Can a PNG be animated?

Yes, and no.

A PNG file, according to Matthew Ammann, has “good compression and zero loss of image quality.” A PNG does not have animation capabilities, but a PNG can be animated. An animated PNG is called an APNG (Animated PNG).

APNG is just like a GIF, but of much higher quality.  According to Jennifer Bergen, “APNGs give you cleaner, brighter, vivid images with cleaner edges and transparency” in comparison to GIFs. This can clearly be seen in the sharp edges and vivid colors of the photo below.

apng-vs-gif-970x0

So, you may be wondering, why do GIFs even exist? Well, APNG was created in 2004 whereas the GIF was introduced in 1987, therefore not as many web browsers and applications can support APNGs. There is a diagram here which will help you see, and figure out, what supports APNGs.

tumblr_ncdbn1Jdkl1rilp8po1_500

If you are not able to see this animation, try the plug-ins available for chrome or the latest form of Firefox, because they both support APNGs.

So, back to my original question a PNG itself cannot be animated, but if combined with other PNG files they can be compiled into an APNG and become animated.

Now that you know all about how great APNGs are and want to make your own high quality animations, watch this video and get working!

Sources:
http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/will-animated-pngs-be-the-new-animated-gif/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Network_Graphics#Animation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Interchange_Format#History
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/apng

By: Molly Nichols

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