Whether you’re building the next new website visited by millions or simply posting the latest snapshots on Facebook, image quality matters.
But shrinking multi-megapixel images to fit a screen can be problematic. Here are some tips that will help with the resizing process.
Optimizing for the Web: Format versus resizing
In the May 22 Digital Imaging article, “Picking the right image format for the Web,” I discussed the pros and cons of the three most popular bitmapped-image formats used on the Web: JPEG, GIF, and PNG. Picking the right or wrong format can have a big impact on image size (and consequently load speed) versus image quality — color blending and the sharpness of objects and text.
But picking the format is only one part of processing images for the Web. Given that most of today’s digital cameras produce 10 to 20 megapixel images, nearly all photos are resized — typically shrunk — for display on computer screens. And that process of tossing out pixels can have an even greater impact on image quality than the format you choose.
In some cases, we let a Web-publishing system do the resizing. For example, Facebook — effectively a publishing system — automatically shrinks images you post. WordPress, used by Windows Secrets, does the same thing. But it’s often better to do the resizing yourself.
Many image editors are available for resizing and optimizing images for the Web. Just a few of the more popular apps include GIMP (free), Paint.NET (free), PaintShop Pro ($60), and PHOTO-PAINT ($500; part of the CorelDRAW suite). There are also dozens of other smaller apps that let you shrink images.