Animated Portable Network Graphics (APNG) is a file format which extends the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) specification to permit animated images that work similarly to animated GIF files, while supporting 24-bit images and 8-bit transparency not available for GIFs. It also retains backward compatibility with non-animated PNG files.
The first frame of an APNG file is stored as a normal PNG stream, so most standard PNG decoders are able to display the first frame of an APNG file. The frame speed data and extra animation frames are stored in extra chunks (as provided for by the original PNG specification). APNG competes with Multiple-image Network Graphics (MNG), a comprehensive format for bitmapped animations created by the same team as PNG. APNG's advantage is the smaller library size and compatibility with older PNG implementations.
The APNG specification was created in 2004 by Stuart Parmenter and Vladimir Vukićević of the Mozilla Corporation to allow for storing the animations needed for interfaces such as throbbers. In May 2003, Mozilla had scrapped support for MNG animations, which provides a superset of APNG functionality, citing concerns about the large file size required for the expansive MNG decoder library (300 KB); the APNG decoder, built on the back of the PNG decoder, was a much smaller component.
Among users and maintainers of the PNG and MNG formats, APNG had a lukewarm reception. In particular, PNG was conceived to be a single-image format. APNG hides the subsequent frames in PNG ancillary chunks in such a way that APNG-unaware applications would ignore them, but there are otherwise no changes to the format to allow software to distinguish between animated and non-animated images. Some of the main concerns arising from this were the inability of applications to negotiate for PNG and APNG, or distinguish between PNG and APNG once received, or for legacy software to even inform users that there are additional frames. Glenn Randers-Pehrson spearheaded efforts to reconcile the PNG purists' position with that of APNG proponents by recommending changes to APNG's format and proposing the use of a unique MIME type (e.g., video/png), but the APNG proponents only added the different MIME type (image/apng) while insisting on the use of the .png extension instead of .apng, leading to the format not being approved by the PNG Development Group.
The PNG group officially rejected APNG as an official extension on April 20, 2007. There have been several subsequent proposals for a simple animated graphics format based on PNG using several different approaches.
Mozilla Firefox added support for APNG in version 3 trunk builds on March 23, 2007. However, because libpng is the PNG Group's reference implementation of the official specification, APNG support can never be supported in the main libpng distribution so long as it remains unratified by the Group. Iceweasel 3 supports APNG by using Mozilla's unofficial variant of libpng.
In 2008 WorldDMB adopted APNG as a backward compatible extension to enable animation as part of the MOT SlideShow user application for Digital Radio. "APNG 1.0 Specification - Animated Portable Network Graphics" is included as normative Annex A in the ETSI standard TS 101 499 V2.2.1. In 2010 Commercial Radio Broadcasters in Sydney began to include APNG animations in DAB+ digital radio broadcasts. These APNG animations are carried by the "MOT slideshow" application which accompanies the audio services. It is expected that other cities in Australia will follow in early 2011.[needs update]
- The animation control chunk (acTL) precedes the IDAT(s) of the default image and is a kind of "marker" that this is an animated PNG file. It also contains the number of frames and the number of times to loop the animation (0 meaning infinite).
- The frame control chunk (fcTL) precedes each frame and contains its metadata : dimensions ; position (relative to the default image); if once over it is cleared to black, replaced by the previous frame or drawn over by the next frame ; and if its transparency applies.
- The frame data chunk (fdAT) storing frame's content. It starts with a sequence number, then has the same structure as the default image's IDAT chunk(s).
Sequence numbers apply to both frame control and frame data chunks, which together follow a common sequence, thus enabling the order and timing of frames to be recovered should an APNG-unaware PNG editor re-order them as allowed by PNG chunk ordering rules.
Frames utilize the same bit depth, color type, compression method, filter method, interlace method, and palette (if any) as the default image.
The PNG specification was designed with future extensions in mind. An application reading a PNG file is supposed to simply ignore any chunks which it does not understand. This is the reason why APNG is backwards compatible. Existing applications just recognize the first frame and ignore the additional animation chunks.
|APNG Assembler||Yes||v. 1|
|cphktool APNG Anime Maker||Yes||v. 1 (9 June 2009)|
|APNG Disassembler||Yes||v. 1 |
|APNG Optimizer||Yes||v. 1.0 (28 March 2011)|
|Gamani GIF Movie Gear||Yes||v. 4.2 (March 2008)|
|ImageJ||Yes||v. 1.41g (3 July 2008)|
|Imagine||Yes||v. 1.0.2 (4 May 2008)|
|IrfanView||Read-only||v. 4.40 (31 July 2015)|
|Konvertor||Yes||v. 4.02 (May 2010)|
|KSquirrel (later SAIL)||Read-only||v. 0.7.2 (3 October 2007)|
|RealWorld Paint||Yes||v. 2011.1 (December 2011)|
|XnView||Read-only||v. 1.97.4 (30 April 2010)|
|Sciter and HTMLayout UI engines||Read-only||since 2008|
|Read-only||v. 4.0 (31 October 2020)|
|WebKit||Yes||(17 March 2015)|
(Gecko layout engine)
|Yes||v. 3 (17 June 2008)|
(Gecko layout engine)
|Iceweasel and other Debian rebrandings
(Gecko layout engine)
(WebKit layout engine)
|Google Chrome and Chromium
(Blink layout engine)
|Yes||v. 59 (5 June 2017)|
(Trident layout engine)
(EdgeHTML layout engine)
(Blink layout engine)
|Opera v12 and earlier
(Presto layout engine)
|Yes||v. 9.5 (12 June 2008)|
|Opera 15 and later
(Blink layout engine)
|Yes||v. 46.0 (22 June 2017)|
|Pale Moon (Goanna layout engine)||Yes||v. 27|
|iOS Safari||Yes||v. 8.0|
|Firefox for Android||Yes||?|
|Samsung Internet for Android||Yes||v. 7.0|
|Opera Mobile||Yes||?|
- After loading a video, an APNG file can be created via the "File|Export|Animated PNG" menu item.
A server-side library exists that allows web browsers that support the canvas tag, but do not support APNG, to display APNGs. Examples of such browsers include Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 9.
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- While XnView is available for several operating systems, only versions for Windows have been released since APNG support was added.
- "APNG export support". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
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- "APNG-canvas Library".