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The problem is NOT with the content of the image itself... maybe something to do with the header info. I saved the files with Paint Shop Pro 6.0.
It works fine in other browsers, and Opera also handles Jpegs and Gifs ok.
Has anyone else noticed this?
There are innumerable problems that can arise with differences between platform/monitor/user settings/browser color settings/preferences/color profiles that simply cannot be completely overcome. Look at any site on 10 different machines, and you'll get 10 different renditions of your colors. The color matching precision available in print design/proper color profiling is something I really miss when I'm doing web work...
The only solution I've come up with is to use transparency as much as possible, so no 'border' color on my image overlays the "same" color on my page, and try not to make my images/over page appearance reliant on precise color matching between the html colors and the images. In other words: avoid the problem through page design, rather than trying to solve it.
I'd love to hear some PNG/Opera users chime in here though: Is this particular "brighter contrast" glitch something that can be reliably overcome?
Opera [Opera Software] (Windows 3.x, Windows 9x/NT, BeOS, Linux) - version 3.51 and later;
broken binary transparency (apparently only for palette-based images, where the alpha value of the first palette entry is misinterpreted as the index of the palette entry to be made fully transparent, a la GIF);
full gamma support in non-beta versions;
bogus "out of place IHDR" errors and segfaults in Linux version;
(Version 3.50 also supports PNG via old-style plug-ins, such as PNG Live 1.0, that support neither transparency nor progressive display
My guess would be that the embedded gamma information is what's causing the mismatch, since Paintshop Pro doesn't offer gamma support, but Opera is still trying to read whatever that application writes into the PNG file and running with it.
One fix I can see, if this is the case, would be to use an image editor that does offer gamma support. Photoshop 5.5 and up does - that's what I'm using. Fireworks doesn't support gamma at this time, and neither does CorelDraw.
Another fix might be to use a solid-color background image, rather than relying on the HTML defined bgcolor. Also, sometimes the bgcolor defined in a browser's CSS engine gives different results from the HTML defined colors. That's worth a try.
Netscape 6 is the first major browser to give respectable support for PNG gamma, as well alpha channel and progressive images. Explorer 6 is still a wreck in this area.
PNG is a very complex file type, and I can't claim to have it all mastered right now. I'm probably going to wait for the next round of browsers to use png images in any commercial work, since support is still so spotty at present.
There's some solid information about gamma and PNG's, as well as test images, on this page [libpng.org].
Paintshop pro tends to create smaller files with Gif/Png anyway, so give that a try to optimise your files.
No problems in IE, some of the same in Netscape. I don't know that there's any perfect solution. Opera seems to sharpen contrasts just a wee bit, from what I've been able to compare, and it can make all the difference.