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  #1  
Old 04-28-2005, 10:40 AM
geekster
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Default HOWTO Optimize Sig Images for Chargers Forums

Hi Everybody,

Perhaps this thread should have been entitled "Houston we have a problem..." but I don't want to confuse any Texans fans.

Recently there was administrative concern over potential future forums "performance" issues and a proposal that we change the current rules:
Quote:
Currently our rules state:
All signatures should not exceed the following size limits.
For images in signatures: 1 image up to 450 pixels wide, 200 pixels tall and 20k in size.
Animated images in Signatures are not allowed.

To read:
Quote:
All signatures should not exceed the following size limits.
For images in signatures: 1 image up to 450 pixels wide, 125 pixels tall and 20k in size.
Animated images in Signatures are not allowed.
There has been a ton of discussion (as you might suspect)...

The reality is that the problem stems from violations, (current and future), of the existing rule of "20k in size".. It is the size, in kilobytes, that must be transferred to the user's computer on his/her initial "hit" of each page that eats up bandwidth. After that, the image is generally cached on the user's computer and that cached image is used rather than "re-downloading" it.

Having come to that conclusion - we took a look at existing sig images on our current forums and many, as a matter of fact most, of them are already in violation of that rule - 20k in size.. Have a look at your own sig image - point at it with your mouse - right click and select "properties".. Is YOUR image in violation of the rule?

If it is - what can be done to "fix it"?

That is what this particular thread is about.... Although I have long been somewhat of a computer geek - I have no creative/artistic talent what-so-ever, but I do understand how the net works and possibly can help with some pointers about "HOWTO" optimize images for your sig lines.

Much, much more later.
-=dave=-

Last edited by geekster; 05-15-2005 at 01:04 AM..
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2005, 11:10 AM
geekster
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Default Optimizing Graphics Interchage Format (GIF) files

Let me start by saying that JPEG (.jpg) format is generally better for web presentation of digital photos that GIF - however, there are many times that a GIF is desirable over JPEG for something like a transparent background, etc.

With a GIF image file size is affected primarily by the number of colors used in the image. JPG format is generally better for photographs and such, and you can control its resolution when saving the file in your graphics program by going into "options" for that file format and adjusting the compression..

GIF OPTIMIZATION:
Quote:
For GIF files, try reducing the number of colors.
The fewer colors you use, the smaller the file size will be. Start with 256 colors, and reduce the number of colors until just before you notice a difference in the image. Remember to save your original images separately!
EXAMPLE:
Here is a user's sig image that meets the rules requirement for "height" and "width", however, it was 44k in size - more than double the 20k authorized for file size:

For test purposes, I reduced the number of colors in it and this is what it looks like with a file size of 19k:

As you can see - not much was lost except a rules violation.

HOWTO:

First, this requires a graphics program and the "Paint" program that comes with Windows XP won't get the job done. It will allow you to save the image as a JPG but there is ZERO compression as a result and often doing so will result in an even larger file. "Real" Graphics programs such as PhotoShop and PaintShop Pro - (example only - there are a gazillion of them) - have the power/control necessary to accomplish reducing the number of colors used in the GIF image's pallet just like the example above.

I used PaintShop Pro for the above - I simply opened the file with it, then did a "File | Save As" - selected GIF format then clicked on the "Options" button for GIF in the same popup window. From there I selected the "Run Optimizer..." button. In the resulting "GIF Optimizer" window, I selected the "Colors" tab and decreased the colors used until the file size indicated was 19, 210 bytes (or 19.2k). Checking the result to make certain I was still happy with the image - I then saved it to a different file name than the original. EUREKA!! Still a great sig image and coming in under the size limit set in the Chargers Forums Code of Conduct!

WARNING!!! Be CERTAIN you either change the file name or save it in a different folder so you don't overwrite your original file! You might need that original later for another purpose!

Hope this helps!
-=geekster=-
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2005, 11:39 AM
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I know I've given out sigs that weren't optimized to the forum rule of 20k limit size. So everyone that has received a sig from me please remove your photo signature and I will optimize them to the required size limit and repost them in their original place!

- C}{ARG3R
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  #4  
Old 04-28-2005, 11:55 AM
geekster
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Default HOWTO Optimize JPG Sigs for the Chargers Forums

JPEGS! YEAH! Before we had this image format available to the net, there was a lot of concern over the growing number of images being displayed on the net "eating up all the available bandwidth" - (that was longer ago than I care to think about and little did we know of the "explosion" that was just around the corner for the Internet).

JPGs are GREAT for displaying photographs on the web, with GIFs you are limited to about 255 colors or so, but with JPGs you can increase it to a gazillion (really its about 16 million for 24 bit graphics) - but generally little attention has been paid to the "built-in" means of optimizing them for display before uploading them to a server.

