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Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: File Size
12-11-2013, 03:56 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-30-2013, 01:17 PM by Skook.)
#1
Tongue  Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: File Size
I admit it. I have an “obsession” - image file size. If you had experienced ten years of internet surfing on dial-up, I guarantee it you would be obsessed, too. So, when I decided to set up a small internet business, I bought photo imaging software, took online courses with a pro out of San Antonio, Texas and the rest is, as they say, history.

So, if the days of dial-up are more or less over, why should you be concerned with image file size when uploading images into the forum? Well, even if “admin” has a hosting package offering unlimited disc space and bandwidth for a monthly fee (which he pays), large image files will take longer for pages to download and over time could affect everyone using the site. So, based on what I learned from my own webmaster and what he had to say about webhosting, databases, MySql etc. the smaller the image file size the better.

Let’s take a look at some image file sizes. I have placed four images in a folder called ‘testing’ in my ‘My Pictures’ library. The first two of the pics came to me via email from forum member Jezebella. The other two pictures came from a disc sent to me from a relative and are direct downloads from her camera.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=614]

The dimensions are in pixels and the size is in megabytes: 1000 bytes = 1 kilobyte (KB); 1,000 KB = 1 megabyte (MB). The first two pictures were likely optimized for email possibly using the build-in Windows feature and yet their dimensions are still large. How large? I have taken the second picture and offer you three different pixel widths for comparison.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=615]

Those three images have been placed on a background the same colour as the forum post area and make one large image. I created it in Paint Shop Pro X4 and its total size is 765 pixels wide x 960 pixels high and its file size is 206KB. This is an amazing reduction in file size when you compare it to the original picture, but especially when you compare it to the dimensions and file sizes of the two images downloaded from the camera.

I honestly don’t know if the forum will let you upload those two camera downloads given their size because I’ve never tried to upload anything that big. But, if the forum does let go you ahead and if there is a size limit set to your user attachments manager, then you will likely reach that limit very quickly.

Let’s put this in perspective. I could upload about 12 x 3.4MB images for a total of 40.8 MB. Here is what I currently have stored in my User Attachments Manager accessed via my User CP (Control Panel).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=616]

Those 443 attachments are about 98% images and the majority are multiple pics combined into one larger image like the one above. The average size of each attachment works out to 90KB.

With my software, I can choose to store images in different file types; for example, that image directly above is a .gif image and .gif images create much smaller file sizes. That image is 500px X 141px @ 13.6KB. To help me decide what file type to choose, PSP allows me to preview the image as different file types in my browser, gives the total file size for each and offers examples of download speeds. The file type I choose to go with is a compromise between the appearance of the image and the file size.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=617]

I think this gives you a good idea about file size and how important it is. Now, you are likely saying, “Do I have to have an image software program to resize?” The answer is, “No.” If you are happy with the composition of your pic, there is a quick and easy method that I alluded to above and you’ve used it if you have ever emailed a pic from your ‘My Picture’ library. If you’ve never sent a pic from there, here is how this feature works.

Go into your ‘My Pictures’ and pick any picture that you've downloaded from your camera. Do a right click on that picture and go to “Send to” and then click on “Mail Recipient” and you will get a pop-up dialog box. Click on the black arrow in the drop down menu choose “Smaller” and you can see my file size result on the right. It has taken that huge picture of the house and resized it to 640px X 480px @ 90KB.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=618]

Now, you are going to email that image to yourself and when it arrives back in mailbox save it in a new folder - maybe name it “VP Prepped Images” or whatever else tells you that the image is ready for uploading. There, you’ve resized a honking pic into something more manageable. If the pic you used had a vertical orientation, it will arrive back in your mailbox rotated. After saving it to your folder, open the folder and right click on the image and click on "Rotate clockwise" or "Rotate counterclockwise." That's it.

As an aside, I also have a nifty little application that I use a great deal and have placed on my Windows taskbar. It’s a pixel ruler. There are a few freebies available on the ‘net and one can be found at A Ruler for Windows.

Click on the ruler’s “help” icon found on the bottom right hand corner for an explanation of its features.

In my next tutorial, I will explain how to upload an image into a forum post.


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Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: File Size - by Skook - 12-11-2013, 03:56 PM

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