What is JBIG2?
JBIG2 is a relatively new image compression standard that was first
published as an international standard in 2000. It was a modern
option for both lossless and lossy image compression. The standard
is designed to compress images better than the traditional JBIG and
Fax Group 4 standards previously implemented for bi-level or black
and white images. JBIG2 compression reduces files to as small as one
fifth of the size of pictures saved under traditional formats. When
black and white images are compressed with the JBIG2 algorithm,
compression ratios can be 100:1 when compared to traditional TIFF
What Type of Imagery is Suitable for the JBIG2 Compression
JBIG2 compression is primarily used for black and white imagery.
This is because the algorithm relies on symbol recognition to get a
high degree of file compression. The compression algorithm scans
image files for similarly arranged shapes, it then uses associated
symbols to find similarities within the image. Industry now finds
the algorithm useful for scanning and storing black and white
documents for archival purposes, as a significant amount of space is
saved in comparison to traditional file formats.
What Are the Steps of JBIG2 Compression?
Step 1 – The compression algorithm identifies the connected
components in the image (normally four or eight are found per
Step 2 – The algorithm then places components in a
“similarity” class that uses an image template as a representative,
with the location of each instance being recorded.
Step 3 – The image templates, index, and location are then
compressed and written to a file. The compression uses an arithmetic
coding with Huffmann or arithmetic encoding on the image file’s
The file size advantage of JBIG2s over generic TIFFs is usually
quite dramatic. For a typical scanned document at 300dpi, the TIFF
is roughly 75 KB -125 KB bytes per image, while the JBIG2 is about
5x-10x smaller, in the range of 10 KB -15KB bytes per image.
The compressed JBIG2 file size can differ dramatically between
different JBIG2 encoders. For example, consider an original TIFF
file. The jb2-pdf file created by
VeryDOC PDF Compressor is less than
half the size of the one created by a competing vendor. Other file
size comparisons between these two JBIG2 converters across several
datasets are given here below. As shown, the VeryPDF encoded files
are generally 35% - 40% smaller.
JBIG2-Compressed PDF Documents
The Adobe PDF document format has, until the release of the PDF 1.4
specifications, supported the standard compression/decompression
filters: LZWDecode, FlateDecode, RunLengthDecode,
and DCTDecode (JPEG-based). These decoding filters allow the PDF
data streams to be compressed when the PDF file is written and then
decoded by the Adobe PDF Reader. With the inclusion of the
JBIG2Decode filter in the PDF specifications in 2001 (see the PDF
Reference, 3rd Edition, Version 1.4), scanned documents can now be
encoded using the new ITU-approved JBIG2 format and, at the same
time, be fully PDF-compliant.
When a new format is introduced, like JBIG2, JPEG2000, or MPEG4,
there is usually a considerable time delay until supporting
viewers/players and other editing software is available to handle
documents in this new format. One advantage to PDF wrapping a new
format like JBIG2 is that readability is essentially guaranteed,
assuming a more recent version of Adobe Reader (5.05 or higher) has
been installed on the client machine. In fact, most companies
currently using JBIG2 for their document compression are using
PDF-wrapped JBIG2, not native JBIG2. For a slight increase in file
size, a JBIG2 document can be wrapped in a PDF, thereby enabling the
document to access a range of features supported in PDF that are not
available in native JBIG2.
PDF/A: PDF Designed for Archival
The PDF/A-1b standard (ISO 19005-1:2005) is a subset of the PDF
standard, designed for long-term archival of documents.
PDF Standards and Your Business
PDF/A: PDF for Archving
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