More about animated PNG

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More about animated PNG

Published by on December 6th 2011.

Because some of you may have missed the tiny remark in the previous post, let's say it once more: RealWorld Paint now supports animated PNGs. The new feature is part of the current installer, but it is also delivered by automatic updates and so old time users may already have it available in their RWPaints.

What is animated PNG

Animated PNG (APNG) is an file format for simple web animations. Its main advantages are backwards compatibility with ordinary PNG and simplicity. You can learn more at

Animated PNG was popularized by Firefox and today it is also fully supported in the Opera browser. In Internet Explorer and Chrome, APNG images do not animate, but the first frame is still displayed. There is an extension for Chrome that adds support for animated PNGs.

APNG is a direct competitor for animated GIFs, but being based on the PNG format, it supports smooth transparency and is not limited by 256 colors, like GIFs are.

Animated PNGs are used in the gallery section of this web. Because of the simplicity of the APNG format, the web script is able to automatically generate animated previews for the uploaded cursors.

Creating animated PNGs in RealWorld Paint

If you have the latest update of RealWorld Paint, simply create a new animated image with at least 2 frames and click File->Save as... in the main menu. There will be a Animated PNG files option in the Files of type box.

You have probably noticed that the GIF image was selected by default. If you want to save your animations as PNGs by default, go to Application options, switch to the Formats tab and move Animated PNG image to your favorite formats and make sure it is above GIF.

Some technical details

The updated PNG decoder should be able to read PNGs and animated PNGs in any formats (please report any incompatible files!). If there are multiple frames, the files open as animations.

When writing files, the encoder always writes full 32-bit color information. This may result in larger than necessary files if an image uses limited amount of colors. This applies to both static and animated PNGs. If smallest possible file size is your priority, it would be worth it to use one of the PNG optimizers. If there is a lot of interest, I will try to integrate some more optimizations into the RW PNG encoder in one of the future updates.

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Recent comments

user icon Anonymous on December 6th 2011

Cool, i didnt know this.

user icon Anonymous on January 20th 2012

Very nice, I can't wait till APNG is the new accepted animated image type for web browsers, .gifs are not cutting it anymore

user icon Anonymous
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What about ICL files?
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I wish there were...