HD Photo Support

Ideas for improvements and requests for new features in XnView Classic

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foxyshadis
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HD Photo Support

Post by foxyshadis »

I know this won't make it into 1.9 and maybe not into the next version, but for the sake of Vista support I hope this will be considered. I've followed it for a long time but wasn't sure about its licensing; now that it's 100% free with no royalties ever, I don't think that's a problem. (It used to be free only on windows, otherwise until 2009 and up to 100K units.) It's also available in .Net 3.0.

Basically, it's a bit of a hybrid between jpeg, jpeg2000, and tiff, that tries to keep the best parts of each (tons of pixel formats, better quality, decent speed). It's initially aimed more toward high-end photography than mainstream, but it's as integrated into vista apps as the more common formats are. More technical feature info.

HD Photo "Device Porting Kit" with reference portable C code.
Spec
Bill Crow's blog with much information and links to HD Photo (formerly WM Photo) information.

It would make a good plugin and a bit of a coup to be one of the first outside MS to support it, no? ;) I just got the SDK so I'll see if I'm able to make one. I'll post it here if possible!
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Olivier_G
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Post by Olivier_G »

I agree: this is a format that may gain a lot of audience by next year...
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Drahken
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Post by Drahken »

Only because M$ will be forcing it down everyone's throats whether they like it or not.
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Post by Olivier_G »

Drahken wrote:Only because M$ will be forcing it down everyone's throats whether they like it or not.
I had exactly the opposite opinion when it was announced: "Wow! It looks technically well done and offers some real advantages over other formats! Too bad it's from M$" (ie: not an opened standard). But I now don't oppose that "M$" aspect as much as I used to do...
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Post by Drahken »

That's not really the opposite of my opinion. The format itself might be wonderful, but the fact that it's in M$'s hands guarantees it'll wind up as crap. Non-open image formats always fizzle since proper support is always limited to products from the company in question (they usually have enough sense to make some very basic version more widely available, but said version is always lame compared to the full version, and often even compared to other, more open format which should be technologically inferior). In addition to that fact (which would apply no matter what company got their hands on it), it's in M$'s hands. That in turn means that we can expect it to be bloated with DRM crap, crap in general (ever check the HTML in a webpage created by frontpage?), and that it'll insist on launching IE, outlook, WMP, and messenger every time you try to view an image. Furthermore, it'll never get much (if any) web use because IE will be the only browser which supports it. If it isn't used on the web, then it's super compressing ability is a moot issue. When you're just puttin an image on a 200G+ HD, burning it to a DVD, etc, saving a few K here and there doesn't make any appreciable difference.

Compare with other theoretically great formats (which didn't even have the whole M$ thing working against them): PNG is an open format, has been around quite a while, is supported in it's basic form in most progs now, but there are still very few progs that can use all the special features, and fewer still that can create PNGs involving said special features. JP2 is a semi-open format, has been around a long time, gets good compression/quality ratios, has a lot of special features available, but many progs still can't handle it at all, and the ones that can can only handle the basic features. DJVU is an excellent format for multi-page images and especially things that mix images and text (like scans of magazines/catalogs/etc), has an open source version of the software, but has almost no support what-so-ever.
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foxyshadis
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Post by foxyshadis »

I'd say it depends entirely on their ability to get a camera manufacturer or two to support high-dynamic compressed images, and either getting a photoshop plugin out, or partnering with Adobe to release one. If they don't get both of those, it'll be a flash in the pan, I know. And of course whether Vista succeeds or drags along. Other things - universal browser support, open-source support, ma-and-pa universality, don't seem to be their main thrust, currently. Sacrificing some of j2k's efficiency for speed, and being technically more similar to jpeg, means they're aiming for embedded markets.

On a camera flash card, it definitely makes a difference though, and might even get HDR into consumer-level cameras. (None of which support RAW formats currently.) At the least, less artifacts and more on a card.

I don't think the M$ comments are quite founded, since its support is integrated into Vista in a similar way jpeg, png, and tiff were in XP, and doesn't shove MS "synergy" down your gullet. If they screw it over it'll be their loss and I won't miss it, but if their market clout gets companies to adopt it who should've adopted j2k years ago, but invented proprietary raw standards instead, it's a worthwhile mission.

And afaik it doesn't support DRM, though "a future version might". Kind of lame. Of course steganographic DRM is available to any file format.
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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by xnview »

foxyshadis wrote:I know this won't make it into 1.9 and maybe not into the next version, but for the sake of Vista support I hope this will be considered. I've followed it for a long time but wasn't sure about its licensing; now that it's 100% free with no royalties ever, I don't think that's a problem. (It used to be free only on windows, otherwise until 2009 and up to 100K units.) It's also available in .Net 3.0.

Basically, it's a bit of a hybrid between jpeg, jpeg2000, and tiff, that tries to keep the best parts of each (tons of pixel formats, better quality, decent speed). It's initially aimed more toward high-end photography than mainstream, but it's as integrated into vista apps as the more common formats are. More technical feature info.

