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Can a Grumpy Cat make you LOL if it’s an APNG and not a GIF?

If you thought animated GIFs were all the rage, there’s a new animated image standard in town: APNG. Currently being funded on KickStarter, developer Rei Kagetsuki is building a tool that will make replacing animated GIFs with animated PNGs a breeze. The goal is to help APNGs become the standard for moving images, surpassing the GIF we all love and know so well today. 

“Essentially APNG is like a much better animated GIF,” Kagetsuki says on his Kickstarter page. “A large problem hindering widespread use is the lack of tools to create APNG.” Kagetsuki’s plan is to take the leading APNG conversion tool, called apngasm, and turn it into a conversion library and a full graphics editor. 

So what’s so great about an APNG? The short answer is: image quality. The animated PNG files can support 24-bit images and 8-bit transparency, which aren’t available for GIFs. “Animated PNG, a high quality animated image format complete with full alpha channel and graceful degradation has been available and usable since 2004,” Kagetsuki said. According to Hot Hardware, APNG support is already built into Firefox and Opera, and there’s a Chrome extension that can be downloaded. 

apng-demo

APNGs give you cleaner, brighter, vivid images with cleaner edges and transparency. As you can see in the demo here (check out Demos 4 and 5, and make sure to open the link in Firefox), the APNG version looks smoother because it has more frames, allowing it to run fluidly on an array of backgrounds. 

Kagetsuki describes APNG as a “rebel format,” and a “rogue standard” that is continuing to see widespread implementation. At the time of publication, this project had already received $4,340 out of its $5,000 goal with 27 days to go, so it seems that APNG standardization is something people are indeed interested in. Soon, we’ll be arguing about how to pronounce APNG instead of how to pronounce GIF

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