Cloudinary Blog

Blog posts of 'Image-formats' tag
Responsive Images Guide Part 3: Variable Image Encoding

Welcome to the latest edition of the Responsive Images Guide!

In part 1, I laid out the big idea: a responsive image is a variable image – which adjusts itself to fit variable contexts.

In part 2, we looked at the most common way that an image can do exactly that: scaling itself up and down to fit viewports of different sizes and screens with different densities.

Now, we turn our attention to a different axis of variability: variable image encoding.

What do I mean when I say, “variable encoding”? Two things:

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Your Web Image is Unnecessarily Bloated

As a developer, it seems inefficient to serve a 2000kb JPEG image when we could compress images to optimize the performance without degrading the visual quality.

We are not new to this kind of responsibility. But our productivity will end up being questioned if we do not deliver fast. In order to do so, the community has devised several patterns to help improve productivity. Let's review few of these patterns based on their categories:

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Three different ways to do progressive JPEG encoding

There are two different kinds of JPEG images: progressive JPEGs and non-progressive JPEGs. These categories have nothing to do with the JPEGs’ political beliefs. They’re all about the order in which they’ve been encoded.

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Compressing a single-color image in various formats

In part one (One pixel is worth three thousand words) of this turned-to-be-two-part blog post, I discussed one-pixel images and how well different image formats “compress” these images. I was surprised how much there is to be said about the matter. This was supposed to be a short blog post, describing one-pixel images and how they compress, and instead it became a glorious monster (and also a two part blog post…).

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How various image formats compress one-pixel images

A couple of months ago while taking a break from implementing cool new features like q_auto and g_auto, I was joking in our team chat about how well various image formats “compress” one-pixel images. In response, Orly — who runs the blog — asked me if I’d write a post about single-pixel images. I said: "Sure, why not. But it will be a very short blog post. After all, there’s not much you can say about a single pixel."

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Why JPEG is like a photocopier (generation loss)

If you make a copy of a copy of a copy, the quality will deteriorate with every ‘generation’. This problem is called ‘generation loss’. It is not difficult to understand why this happens with actual copier machines. Scanning and printing are not perfect, being based on noisy sensors and physical paper and ink, and the resulting noise will tend to accumulate.

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