I have known JPEG image format for as long as my first foray into the world of digital photography. It is supported by almost every multimedia device on the market, and a number of computer applications that let you view your images. While I can’t really argue whether the days of JPEG are numbered or not, there’s a new image format called JPEG XR that claims to provide better quality than JPEG. JPEG XR is Microsoft’s proprietary image format and also casually referred to as HD Photo. There are various key advantages of JPEG XR over JPEG, as it provides better and lossless compression – hence the better image quality, improved color accuracy, tile structure support, metadata, transparency map and so on. Albeit the overall support is somewhat limited, all the major photo editors and image viewers let you work with this format. JPEG XR has a WDP file extension, and is contained by a TIFF package. After learning about all its feature one-upmanship, I thought of giving it a try and convert a few JPEG and PNG images into JPEG XR. Thanks to JPEG XR Exporter, it easily let me perform the conversion process. It’s an Adobe AIR based application that provides a feasible solution to convert PNG and JPEG files into JPEG XR, and exports them into WDP.
The interface of the application comprises of a plain looking design. It lets you perform conversion with two modes; launching up in basic mode, where you just have to specify the file location via the browse button, adjust Output quality by dragging the slider between 0 to 100, and then click Export. The tool outputs the new file in the same directory as that of input file.
Pro mode, on the other hand, can be activated by turning the Pro Settings ON. Pro mode lets you specify three main parameters before generating the output file. Color Space includes settings for color sampling of the image. By default, it’s set to Auto, but you can change it among 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4. The application also enables you to adjust image Quantization, a technique which determines the level of lossy compression. In short, keeping this value to higher level means more grainy image, while a lower value indicates lossless compression. Lastly, Trim FlexBits is also related to image quality, which cuts away entropy data after Quantization. You can specify any value between 0 to 15.
JPEG XR Exporter is an advanced conversion software to properly optimize JPEG XR (WDP) images. As of this writing, it only lets you convert PNG and JPEG files. It has a memory footprint of 28MB when idle. However, during conversion, we noted it to reach as high as 37MB. The application works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.