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MRF image format specification(0)	     MRF image format specification(0)

NAME
       MRF - monochrome	recursive format (compressed bitmaps)

DESCRIPTION
       This program is part of Netpbm(1).

       MRF  is	a  compressed  format  for  bilevel  (1-bit  mono) images.  It
       achieves	better compression for some such images	 than  either  GIF  or
       PNG.  (It's  also  very easy to implement (about	the same difficulty as
       RLE, I'd	say) and an MRF	reader needs no	tables/buffers,	which may make
       it useful for tiny machines).

       In  case	 the  above  hasn't made it sufficiently clear,	I'll make this
       next point explicitly: MRF cannot represent color at all.  Nor  can  it
       represent grayscale.  It's a specifically mono format.  (If you want to
       compress	a color	or grayscale image, my advice is to use	JPEG2000).

       First, here's what goes where in	an MRF file. I'll explain how the com-
       pression	works afterward.

       Offset Description

       0      magic number - "MRF1" (in	ASCII)

       4      width (32-bit, MSB first (i.e. big-endian))

       8      height (same)

       12     reserved (single byte, must be zero)

       13     compressed data

       Note  that there	is no end-of-file marker in the	file itself - the com-
       pressed data carries on right up	to EOF.

       The way the picture is compressed is essentially	very  simple,  but  as
       they say, the devil is in the detail.  So don't be put off if it	sounds
       confusing.

       The image is treated as a number	of 64x64 squares, forming a grid large
       enough  to encompass it.	(If an image is	(say) 129x65, it'll be treated
       in the same way as a 192x128 one.  On  decompression,  the  extra  area
       which  was  encoded  (the contents of this area is undefined) should be
       ignored.) Each of these squares in turn (in left-to-right,  top-to-bot-
       tom  order)  is	recursively  subdivided	 until the smallest completely
       black or	white squares are found. Some pseudocode (eek!)	 for  the  re-
       cursive subdivision routine should make things clearer:

	   if square size > 1x1	and square is all one color, output 1 bit
	   if whole square is black, output a 0	bit and	return
	   if whole square is white, output a 1	bit and	return
	   output a 0 bit
	   divide the square into four quarters, calling routine for
	   each	in this	order: top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right

       (Note  that  the	 "output  a 0 bit" stage is not	reached	for squares of
       size 1x1, which is what stops it	recursing infinitely.  I mention  this
       as it may not be	immediately obvious.)

       The  whole  of the compressed data is made up of	the bits output	by the
       above routine. The bits are packed into bytes MSB first,	so for example
       outputting  the	bits  1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0 would result in a	80h byte being
       output. Any `unused' bits in the	last byte output are undefined;	 these
       are effectively after EOF and their value is unimportant.

       If  writing  that  sounds too much like hard work :-), you could	always
       adapt pbmtomrf and/or mrftopbm.	That's the main	 reason	 their	source
       code is public domain, after all.

       Above,  I  said	the  contents of any extra area	encoded	(when a	bitmap
       smaller than the	grid of	squares	is compressed) is undefined.  This  is
       deliberate  so that the MRF compressor can make these unseen areas any-
       thing it	wants so as to maximize	compression, rather than simply	 leav-
       ing  it	blank.	pbmtomrf does a	little in this respect but could defi-
       nitely be improved upon.

       mrftopbm's -1 option causes it to include the edges,  if	 any,  in  the
       output PBM.  This may help when debugging a compressor's	edge optimiza-
       tion.

       Note that the "F" in the	name "MRF" comes from "format,"	which  is  re-
       dundant	because	 it  is	the name of a format.  That sort of makes "MRF
       format" sound as	stupid as "PIN number,"	but it's not really that bad.

SEE ALSO
       mrftopbm(1), pbmtomrf(1)

AUTHOR
       Russell Marks.

DOCUMENT SOURCE
       This manual page	was generated by the Netpbm tool 'makeman'  from  HTML
       source.	The master documentation is at

	      http://netpbm.sourceforge.net/doc/mrf.html

netpbm documentation		     1991    MRF image format specification(0)

NAME | DESCRIPTION | SEE ALSO | AUTHOR | DOCUMENT SOURCE

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