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Compressed and Degraded Comic Banners
J_Scarbrough at 6:08PM, Aug. 24, 2022
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I looked, but didn't see anything threads or posts that addressed this, so I wanted to bring it up and ask is there any particular reason why the banner for our comics is seriously compressed in terms of image quality? I mean, I don't know if the layperson would notice it, but I certainly do when the comic pages, background image, and navigation buttons maintain their original quality, but the banner at the top of the comic is so degraded.

Joseph Scarbrough
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Ozoneocean at 10:21PM, Aug. 24, 2022
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Hi! If the width is less that 960 pixels it probably won't re-save and compress it at all :)

One thing: stuff with red in it always looks bad when it has any compression at all. think that's just caused by the way LED screens show pixels.
 
J_Scarbrough at 11:18AM, Aug. 25, 2022
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While mine is most certainly under 960 pixels, its color scheme is mostly red and black, yes, but even so, I'm noticing this on a many number of comics I've browsed through here so far. Like I said, perhaps the layperson or casual webcomic fan wouldn't notice it too much, but as somebody who does dabble in quite a bit of graphic artwork, and also a perfectionist, it's rather jarringly noticable to me.

Just for comparison, this is my header banner in its original quality and resolution as stored on an off-site cloud:


And here is the same banner uploaded in my comic's control panel:


Like I said, I didn't know if there was any specific reason for this, which is why I wanted to inquire. I suppose it's not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, just my finickiness I guess.

Joseph Scarbrough
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kawaiidaigakusei at 2:34PM, Aug. 27, 2022
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J_Scarbrough wrote:
While mine is most certainly under 960 pixels, its color scheme is mostly red and black, yes, but even so, I'm noticing this on a many number of comics I've browsed through here so far. Like I said, perhaps the layperson or casual webcomic fan wouldn't notice it too much, but as somebody who does dabble in quite a bit of graphic artwork, and also a perfectionist, it's rather jarringly noticable to me.

Just for comparison, this is my header banner in its original quality and resolution as stored on an off-site cloud:


And here is the same banner uploaded in my comic's control panel:


Like I said, I didn't know if there was any specific reason for this, which is why I wanted to inquire. I suppose it's not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, just my finickiness I guess.



Are you saving your files as .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, or .png?

.PNG format stays closest to the original image resolution if that is an important priority.
( ´ ▽ ` )ノ
J_Scarbrough at 3:46PM, Aug. 27, 2022
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I usually save my media files as high-res JPGs for the sake of preserving as much of the quality as possible, while also keeping the file itself at a bandwidth/space-friendly size, since I know other high-res formats like PNG or BMP tend to save at much higher file sizes, so I save as JPG by default for a nice middle ground so-to-speak.

But in this case, yeah, I actually didn't think or consider uploading a PNG version of the banner, so thanks for that suggestion.

Joseph Scarbrough
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GeekyGami at 8:54PM, Aug. 28, 2022
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J_Scarbrough wrote:
I usually save my media files as high-res JPGs for the sake of preserving as much of the quality as possible, while also keeping the file itself at a bandwidth/space-friendly size, since I know other high-res formats like PNG or BMP tend to save at much higher file sizes, so I save as JPG by default for a nice middle ground so-to-speak.

But in this case, yeah, I actually didn't think or consider uploading a PNG version of the banner, so thanks for that suggestion.

In general if you want to keep your comics/banners and art from becoming compression mush later, you avoid JPEG.

Any time a JPEG is downloaded, re-uploaded, so on so forth, it re-compresses.
That's why it's considered a lossy compression format.

PNG doesn't have this issue, and usually, the compression upon saving the file originally is not noticeable.

So in terms of long-term longevity of the files, it's best not to use JPEG.
last edited on Aug. 28, 2022 8:55PM
Ozoneocean at 2:27AM, Aug. 29, 2022
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To clarify- Jpg is only lossy when it saves using an editing program, it's a myth that it always looses data, that only happens when you save it in an editing program.
The myth that it always loses data on every save and transfer has been around a long time and many of us fall for it :)

J_Scarbrough is being responsible by using Jpegs for web use.

Generally you should save original work in a lossless format and save a compressed version for web us. Jpeg is great for that, especially because the slight loss in quality gives you some small protection from stealing- whatever they do with art they download will not be as good.


PNG files are good for protecting against data loss but the compression levels are very poor. That used to be a huge issue back when bandwidth was more limited and then again when there was the leap to using smartphones on 3G, but now it's not so much of a problem.

——————–

The fact that our image uploader compresses files regardless of width or file size is very annoying :(
 
J_Scarbrough at 8:57AM, Aug. 29, 2022
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To be fair, I used to be totally ignorant to this stuff. When I was a teenager, I maintained a little free fansite, and as I began adding more visual content to the site, I always just used whatever my program I was using (it would've had to have been Macromedia/Adobe Fireworks, because it's all I ever use, even to this day) saved the files as by default, which I believe at that time were BMPs.

Keep in mind, this was the mid-2000s, not everybody had a broadband connection, but even those who did pointed out that it took forever for the images to load, and of course, that ate up both space and bandwidth to the point that my site would find itself being temporarily locked until the next month's bandwidth period would begin. One visitor had made the suggestion to save the images as high-res JPGs instead for the very reasons I previously mentioned: to maintain as much of the quality as possible, yet keep the files at a reasonable size so that they could load much quicker and not eat up so much space and bandwidth, which has been my usual method. FWIW, whenever I'm still working on a particular piece that has many layers and objects, I continue to save it as an editable PNG (Firework's default) until it's absolutely complete, then I save the final product as a JPG at 99% quality (because apparently it can't go all the way up to 100%).

Also, I was pretty miffed when both Photobucket (remember them?) and eventually deviantART pulled this very thing on us, when they suddenly and without warning compressed all JPG files . . . not only that, but in Photobucket's case, they also resized any image or media content that was stored in our Buckets that were over a certain size (over 1000px wide or high IIRC); and all of this was before they decided they wanted to be a pay-only service and held all free accounts hostage until we paid their ransom. I've been using Postimages for such storage in recent years, but it wouldn't surprise if they too eventually began pulling all of this on us.

Joseph Scarbrough
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J_Scarbrough at 11:11AM, Aug. 29, 2022
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Actually, Smack Jeeves was the same way to an extent. I remember they had a rather meager file size limit for comic submissions . . . I could be mistaken, but I believe their maximum allowance was maybe 5MB or so, and some of my strips, even as JPGs, were ending up at like 6 or more, so I had to keep lowering the output quality of the strips until most of them ended up looking like MySpace pics. To make matters worse, my computer at the time was practically dying: it was barely puttering along on 512MB RAM (remember when that used to be impressive?), so I couldn't keep a bunch of saved files on it, not to mention a virus had wrecked havoc on my of the basic functions, including saving to external drives, so I had no way of saving or backing up high-res originals of my comics from back then.

But that was then, this is now. Not only do I have a much better computer compared to my previous one, but I also have multiple storage drives, including an external hard drive that actually has more diskspace on it than my actual computer does, so I very much am able to ensure that everything I create can be saved and backed up in their original quality (especially since some of my YouTube productions in HD can end up being quite a few GB in file size).

Joseph Scarbrough
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J_Scarbrough at 5:27PM, Aug. 29, 2022
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Okay, that did the trick! Replaced the JPG version of the banner with a PNG version, and retained its high quality!

Joseph Scarbrough
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