compression artifact definition

Contributor(s): Sultan Ali

A compression artifact is the fuzz or distortion in a compressed image or sequence of video images. When a photo is compressed into a JPEG format, some data is lost, which is why this type of compression is called lossy compression. The data that is lost is considered to be not necessary for the viewer to perceive or perhaps not perceivable in any case. In creating a JPEG, if you wish to have a smaller file size regardless of quality, then the result may introduce perceivable compression artifacts. However, if you wish to maintain the quality of the photo and have a larger file size, then the viewer may not notice any artifacts. Artifacts are more evident on a computer image than in a printed photograph.

A digital video file is also compressed and, depending on the amount of compression, may present artifacts. A digital video file has the same fuzzy edges and distortion of images as a still image (JPEG) file may have. The break up of the video into large digital pixels and jerkiness in the video stream are examples of compression artifacts.

This was first published in September 2005

Continue Reading About compression artifact

Dig Deeper on Data management tools



Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.



Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by: