Optimizing Images for the Web
In general, it’s best to use GIF and JPEG images for the Web, since these are the most widely recognizable among browsers. Newer browsers can also recognize PNG and WBMP (Windows Wireless Bitmap) image files. Paint Shop Pro includes optimization tools that you can use specifically for GIF, JPEG, and PNG files you’ll be publishing to the Web.
However, there are a few things you should do first to prepare a file for Web use:
- Flatten the image. Browsers can’t display layered images, so make a copy of the image (to preserve an original Paint Shop Pro file with layers), and in the copy, open the Layers menu and select Merge, and then Merge All (Flatten) from the submenu.
- Reduce the color depth to 8 bits, or 256 colors. If the image contains more colors, the browser may distort the colors.
- Save the file in one of the formats mentioned above. GIF, JPG, PNG, and WBMP are compressed formats that allow for relatively quick download. Use GIF for line art, images with similar colors or transparency, or animations. Use JPEGs for photographic images. The PNG format supports up to 24-bit color and provides for extremely efficient compression, but it’s still too new for many features to be available. Use the WMBP format for use with wireless devices.
To optimize the image file for the Web:
- From the File menu, select Export, and then select the appropriate optimizer, depending on the file type you’re working with: JPEG Optimizer, GIF Optimizer, or PNG Optimizer.
The Optimizer commands are also available on the Web toolbar.
The Optimizer dialog opens. Each Optimizer dialog has different options that are specific to the file type. The JPEG Optimizer is shown below.
- All the Optimizer dialogs have a Use Wizard button at the bottom. Click this button to have Paint Shop Pro step you through the process of optimizing your graphic. This is generally the easiest way for a beginner to optimize an image.
- Follow the instructions in the wizard, clicking Next to progress through the screens. For example, on the first screen of the JPEG Wizard, use the vertical slider to define a point between better image quality and smaller file size. The better the image quality you want for your graphic, the larger the file size will be. Click Next to proceed to the next screen.
- Leave Chroma subsampling set to none and click Next.
- Note the compressed file size shown at the bottom of the dialog, and the appearance of the image in the preview pane. If you need to make adjustments, click the Back button to move back through the wizard and make changes. Otherwise, click Finish.
The GIF and PNG Wizards include the same types of questions, but also include options for transparency settings. Experiment with color depth and quality until you have a reasonable balance between image quality and file size. To make specific adjustments, you can reopen the Optimizer dialog for the file type you’re working with.