Pages - File Types - GIF

Files Types - GIF

The Graphics Interchange Format (better known by its acronym GIF) is a bitmap image format that was introduced in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the internet due to its wide support and portability.

The file format supports up to 256 colours throughout an image. This colour pallette allows for a good range of colour whilst maintaining a relatively small file size. Smaller file sizes are part of the reason for it's popularity throughout the internet, especially from early internet where bandwidth was a lot more restrictive but remains popular, particularly when higher colour pallette sizes are not necersary or with restrictive bandwidth (when using mobile phones etc.).

Photographic Shortcomings

When dealing with images that have more than 256 colours a GIF averages out colours, which can often have the effect of making gradients less smoothe. The most common file format for images that require a greater colour pallette is JPG, which allows for a greater colour pallette with little perceptible loss in image quality.

Moving Images

One of the features of the GIF format that it is most famous for is the ability to have multiple frames. The image can then flick through frames to create a simple video, this video is then on a loop. Each frame is still limited to 256 colours but each frame can have it's own colour pallette.

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