JPEG - Idea and Practice/The guidelines and the implementation

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The guidelines[edit]

The recommendation T.81 closes with a list of patents that may be required in relation to implementation of the arithmetic coding and the hierarchical processes (and which is probably the reason why these methods are not more wide spread) as well as a bibliography. But just before these annexes is an annex called "Examples and guidelines" (which "does not form an integral part of this Recommendation/International Standard"). In this annex you can find the quantization tables shown above and the Huffman tables we have shown and used in our (true) JPEG programs. As regards the quantization tables it is said that: "These are based on psycho-visual thresholding and are derived empirically using luminance and chrominance and 2:1 horizontal subsampling. These tables are provided as examples only and are not necessarily suitable for any particular application. These quantization values have been used with good results on 8-bit per sample luminance and chrominance images". The Huffman tables "have been developed from the average statistic of a large set of images with 8-bit precision". The annex also includes procedures for generating the lists which specify a Huffman code table, namely: 1) the procedure mentioned above for the construction a Huffman tree on the basis of frequency and how to find the code lengths from the tree and count the number of codes of each length in order to get the list BITS (and possibly revise this list, so that it goes from 1 to 16); and 2) the procedure for sorting the Huffman values according to code length to get the list HUFFVAL. Because we imagine that we have imported these lists, we will not here go into details with these procedures - we will show the programs in Appendix 2.

The implementation[edit]

The colour space designation, in our case the conversion from RGB triples to YCbCr triples (by linear transform RGB → YCbCr shown in part one), is not mentioned at all in T.81. Things like this belong to the concrete implementation of the JPEG method, and the implementation used is specified in one or more APP segments. These are two sorts of implementation: the interchange format, in which all the necessary tables are included in the file, and the abbreviated format, in which some of the tables (possibly all) are missing, because the application supplies them (possibly installed via the abbreviated format for table-specification, being a JPEG file without colour data).

Here we apply the interchange format specified in an APP0 segment having these bytes after the pair (0, 16) stating the length of the segement:

the identifier (= JFIF): the five bytes 74, 70, 73, 70 and 0 forming the string of characters "jfif#"
the version (pair): in our case (1, 2)
units (byte): 0
Xdensity (pair): (0, 1)
Ydensity (pair): (0, 1)
Xthumbnail (byte): 0
Ythumbnail (byte): 0

The X- and Ydensity is respectively the horizontal and vertical pixel density measured in dots per inch (units = 1) or dots per cm (units = 2). We have chosen X = 1 and Y = 1 and no units (units = 0) meaning that such a default print information is not present. X- and Ythumbnail is the width and the height of a thumbnail picture, respectively. We have set these numbers to 0, meaning that such a picture is not stored in the header. In the opposite case the data of this (the RGB values, for instance) must be stored in the segment just after the above bytes, or in an APP segment following this APP segment.

If there are no APP segments, you get the default implementation, which is the one we use here. A description of this implementation can be found in "JPEG File Interchange Format/Version 1.02" (1992). There are no default quantization tables and Huffman tables. If some of these are missing, it must be because an abbreviated format is used, and the tables must appear in the program to open the file and referred to in an APP segment.