HD Photo "Device Porting Kit" with reference portable C code.
Spec
Bill Crow's blog with much information and links to HD Photo (formerly WM Photo) information.

It would make a good plugin and a bit of a coup to be one of the first outside MS to support it, no? ;) I just got the SDK so I'll see if I'm able to make one. I'll post it here if possible!
Where did you found HD examples?
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foxyshadis
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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by foxyshadis »

xnview wrote: Where did you found HD examples?
None except the ones I created, though I can post those. (Mostly 8 and 16 bit color images.) I emailed bill crow asking him for a suite of test or sample images today, he should have something.
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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by Olivier_G »

foxyshadis wrote:Mostly 8 and 16 bit color images.
I have the gut feeling that real photos taken with more bit-depth should compress better (ie: a compressed 16 bits image should take much less than 2x the size of its 8 bits version, for the same quality). Would your experience support this?
If this was true, 16 bits photography could gain a larger audience with 'HD Photo': imagine a 16 bits 'HD Photo' being the same size as a 8 bits JPEG... :P

I also remember reading some months ago that Microsoft was actively seeking partnership with Japanese camera manufacturers. I have to say that if I was a camera manufacturer, I would be extremely interested in an efficient lossy format that is ASIC/DSP friendly (ie: low Cost/Power requirements), handles 16 bits and all metadata/profile styles... while having some strong support (and Microsoft alone could provide this for the general public). And I see nothing except 'HD Photo' here...

This being said, I share the skepticism of Drahken.
Drahken wrote:[...] and that it'll insist on launching IE, outlook, WMP, and messenger every time you try to view an image.
lol... :mrgreen:
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xnview
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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by xnview »

foxyshadis wrote:
xnview wrote: Where did you found HD examples?
None except the ones I created, though I can post those. (Mostly 8 and 16 bit color images.) I emailed bill crow asking him for a suite of test or sample images today, he should have something.
Yes, please?
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foxyshadis
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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by foxyshadis »

Olivier_G wrote:
foxyshadis wrote:Mostly 8 and 16 bit color images.
I have the gut feeling that real photos taken with more bit-depth should compress better (ie: a compressed 16 bits image should take much less than 2x the size of its 8 bits version, for the same quality). Would your experience support this?
If this was true, 16 bits photography could gain a larger audience with 'HD Photo': imagine a 16 bits 'HD Photo' being the same size as a 8 bits JPEG... :P
I can tell you that 16-bit is, to my eyes, the same quality at the same size. I just now made some tests with dynamic range compression, compressing, expanding, and dynamic range expansion, and it's very obvious that the full 16-bit nature was preserved, it's not random; the 8-bit looks terrible in comparison (a 5-bit posterization will tend to do that...). I'm not honestly qualified to judge quality, and it's a little hard to hold constant when the quant scales are so disparte (q10 at 8bit is about the same as q125 16bit). I'll test with actual night shots when I can grab a few off my server.
Yes, please?
Okay, I'll have to upload them to rapidshare or something; maybe using a 7mp test image wasn't a great idea.

(Ugh, forgot to post this last night, but it's uploading now.)

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Re: HD Photo Support

Post by xnview »

foxyshadis wrote: (Ugh, forgot to post this last night, but it's uploading now.)
Thanks, i've got it
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mk.2
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Post by mk.2 »

A new format eh?

As broadband speed is improving and digital storage is also increasing, I see less necessity of having a new picture format.

Anyone who already tried this HD Photo have any opinion to share? How much more efficient does it provides compare to JPEG? Is it, like, uses two times less space while maintain the same level of quality?
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Drahken
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Post by Drahken »

I haven't tried it myself, but most people compare it to JPEG2000 for quality/compression. (It's proponents claim it gets equal or better quality/compression vs JP2, but more neutral reviewers say it has lower quality/compression.)
Some interesting links:
http://www.compression.ru/video/codec_c ... on_en.html
http://www.c10n.info/archives/458
http://www.c10n.info/archives/454

One thing to keep in mind quality-wise is that it'll be highly subjective. For example: If it uses wavelet compression (which is very likely, considering the quality/compression claims and the comparisons with JP2), it may look better than JPEG on some images and worse on others. Why? Because of the differences in compression artifacts. While JPEG creates blocky artifacts at high compression, wavelet compression creates smeary artifacts at high compression. This differences means that JPEG usually maintains sharper detail at high compression (but generally looks less appealing due to the blockiness).
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Post by Olivier_G »

mk.2 wrote:A new format eh? As broadband speed is improving and digital storage is also increasing, I see less necessity of having a new picture format.
A lot of photographers take >10.000 pictures yearly and need about 50GB each year. Some are in the >100.000 with versioning, backup... and may need >1TB a year.
For them, gaining either some storage or quality may represent a huge impact (and not all of them systematically use RAW).
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