Daala is the codename for a video compression technology project that Mozilla is working on in collaboration with Xiph.org. It is one of many research projects at Mozilla that could shape the future of the Web in significant ways.
Mozilla revealed Daala back in mid-2013 and has been working on the video compression technology ever since.
The team spend time on improving still image coding, the building of tools to evaluate performance against other codecs and video performance in general.
You can test the still image quality of Daala on the Xiph website. There you can compare it with other popular codecs using a slider that you move with your mouse.
You can use the test to compare Daala with JPEG, VP8, VP9, x264, x265 and the original image. The smaller sample image used on the main site is not ideal though and you find the full resolution image and others on this.
While still not perfect, as size information are not provided for example, it is easier to notice differences in quality. There you can also load other test images.
The project team is aware that Daala's quality needs to be improved to surpass HEVC which offers the best quality currently.
Below is a quick demo that characterizes the difference in the codecs. As you move the slider back and forth, especially notice how the details change in the trees, sky, and sand. Daala preserves texture well like JPEG, but doesn't suffer from JPEG's blocking artifacts. VP8 avoids blocking artifacts, but blurs all but the strongest edges and textures. H.264 makes an especially strong showing in this image, though it oversharpens fine edges while losing lower contrast edges and texture. Daala and HEVC are the most visually similar, with consistent treatment of features across the image. HEVC is still the clear winner for now, though that's not to say HEVC is flawless; oddly, it manages to 'trim' the trees shorter in the background! Currently, Daala's primary fault is ringing, which also impacts overall coding efficiency.
The main page holds another interesting option: it allows you to upload an image of your own selection to compare it to the Daala version.
A slider is provided that you can use to change the quality of the Daala image. The size of the resulting image is displayed on the screen as well which you can compare to the size of the original image.
It is unfortunate that source and destination image are not displayed on the screen at the same time as it would make the comparison easier.
Still, it can be used to compare the output size and quality of popular image formats used on today's Internet with the current Daala implementation.
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