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Microsoft Announces HD Photo, a New Imaging File Format :: 08 March, 2007
Plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and HD Photo Device Porting Kit to help speed
usage and adoption.
LAS VEGAS, March 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today at the Photo
Marketing Association (PMA) 07 International Convention and Trade Show in
Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. formally announced HD Photo, a new file format
for end-to-end digital photography that offers higher image quality,
greater preservation of data, and advanced features for today's
This new, next-generation digital image format offers the best solution
for digital image editing and storage and unlocks the potential for digital
photography on devices, applications and services. Microsoft also announced
that it intends to standardize the technology and will be submitting HD
Photo to an appropriate standards organization shortly.
HD Photo offers compression with up to twice the efficiency of JPEG,
with fewer damaging artifacts, resulting in higher-quality images that are
one-half the file size. In addition, HD Photo offers increased image
fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling
higher-quality exposure and color adjustments in the image. This new format
offers the ability to decode only the information needed for any resolution
or region, or the option to manipulate the image as compressed data.
"With HD Photo, we're taking a new approach to creating and editing
photos that simply isn't available to photographers with today's formats,"
said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Consumer Media
Technology Group at Microsoft. "HD Photo fully preserves the original image
fidelity with high dynamic range while still allowing for significant
improvement in compression size."
In addition, HD Photo offers both lossless and lossy image compression,
and can retain the full dynamic range and color gamut data from a camera's
sensor. Also, because making adjustments to common color balance and
exposure settings won't discard or truncate data as other common bitmap
formats typically do, it's easier to "undo" those changes at a later time.
As a result, significantly smaller files can be created while still
retaining optimum picture quality.
Microsoft also announced the beta release of a set of HD Photo plug-ins
for Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) software, developed with the help of Adobe
Systems Inc. These plug-ins enable users to both read and write HD Photo
files from within Adobe Photoshop software, and include support for high
dynamic range pixel formats. The plug-ins support both the CS3 and CS2
versions of Adobe Photoshop software, and will be available for Windows
Vista(TM) and Windows(R) XP, as well as Mac OS X (Universal Binary). A beta
version of the Windows plug-in is available today for download at the
Microsoft(R) Download Center at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.
Microsoft expects to release finished plug-ins, which will be free of
charge, in approximately 60 days.
The HD Photo Device Porting Kit is also available for download at the
Microsoft Download Center, allowing manufacturers to add HD Photo support
in devices and to other platforms.
HD Photo is natively supported in Windows Vista by a Windows Imaging
Component (WIC) codec, and can be similarly supported in Windows XP and
Windows Server(R) 2003 through a free WIC download. HD Photo is also
included in Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0.
With support on popular platforms such as Windows XP, Windows Vista and
Mac OS X, HD Photo will allow consumers to easily view, edit and share
images without conversion or special applications. The format also allows
for flexible metadata handling and supports industry-standard metadata
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize
their full potential.
NOTE: Microsoft, Windows Vista, Windows and Windows Server are either
registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States
and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
trademarks of their respective owners.
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