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Optimize Website Photographs

The first step to properly optimizing your images is choosing the correct image format. In most cases, photographs for web use should be saved and optimized as a jpg. This tutorial will cover the basics of how to optimize website photographs using Paint Shop Pro X.

Although Paint Shop Pro X offers instructions in their help files for saving and optimizing a JPG file, they don’t help much when it comes to knowing how to choose specific options.

Paint Shop Pro X Help Files To Optimize and Save a JPEG file

1. Choose File Export JPEG Optimizer.

The JPEG Optimizer dialog box appears. The preview windows show the current image on the left and the resulting JPEG file on the right.

2. Click the Quality tab, and set or type a value in the Set compression value to control.

3. Choose a color sampling method from the Chroma Subsampling drop-list if you want to change the default setting.

4. Click the Background Color tab, click the Background color box, and choose a color.

5. Click the Format tab and choose one of the following options:

Standard — downloads one line a time, starting from the top
Progressive — displays incrementally in several passes, and detail is added each time

Click OK to open the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder in which you want to save the new image, and type a name for the file.

7. Click Save.

You can click the Download Times tab to preview the file size of the compressed file and view an estimate of the download time at four modem speeds.

One of the most common errors I see with JPG optimization is people over optimizing the image. Certainly you want to reduce the download time of your pages, but you need to do so in a manner that displays virtually no visible difference in the quality of the image.

Although you can access everything you need for optimizing pictures through the menu, you may find it easier to add the web toolbar to your work area to save yourself some time.

From the menu, select: View > Toolbars > Web

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This will place a check in front of Web and add the web toolbar to your work area.

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Once you have completed image edits and resizing your photograph, it is time to optimize the photo for web use. Paint Shop Pro X offers two ways to accomplish this.

JPEG OPTIMIZER

Click the JPEG Optimizer button located in your web toolbar.

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You will see three tabs (Quality, Format, Download Times) across the middle of the JPEG Optimizer window that opens. We will start with the quality tab, where we need to set the compression value. I usually start at 20, moving this number up or down as needed, based on the results displayed in the preview screen. You will also see a setting for chroma subsampling. I recommend leaving this at the default setting of YCbCr 1×1 1×1 1×1 (None)

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Select the Format tab. Here you can choose to encode the image as standard or progressive. For dial up users who may see the picture loading slower, the standard setting loads the image from top to bottom. The progressive setting loads a very low quality image rapidly that begins to clear as the image loads fully.

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The download times tab gives a general idea concerning how long the specific image will take to download at different speeds.

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Once you have completed your selections, click the okay button.

Name and save the image within the Save Copy As window. Click save.

Using JPEG Wizard

Click the JPEG Optimizer button located in your web toolbar.

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A JPEG Optimizer box will open. Click on the Use Wizard button in the lower left hand corner of the box. In the first wizard box there will be a slider bar to choose the quality of the image output. The key is to choose a level that displays virtually no noticeable difference in the quality. You may have to toggle back and forth a few times until you find the best level to set this bar at. Once you have set the level of the bar, click next.

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The next window in the JPEG Wizard sets the chroma subsampling. I recommend leaving this at the default setting of YCbCr 1×1 1×1 1×1 (None) Click next.

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An image preview window will open. You can decide at this point, based on the image preview, if you need to make adjustments set with the slider bar earlier. If you need to make changes, select the back button twice. If you are happy with the image, click finish.

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Name and save the image within the Save Copy As window. Click save.

Again, I cannot stress enough that the key to excellent image optimization is choosing the highest level of compression without reducing visible quality to the image.

Do not over optimize your images.
 

I WILL DEFINITELY SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and Scenic Photographer
Copyright © 2006 J. Cricket Walker of Online Photography Magazine All Rights Reserved

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