. Seroussi, G. Sapiro,
  "LOCO-I: A Low Complexity, Context-Based, Lossless Image Compression
  Algorithm," Proc.  IEEE Data Compression Conference, Snowbird, Utah,
  March-April 1996). [...]

  The main feature of JPEG-LS is its superior placement in the
  compression/complexity trade-off curve. Tested over a wide variety of
  image types, it was shown to be, on the average, within about 4% of the
  best available lossless image compression at a fraction of the
  complexity.  In particular, JPEG-LS significantly outperforms FELICS
  and lossless JPEG Huffman at similar levels of complexity (it also
  outperforms lossless JPEG arithmetic, which is of significantly higher
  complexity). [...]

  A software implementation of JPEG-LS, is now available at:
  There, the DCC'96 paper on LOCO-I is also available. The standard draft
  is also available through a link to the official JPEG Web site.

Benchmarks of some lossless image compression programs are in

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Previous Document: [15] Where can I get image compression programs?
Next Document: [17] What is the state of fractal compression?

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