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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
Shrink-a-Thon: The GIFs...
...it's all about the size of your palette!

 9:26 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

The GIF entries are probably the most practical for most webmasters' needs... PNG isn't quite universally supported, even though it can shrink the final product by around 1K, and allow you a couple extra colors in some cases.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to note in the GIF entries is that the only thing that REALLY matters with GIF size is the # of colors involved...

Compression - GIF
8 color = 10-11K
6 color = 9-10K
4 color = 8-9K

The entries below will show different levels of "preserved detail" in details like borders between countries. But the real deciding factor in which image is the "best" is of course, Liane's opinion... it is her map, after all. ;)

ENTRIES WITH OVER 4 COLORS: These folks decided to stay "true to the original" and not allow the elimination of any of the main colors in the original image...

IanKelley [mivox.com]
GIF - 9300 bytes
Paint Shop Pro
reduce color depth
saved to GIF
[note - I should add that the image could be much further compressed by altering the contrast and/or changing the large heading color to black (in which case you could get the image down to 4 colors without losing significant visual quality).]

pageoneresults [mivox.com]
GIF - 9179 bytes
Fireworks 4
saved as 6 color GIF with Alpha Transparency

evinrude [mivox.com]
GIF - 10525 bytes
Photoshop 6
Save For Web
GIF (Adaptive color)
reduced to 8 colors

ENTRIES WITH 4 COLORS: These folks all decided that black could be sacrificed from the color palette... and all their entries came in within 800 bytes of each other. DaveN gets bragging rights for file size here, but for most webmasters' purposes, the details of execution & software used will apparently make very little difference in the size of the end result... (MacGuru gets special mention for "most appealing technique")

DaveN [mivox.com]
GIF - 8095 bytes
Fireworks - 4 color
Aww... No more details than that? C'mon Dave, everyone else spilled the beans here... How'd you do it???

kapow [mivox.com]
GIF - 8421 bytes
Fireworks 4
Start at 8 colour gif.
Snapped all colours to websafe.
Select 'remove unused colours'.
delete non major colours (leaves 5).
Changed the black colour (borders on countries) to the same blue as labels

Drastic [mivox.com]
GIF - 8718 bytes
Ulead SmartSaver Pro 2.0
Converted to GIF
Bumped colors down to 4
Played with "weight", "engine" and "palette" settings to find best compression/quality ratio
-ended up with even weight, median cut engine, and browser safe palette
(Could have made custom palette for even better selection, but did not in the interest of time)
Turned on dithering to close in a couple country lines that were becoming more dotted than they should have been

4eyes [mivox.com]
GIF - 8728 bytes
ULead PhotoImpact
reduced image depth to 4 colours
saved as 4 colur GIF

NFFC [mivox.com]
GIF - 8742 bytes
Photoshop 5.5
Save for Web command
Reduce to 4 colors

Macguru [mivox.com]
GIF - 8811 bytes
PhotoShop 5.5
converted to .gif
limited it to 4 colors
Had a beer, scratched his nose

oilman [mivox.com]
GIF - 8837 bytes
Converted file to 8 bit color
Ulead SmartSaver
Reduced image to 6 color GIF automatically
Deleted two more colors by hand (4 color final)

ENTRIES WITH 3 COLORS: Taking artistic liberty to the limit, the 3 color category says, "To heck with red, who needs flashy when you can have speed?"

stavs [mivox.com]
GIF - 8540 bytes
PaintShopPro 6
reduced colour depth to 16 colours using optomized octree, nearest colour
saved as a gif file
Ulead GIF Animator
compressed using 8 colours and colour diffusion
Netmechanics (online GIF compressor)
shrank it to 3 colours and saved it

(edited by: mivox at 9:35 pm (gmt) on Oct. 11, 2001)



 9:33 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Crafty Cove DaveN

Shaved 2 pixels of the height:)


 9:41 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Oooh... good eyes there, 4eyes! I need to start shopping for glasses the same place you do... ;)


 9:41 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

>(MacGuru gets special mention for "most appealing technique")

Hey, that was lunch break a few hours late!

If I was Liane, I would choose for a better quality image, over 10k.

Thanks to mivox for taking the time.


