Is GIF the only major image format that supports animation?

With GIF images being a relatively poor quality format, why are they the only one that supports animation in most viewers / browsers?

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    APNG has been "up and coming" for soon 10 years. IE's non-support used to be the big hindering block, and universal support does not seem to appear. Firefox and Opera (at least the non-Blink version) support it, though. – Daniel Andersson Sep 5 '13 at 5:35
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    xkcd.com/927 – Kevin Panko Sep 5 '13 at 20:18
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    It all depends on your definition of 'image format'. To me a MPEG or AVI is also an image format, just bigger. And they sure support animation. – Jeff Sep 6 '13 at 9:23

Taken from the Meta Topic on Post Formatting, an animated SVG file:

Image author: Pumbaa80 via Wikimedia

NOTE: This is not widely as accepted as GIF, so things like some versions of Internet Explorer will show the image by default but it will not be animated.

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    Firefox 23.0.1 on 64-bit Windows doesn't want to display it inline, although if I right-click on where it is and pick "view image" it displays correctly. Weird. – a CVn Sep 5 '13 at 8:08
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    @MichaelKjörling Works just fine for me with the same browser/OS. – Shamtam Sep 5 '13 at 12:47
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    @MichaelKjörling I had the same problem, but I got Firefox to display it correctly using a clean profile. It turned out the offending extension for me was HTTPS Everywhere. – kizzx2 Sep 5 '13 at 13:01
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    Works fine in chrome 29. Still, if it's not working in the latest version of IE, it probably isn't safe to rely on for web development if you're going for a general audience. – Ask About Monica Sep 5 '13 at 15:41
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    This format has almost the same support as APNG, except it runs in Chrome without a plug-in, unlike APNG. It is still not supported in IE, so you can't rely on it. Also, it is a vector format, which means that it is not a replacement for GIF. duDE is right, there's still no viable replacement for GIF right now. – Malcolm Sep 5 '13 at 15:59

There is a format of PNG out, APNG, that does what GIF does but better. It is still not supported in all browsers, but it is on the rise.


Since the libpng(used by blink in chrome/opera/chromium) committee has locked up, and as it does not seem like any changes will come soon, a better choice might be to use Video with alpha-channel.

Shown here: Video transparency Example

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Google says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format#Animation_formats):

Animated GIF remains widely used, as many applications are capable of creating the files, and it remains the only animation format supported in nearly all modern web browsers without the use of a plug-in.

There are other animation formats like for example MNG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple-image_Network_Graphics). Embedded Adobe Flash objects, MPEG, WebM, and other video formats can be used in place of animated GIF in many websites.

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    Has MNG ever actually been used? I have not encountered it once outside its Wikipedia page. – Thomas Sep 5 '13 at 7:17
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    @Thomas Lead the way... – a CVn Sep 5 '13 at 8:09
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    @MichaelKjörling Why should I? Nobody's using it :p – Thomas Sep 5 '13 at 8:21
  • @Thomas do you want a wing or an omelet ;) – ratchet freak Sep 5 '13 at 11:35
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    If you think about it, there's no reason to separate animated GIF from other video formats. So the answer to the question "why are they [GIF] the only one that supports animation in most viewers / browsers?" is "it's not the only one". So +1 for not arbitrarily separating gif from other video formats. – frozenkoi Sep 6 '13 at 23:13

The new image format from Google, WebP, supports animated images, lossless and lossy [1], but even Chrome still doesn't support it yet [2].

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  • so... it's worthless. – thepip3r Mar 14 '18 at 17:37

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