Image formats: WebP wins!

I recently imported a PDF image into the open source GNU Image Manipulation Program, also called The GIMP, edited it, and wanted to save the output to a format that I can use natively online.

The rendered image is 1458 by 1126.

Historically I would have chosen JPEG if it was a picture with lots of different colours, or a PNG if it had specific colours or any Alpha channel (transparency). In this case, I chose both of the above, and the new kid on the block, webp.

I chose a 60% quality setting for both the JPEG and WebP formats, and while I can’t tell the difference visually, I can on disk.

FormatBitsDPIFile size
PDF5,211,365
JPG3210076,178
PNG24412,813
WebP327232,768
File formats compared

The clear winner here is WebP on file size. Its some 56% smaller than JPEG, and 92% smaller than the PNG.

WebP was originally proposed in 2010, but libraries took a long time to be created, and then incorporated into browsers and native OS.

Today, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Brave and more support it. As I write this, the CanIUse.com site rates WebP at having 92.13% support.

Not all services you use support the upload of WebP format images at this stage, but that’s something up to the developer community to start to understand, implement and support. The time for this is looking like now!

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