The GIF fileformat does not support 24 bit truecolor
RGB data - however with a trick it is possible to
describe more than 256 colors within the same file,
using a "tiled" approach.
Using a second trick it can be achieved to store
real "truecolor" information within such a file.
The efficieny and compression is lousy and this
approach is entirely disrecommended.
However, such images can be found on the web
and in fact Wikipedia contains a link to such
a demo site.
The aim of this readme is to document the
writing strategy which SView5-Library uses
when writing such "truecolor" GIF files.
1. The image is split into tiles of 16x16 pixels,
each of which becomes a GIF image block,
while the GIF screen width/height remains that
of the original image (e.g. 640x480 or 240x240).
2. If the width/height is not an even multiple of
16, the last tile in each row and all tiles
in the last row will have a different width
respectively height, e.g.
240x240 -> 15x15 tiles of 16x16
248x245 -> (15+1)x(15+1) tiles,
+1 horizontal: 8x16
+1 vertical: 16x5
3. Each 16x16 tile gets its own colormap.
4. The colormap depth is 8 (256 entries).
5. Now for each of the 16x16 = 256 pixels
there is exactly one colormap entry.
6. The 256 tile pixels are stored as linear
buffer in memory.
7. The colormap entries are filled exactly
in the same order as the linear tile
buffer in memory, i.e.
// pixel is x=5, y=6
x = 5; y = 6;
idx = y*16 + x;
colors[idx] = rgb_tile[idx*3+0];
colors[idx] = rgb_tile[idx*3+1];
colors[idx] = rgb_tile[idx*3+2];
tile[idx] = idx;
8. This means, each pixel in the 16x16 tile
is mapped exactly 1:1 to a colormap
entry - within a GIF image block there
always are as many colormap entries
9. For a 640x480 image this means that
40x30 tiles (of 16x16) are stored,
thus 1200 tiles plus 1200 colormaps
of 768 bytes size.
10. The global colormap is that of the
11. Any (optional) GIF89a graphic control
extension should be written for each
image control block or for none; if
so, the image disposal method should
be "1" (do not dispose) and the delay
should be "0" (zero).
This is the most straightforward approach.
- support upto 1 transparent color per tile
- dynamically adjust local colormap sizes
to really required amount of different colors,
i.e. if everyhing is black, only 6 bytes
instead of 768 bytes
- merge two or more local colormaps into
the global one, if there is an overlap;
in this case write an image block without
local colormap (e.g. black areas)
- if tiles have the same content and/or
colormap, these might be merged as
well, i.e. a square of 16x16 tiles may
become one single 32x32
- now this is the "lossless" approach,
however it would also be possible to
design some "lossy" compression mode;
in this mode, the colormap(s) could
be further optimized so that "similar"
colors are merged; the effect might
be comparable to JPEG if done right
- in any case, the start for any further
optimization runs should be the defined
16x16 tile pattern
For a proof-of-concept export module however
such optimizations should not be vitally
Note, that this works for GIF87a and GIF89a,
however many programs will not accept GIF87a
files with tiles - and with GIF89a they will
treat them as animations instead.
Unfortunately most programs will not correctly
treat the animation rendering information
provided within the graphic control extension.
As a consequence, image viewers capable of
rendering GIF animations likely will show such
graphics as endless animation.
Still, such an animation would really consist
of truecolor information.
(C)opyright 2007 by Andreas Kleinert.
All rights reserved.