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The answer is to use bigger images... one the real gurus may be abel to suggest a better solution. I'm not enough into the maths/techniques used by graphics compession routines
Perhaps it is inherent to the compression process. I have some images I just can't get below a 55% crunch. I can keep the product looking ok sometimes as low as 35%.
I am sure it depends on the software but ..
How low can you go ?
How low can you go ?
That's probably the easiest idea, unless you want to test-drive all of the available JPEG compression plug-ins, and report back on which ones leave your backgrounds cleanest. ( ;) Your assignment, should you choose to accept it...)
I've heard good things about BoxTop software's ProJPEG as well as Pegasus JPEG Wizard... Can't test both myself, as Pegasus doesn'thave a Mac version, and with the rate of software change out there, something better may have come along last week that I just haven't heard about.
However, I generally just use Photoshop's native JPEG compression, and use little workarounds like your wand selection trick when needed. Seems easiest to me.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it...
I am on a Linux box, so chances are my research wouldn't help to many.
I am using The Gimp and it is doing a better job then Fireworks did for me on windows. These images are crunched pretty good, this is just turning into a big product page.
Just looking for the benchmark of the Perfect Crunch :)
Butttt, if its for print, why use jpeg?
Once you get it down, you can get that background out of there reallllll fast.
Hope that helps.
For jpg images, artifacts do tend to become visible first in the border areas where a solid color changes to a more photographic image. ImageReady has some nice algos to find those edges and weight the compression levels appropriately across the image. This keeps those edges clean looking at higher compression values than saving with the native PhotoShop jpg.
Hoever, I am often surprised at photo-like images which still give better results as a gif. ImageReady is still right there with the great back-and-forth comparisons between gif and jpg so you can create the optimal choice.
Until ImageReady came along, I always tweaked my gif palettes by hand. But now, although I still do this at times, more and more I just use the algo.
There's a PhotoShop gif feature that many people do not realize. There's a common situation with gif's -- when the palette reaches a certain small size, somewhere in the image you begin to see visible color banding, and that's unacceptable.
Don't give up hope! If you make a selection over the banded area, and leave it active when you index the image, the PhotoShop color index algo will concentrate the palette in just those tones. You can often knock a gif down much smaller than you thought by using this selection trick. You can even get smooth looking gradients in a gif image, when you would think that only jpg will work!