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This is probably going to be a stupid question for the graphic guru’s out there, but im not one of them so I really need your expertise.
When I do animation I usually use flash, fireworks, swish or cool3D. The problem with these applications is it takes a while for these pages to download (which I know is a really bad thing). How do you minimize the download time without losing the quality? You get all these really cool applications where you can make the most amazing looking graphics but you can’t use them because it just takes too long to load. I no user usability should be first priority but when you are designing music or movie sites they want a lot of graphics and there isn't a way around it.
I see these sites with the most intense graphics and they load really fast. How do they do it?? Is this one of those “practise makes perfect” things.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated:)
In fireworks, you can select FILE then "export preview", which will give you lots of different options to optimise your grahpic, along with a preview of any changes of quality in your image.
In this screen it will also show you the current file size and download speed (based on a 56k modem).
The best bet is to mess around with the settings until you get a small file size and decent quality (unless of course, you are one of the fortunate people who actually knows what all the settings do!).
I know that paintshopo pro has a similar tool to this and i assume other packages do as well.
There are also some online tools which can be used to optimise your graphics, but i dont know how useful they actually are.
hope this helps.
Basic graphic tips:
Pictures with less color depth have a smaller file size.
Use jpgs for photos and other images that have a lot of color information.
Use gifs or pngs for drawings logos and other images that have few colors.
Use html to create solid color areas instead of a picture.
Use a 1 pixel x 1 pixel image for areas that need a solid picture and change the height and width attributes to fit.
Use a web export or program that optimizes your graphics to get a smaller file size.
Try to choose what you use wisely. I create high-end band web sites that you are speaking of. I try to keep the homepage under 75K. The back pages I try to hit about 40K. I know from log files that people, even the young music goers, will not wait for loads. I have found there is a heavy turn away of visitors after about 115K wait. I use 115K as my wall. If I can't split my flash up or get the load of a GUI under 115K I start over.
Look at some of the largest sites on the web that are geared for a younger audience like mp3.com and shockwave.com. These sites are not huge in bandwidth. They are so successful because they are designed well, load fast, and are useable.
I no user usability should be first priority but when you are designing music or movie sites they want a lot of graphics and there isn't a way around it.
This is not necessarily true. Yes younger audiences want a rich web environment, but this does not mean it has to be high in bandwidth. Part of being an artist is creating exceptional designs within the rules. It is a true artist who makes something extraordinary without breaking the rules. Web rule #1, web sites should load quickly.
Designers need to let the content drive the design. It is the content people are there for. If the content is a movie short flash short, or flash game then sure bandwidth can be a little higher. If it is a collection of shorts, movies, trailers, songs, or other things the container pages should load quickly. I will wait for a nice movie or song but not to just see what movies are available.
I do know about the “export preview” where you can mess with the settings, but keeping the quality while making the size smaller is quite a hard task to get right. But ill keep messing around and hopefully ill eventually get it right.
Ill take a look at the “online tools”, maybe ill find some useful tips.
>I will wait for a nice movie or song but not to just see what movies are available.< I see your point there.