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TARGA compatibility problem

Public service announcement:

If you are writing TARGA image files with run-length encoding, you should be aware that according to the official Truevision specification, it is not legal in the TARGA format to produce a run that spans scanlines. The TARGA decoder in current versions of VirtualDub strictly validates the RLE data and will flag files with RLE decoding errors if runs spanning scanlines are detected. Unfortunately, many image processing applications do not enforce this restriction and will accept such invalid files, and there are some programs out there that generate them. As much as I hate to do this, I'll probably be tweaking the TARGA decoder in the next version to allow runs that span scanlines, and probably without the evil warning that I usually do (since it's hard to do so with image import).

So, if you're making a TARGA encoder, please make sure you are not generating invalid RLE runs, and if you're making a TARGA decoder, be aware that you're going to see those in the wild, despite what the spec says.


This blog was originally open for comments when this entry was first posted, but was later closed and then removed due to spam and after a migration away from the original blog software. Unfortunately, it would have been a lot of work to reformat the comments to republish them. The author thanks everyone who posted comments and added to the discussion.