The GIF file format is a type of bitmap image and has become popular due to the growth of the internet. This file format supports up to 8 bits per pixel therefore giving an image the ability to contain 256 distinct colours chosen from the 24-bit RGB colour space. It also supports animations and whenever you see a logo or other sharp edged line art then you are probably dealing with the GIF format. It uses the lossless data compression technique which reduces the file size without any impact on the quality.
GIF is one of the most popular formats on the World Wide Web, allowing you to share images. It supports various animations, including its transparent views. Such files are used for the development of web advertising with sequentially changing pictures, as well as the graphics shell of video files. They use scan-line images with the depth parameters up to 256 shades of the RGB palette. The process of compressing files in GIF does not affect the quality in any way, as there is no loss. Due to this, it is possible to convert to other formats while preserving the original image properties. The extension is opened by many applications for viewing and processing images and video content installed on PCs and mobile devices regardless of OS.
The GIF file format was invented by Compuserve for their online service, but they made the specifications publicly available. GIFs are able to hold multiple bitmaps of up to 256 colors each, using LZW (Lempel Zev Welch - a simple form of file compression that removes inefficiencies in the data storage without losing data or distorting the image) compressed raster data to minimize file sizes. The idea is to lessen the amount of colours in a GIF image to the minimum number necessary and to therefore remove stray colors that are not required to represent the image. A GIF graphic is unable to have more than 256 colors but it can have fewer colors, down to the minimum of two (black and white). Images with fewer colors will compress more efficiently under LZW compression.
The format was developed by Compuserve specialists specially for its use in the web environment, which provided wide public access to data on such files. The extension uses the LZW algorithm that allows to carry out a process, in parallel with the removal of segments containing insufficient information. This ensures the preservation of high quality pictures. Thanks to the Lempel-Ziv-Welch algorithm, the format handles graphic files with repeating sections well, in particular, images with a large number of single-color pixels horizontally. Interlaced data storage is also possible. Scan-line data is compressed to the smallest size. Reducing the number of colors required to create an image is provided by removing shades unnecessary to perform this process. The range of available GIF colors is from 2 (black and white) to 256, while reducing the number of colors leads to a decrease in the file size.