 10:07 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Wow! This is wonderful. I have gone through all of them and think I know which one I want to use based on clarity of resolution. When I say that (which is probably the wrong description) ... I mean, it looks nearly as good as the original and I can read it easily.

I have very, very poor eyesight and at this time of day, everything is pretty blury. I need to squint to see anything at all. To be fair to everyone, I'd like to look at them all again in the morning to see if my first impressions are correct.

Who makes the final decision about the overall winner from WmW point of view? mivox ... is that you or is there going to be a vote?


 10:12 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think everyone who's mentioned it agrees that you're the final judge...

To be honest, I've been so busy keeping up with the StickyMail and compiling all the descriptions, I haven't taken an extremely close look at the entries themselves! ;)

I was mainly interested in just seeing a comparison between different software and techniques! I'm a geek, not a judge. :)

There could be a "smallest" and a "closest to the original" award in every category and subcategory, and which two those would be is obvious to the observer...

So which one do you like best, Liane?


 10:13 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>Who makes the final decision about the overall winner

I think the one that gets chosen for your site has to be the winner. Which one did you pick?

there goes mivox being just that much quicker on the trigger than me---again :)

(edited by: oilman at 10:14 pm (gmt) on Oct. 11, 2001)


 10:14 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

I need to start shopping for glasses the same place you do..

Nah - I'm just a sore looser flailing around for an excuse:)


 10:26 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hmm, looks like DaveN also shaved off all the borders on the land masses.


 10:26 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

As I said ... I have very bad eyesight and at this time of night I am lucky to be able to read brail! With that in mind, I reserve the right to review and possibly change my decision in the morning.

For now, it comes down to three entries.


With macguru as the favourite (at this time). That could change. I realize that not everyone is as blind as I am and even I am not as blind as I am in the morning ... so that's when I will take a really good look again and make a final choice.

Thanks mivox for doing this and thanks everybody for spending so much time on this. Now I am going to have to get the software which will allow me to do this for myself!

Thanks everyone ... I'll get back to you first thing in the morning.

Now the next question is ... how do I stop people from stealing my stuff cause I am now going to have the best and fastest loading maps around?


 10:29 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

how do I stop people from stealing my stuff

ROFL! You don't... when MapQuest comes-a-knocking, tell them you'll be happy to fix their maps, for a FEE! ;)


 10:38 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

A watermark or logo on the map! Won't prevent theft, but will make it more of a hassle to steal.


 10:39 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

I don't think MapQuest is going to want my amateur maps. Heck, I had to estimate where most of those islands are and then hand draw them because they weren't on my original map.

Bummer, that anyone can take whatever they want. I spent about three days on that darned thing and the rest of the 16 maps I plan to produce are a LOT more complicated.

Perhaps I should stop being so ethical and just steal like everyone else huh?


 10:40 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Looks like I got the contest all wrong... I thought we were COMPRESSING the image, not altering it. ;-)

If we can change the image dimensions and colors I've got a 5k entry for ya!

Either way it was fun.


 10:49 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Ian,

As I said, I have not made a final decision. I haven't looked at things like what may or may not have been altered because ... frankly I can't see it.

I only was going on resolution and my ability to read the map at this time of night. When I can actually see what I am looking at, things may change.

Check back in the morning!

Kind regards,


 10:50 pm on Oct 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

...all the rules said was: "squash it down as far as you can while leaving all the nice crisp text fully readable" ;)

That said, the "winner" won't be chosen by size alone. The image does, after all, belong on a *business* website.


 11:03 am on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

oops sorry my mistake i have posted the correct size image pixel for pixel at the same compressed 8095 bytes

How ?
convert to 4 colour gif (no suprise there)

but GIF images are encoded in horizontal lines so by changing the hanging single pixels to match the colour of the sea you can gain a few bytes here and there


sorry size now 8058 bytes also added second map

(edited by: DaveN at 12:16 pm (gmt) on Oct. 12, 2001)


 12:14 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, even with a fresh pair of eyes ... it is a tough call to make a choice. Several of them are really, really good! Others are just really good.