JPG OPTIMIZATION:
Quote:
For JPEG files, try adjusting the image quality.
The lower the quality, the smaller the file size will be. Start with the maximum quality and reduce the image quality until just before you notice a difference in the image. Remember to save your original images separately!
In the "old days" we talked about this stuff in terms of "increasing JPG compression without making the image too *lossy*" - but somewhere along the line the software industry re-dubbed it "lowering the image quality". If I were a graphics artist - I would REBEL at the thought of "lowering the quality of MY work" - but that isn't really what is going on here...

EXAMPLE:
Here is a recent sig image that I found to be particularly beautiful, (gee I wish I had talent like this!):


The ONLY problem here is that the image file size is just over 40k or twice that authorized in the rules.

Here is what the same image looks like after tweaking the file size by increasing the JPG compression:


Can you see any difference? But that second image is slightly less than 20k in size...

HOWTO:

Again, this requires a graphics program and the "Paint" program that comes with Windows XP simply won't get the job done. It will allow you to save the image as a JPG but there is ZERO compression as a result. "Real" Programs such as PhotoShop and PaintShop Pro - (example only - there are a gazillion of them) - have the power/control necessary to accomplish increasing the JPEG file compression applied to the image just like the example above.

Again I opened the original file in PaintShop Pro then did a "File | Save As" and after assuring I had selected the JPG format clicked on the "Options" button. In the resulting "popup" window I clicked on the "Run Optimizer" button.

From the resulting "JPEG Optimizer" widget, I simply increased the compression until I saw a file size of 19,821 bytes (19.8k) then saved the file to a different file name. The thing that took the longest in that process was loading PaintShop Pro on my little notebook computer.

WARNING: PLEASE be sure to either save the new file to a different file name or in another folder on your computer. You never know when you might need the original file for some other purpose!
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2005, 12:43 PM
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Ok I have updated all the photo signatures that I've made, in the Sig PickUp Thread.
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Old 04-28-2005, 12:46 PM
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Ill go update mine. and repost them in the same spot.
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Old 04-28-2005, 02:14 PM
mgpretzel mgpretzel is offline
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Okay I did most of them. I didn't do the ones where players are coming out of the sig (gif). If I made one like that for you PM me and I will make you a new one.


OR if use one that I didn't resize let me know I'll fix it.
Also Mods I'm sorry about the problem It never crossed my mind to check the K size.
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:21 PM
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Default Wow! THANK YOU!

For the two of our most talented graphics artists that responded THANK YOU for jumping on this with me!

I'm pretty familiar with PaintShop Pro - currently have version 8.0 and have kept up with it since version 3.0 - its one of those programs that was developed "on the web for the web" and pretty cost-effective for a retiree.
Unfortunately I am still a relative troglodyte when it comes to any kind of artistic talent.

If one of you that happens to use PhotoShop could come up with a similar "HOWTO" for this optimization stuff in PS and post it in this thread I'd really appreciate it. (I know time is at a premium and understand if you can't get to it).

Again, thank you SO much for your positive response to this area so we can avoid "performance problems" involving image sizes. The "Management" is enthralled with the ever increasing number of hits/users we are getting here at the Chargers Forums but recognize no matter how big a "pipe" we have to the Internet it could get used up if we keep going.

Warmest Regards,
-=dave=-
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2005, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgpretzel
Okay I did most of them. I didn't do the ones where players are coming out of the sig (gif). If I made one like that for you PM me and I will make you a new one.


OR if use one that I didn't resize let me know I'll fix it.
Also Mods I'm sorry about the problem It never crossed my mind to check the K size.
MG - I absolutely understand - I've been doing the same thing! I *love* your work and obvious talent - you haven't made a "problem" as far as I am concerned, (or anybody else for that matter), what you have done is made a ton of our Charger Bros *very* happy! I also wasn't looking at file sizes until the subject came up recently and there was an indication of possibly changing the rules back to 125 pixels tall again - (ugh!) - thus the little effort to come up with this thread and address the real problem that all of us hadn't been looking at - bytes rather than pixels.

Warm Regards,
-=dave=-
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2005, 08:51 PM
mgpretzel mgpretzel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekster
MG - I absolutely understand - I've been doing the same thing! I *love* your work and obvious talent - you haven't made a "problem" as far as I am concerned, (or anybody else for that matter), what you have done is made a ton of our Charger Bros *very* happy! I also wasn't looking at file sizes until the subject came up recently and there was an indication of possibly changing the rules back to 125 pixels tall again - (ugh!) - thus the little effort to come up with this thread and address the real problem that all of us hadn't been looking at - bytes rather than pixels.

Warm Regards,
-=dave=-
Well thanks. I'm glad you like them. I like making them,And I have a lot of fun with it. I will pay closer attention at it Adn will not make it an issue again Sorry once agaong that I let it slip. Like I said It just never crossed my mind to make sure the size was ok.
I try and follow the rules but I just let this one slip. I was wrong. hehe!
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Last edited by mgpretzel; 04-28-2005 at 08:53 PM..
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