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JBIG-KIT lossless image compression library
by Markus Kuhn
The latest release of JBIG-KIT can be downloaded from
JBIG-KIT implements a highly effective data compression algorithm for
bi-level high-resolution images such as fax pages or scanned
JBIG-KIT provides two variants of a portable library of compression
and decompression functions with a documented interface. You can very
easily include into your image or document processing software. In
addition, JBIG-KIT provides ready-to-use compression and decompression
programs with a simple command line interface (similar to the
converters found in Jef Poskanzer's PBM graphics file conversion
JBIG-KIT implements the specification
International Standard ISO/IEC 11544:1993 and ITU-T Recommendation
T.82(1993), "Information technology - Coded representation of picture
and audio information - progressive bi-level image compression",
which is commonly referred to as the "JBIG1 standard". JBIG (Joint
Bi-level Image experts Group) is the committee which developed this
international standard for the lossless compression of images using
arithmetic coding. Like the well-known compression algorithms JPEG and
MPEG, JBIG has also been developed and published by the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU). See also
The JBIG compression algorithm offers the following features:
- Close to state-of-the-art lossless compression ratio for high
resolution bi-level images.
- About 1.1 to 1.5 times better compression ratio on typical
scanned documents compared to G4 fax compression (ITU-T T.6),
which has been the best compression algorithm for scanned
documents available prior to JBIG.
- Up to 30 times better compression of scanned images with dithered
images compared to G4 fax compression.
- About 2 times better compression on typical 300 dpi documents
compared to 'gzip -9' on raw bitmaps.
- About 3-4 times better compression than GIF on typical 300 dpi
- Even much better competitive compression results on computer
generated images which are free of scanning distortions.
- JBIG supports hierarchical "progressive" encoding, that means it is
possible to encode a low resolution image first, followed by
resolution enhancement data. This allows, for instance, a document
browser to display already a good 75 dpi low resolution version of
an image, while the data necessary to reconstruct the full 300 dpi
version for laser printer reproduction is still arriving (say
over a slow network link or mass storage medium).
- The various resolution layers of a JBIG image in progressive
encoding mode together require not much more space than a
normal non-progressive mode encoded image (which JBIG also
- The progressive encoding mode utilizes a quite sophisticated
resolution reduction algorithm which offers high quality low
resolution versions that preserve the shape of characters as well
as the integrity of thin lines and dithered images.
- JBIG supports multiple bit planes and can this way also be used
for grayscale and color images, although the main field of
application is compression of bi-level images, i.e. images with
only two different pixel values. For grayscale images with up to
6 bit per pixel, JBIG performs superior to JPEG's lossless
JBIG-KIT can be used as free software under the GNU General Public
License. Other license arrangements more suitable for commercial
applications are available as well, please contact the author for
details. JBIG-KIT provides two portable libraries implemented in
ANSI/ISO C for encoding and decoding JBIG data streams, along with
documentation. The first library, jbig.c, implements nearly all of the
options that the JBIG standard provides, but keeps the entire
uncompressed image in memory. The second library, jbig85.c, implements
only the ITU-R T.85 subset of the standard that black/white fax
machines use (single bit per pixel, no "progressive" encoding), and
keeps only three lines of the uncompressed image in memory, making it
particularly attractive for low-memory embedded applications.
The libraries are not intended for 8-bit or 16-bit machine
architectures (e.g., old MS-DOS C compilers). For maximum performance,
a 32-bit processor is required (64-bit systems work too, of course).
On architectures with 16-bit pointer arithmetic, the full-featured
jbig.c library can process only very small images.
Special features of the full-featured jbig.c variant:
- Fully reentrant multithread-capable design (no global or static
variables, isolated malloc()/free() calls, etc.)
- Capable of handling incomplete and growing JBIG data streams in
order to allow earliest display of low resolution versions
- Capable of handling several incoming data streams simultaneously
in one single process and thread
- Especially designed with applications in mind that want to display
incoming data as early as possible (e.g., similar to the way in
which Netscape Navigator handles incoming GIF images)
- Implements all JBIG features and options including progressive and
sequential encoding, multiple bit planes, user specified
resolution reduction and deterministic prediction tables, adaptive
template changes for optimal performance on half-tone images,
deterministic prediction, typical prediction in lowest and
differential layers, various stripe orderings, etc; only the SEQ
and HITOLO options are currently not supported by the decoder
(they are normally never required, but could be added later in
case of user requirements)
- Suitable for fax applications, satisfies ITU-T T.85 profile
- Efficient code, optimized utilization of 32-bit processor
- Very easy to use documented C library interface
- Included Gray code conversion routines for efficient encoding
of grayscale images
- Ready-to-use pbmtojbg and jbgtopbm converters.
Special features of the light-weight jbig85.c variant:
- Suitable for low-memory embedded applications
- Implements only the JBIG1 subset defined in the ITU-T T.85
profile (single bit plane, no differential layers)
- Requires only three pixel rows of the uncompressed image to be
kept in memory
- Handles all NEWLEN modes of operation required by ITU-T T.85 with
just a single pass over the data, automatically performing the
necessary lookahead after the last stripe
- Codec buffers only a few bytes of arithmetic-codec data and outputs
resulting bytes or lines as soon as they are available.
I will try to provide free support and maintenance for this software
for the foreseeable future, depending on my available time.
Happy compressing ...
Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/ || CB3 0FD, Great Britain