All my other maps (although the height will be quite a bit smaller on most) will have at least 4 colours and some of them require one or two more in order to denote specific things which need to be easily spotted. I'd like to keep continuity throughout the map guide. Ergo, the red stays.

stavs: sorry but I want to keep the red.

Kapow: lost too much detail for my liking.

IanKelley: although very good, the map seems a little blurry even in the morning.

DaveN: tried to shave off part of the map and got rid of all outlines. Sorry Dave.

Drastic, NFFC and 4eyes: Very good, but all lost resolution in the type. There's something funky happening to some of the letters like the "C" in Caribbean.

Oilman and pageone both get "honourable mention" for different reasons, but upon clear(er) eyed inspection did not make the final cut.

I hope nobody takes offense for not choosing your entry ... I was amazed at how small you were able to make the file sizes. But some pushed it a little further than I would like to go.

There are two winners:

Evinrude wins overall for not altering the map in any way. It is crisp, very legible and he left in "Property of" which appears on the map twice and which many of you did not consider when converting to 4 colours. However after Mivox's "ROFL" comment, I suppose it is futile to worry about people stealing stuff, so it may as well come out.

Macguru also wins because he and several others saw no need for keeping black as one of the colours. After thinking about it, neither do I. The only reason it was there at all is because that's how I started out drawing the various islands, and it never occured to me to change it ... but its a great idea. He also changed the dark blue type to a darker blue to give the map just a little more contrast ... making it slightly easier to read and that's important to a lot of people who don't have 20/20 vision. Also a good idea.

After spending an hour hemming and hawing over which of the two to pick ... I can't!

If I go back to the original, and steal Macgurus ideas of changing the black outline to blue and changing the dark blue type to the darker blue ... will you compress it again without any changes from the original?

I think that is the only way to pick the real winner overall. Are you two game? What do the rest of you think ... is that a fair way to pick the final winner of the "squash-athon"?

Thanks everyone for giving this a go!


 12:29 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Liane, If I where you I would pick Evinrude's map. Frankly, it just looks better to me. I think most of us compromised too much on quality for the goal of making the file as small as possible. Either way you win compared with the original map. The difference in size between all submitted images is so negligible that you should pick the one that looks better.


 12:54 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

If you don't feel there would be any gain in making the changes I mentioned ... then evinrude it is.

Just wondering if it would matter overall?

PS. Thanks to DaveN for the last minute entry ... but the choices remain the same.


 2:04 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

The map is up and running on the site. If anyone wants to take a look, sticky mail me for the url.

Kind regards,


 2:28 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well - that was fun. What shall we do next?


 2:31 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Ho, ho! Now mivox is in trouble! :-)


 3:24 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Wow. I missed out on all of the fun. I'm surprised nobody tried Irfanview. I just tried:

Image>Reduce Color Depth>Custom 16 colors. - Save as .gif

Got a nice one weighing in at 11306 bytes. Not close to the 8k ones, but on my monitor it's hard to tell the difference from the original jpg (1589 colors)

PS - tried it with 8 colors - not good with the antialising on the red text, but that one saved at 10401 bytes.


 4:45 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

What shall we do next?

::chuckle:: give me a few days to catch up on other things, will ya? ;)

If there's enough interest shown, I could post up a photo to use for a JPEG Shrink-a-Thon on Monday... any takers?

(edited by: mivox at 5:34 pm (gmt) on Oct. 12, 2001)


 4:54 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

I will have 14 more maps to do in ... oh probably 6 months or so! Sigh. I hate doing these things. Makes me crosseyed!


 5:45 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

<post up a photo to use for a JPEG Shrink-a-Thon>
Sounds good to me. Thats going to be interesting - there is so much variation possible with a jpg. Opinions of 'quality' are very subjective.

Anyone can make a tiny file that looks bad - but can anyone make a tiny file of good quality :)


 5:59 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hehe...and I thought my image was still too large. :)


 6:04 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

There are just way too many size-related jokes I could start making...

(edited by: mivox at 6:26 pm (gmt) on Oct. 12, 2001)


 6:06 pm on Oct 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Perhaps by your standards ... but if you look on the internet, I can't find anything that downloads faster or is of better quality/resolution.

I think its just right! Thanks a ton.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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