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Photography and the web
Preparing photos for the web
The key to putting up images on the web is optimisation. It's vital to crush the little blighters down to within an inch of their lives as hefty, bloated images = unhappy surfers.
Remember to try to make the image as physically small as it needs to be to convey the intended message (anything over 600 pixels wide is bordering on excess) and aim to keep the entire weight of the HTML page under 40k.
Don't hoist huge, full screen photos on the front page and if you really need a lardy graphic on your site, warn people before they click on the link to it.
Most graphics programs offer a comprehensive suite of tools to optimise and export files in the most popular web formats.
Bank balance-draining applications like Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks are particularly good at this task, but if the spondulas are slim, PaintShop Pro is a very capable shareware choice.
If money's too tight to mention, don't give up as there's totally free web graphics software to be found on magazine cover disks or on the web at: www.freegraphics.com, www.tucows.com and www.tudogs.com. You can even optimise your images online at http://www.spinwave.com/
If you're hell-bent on squeezing the very last byte out of an image, I've found nothing to topple Image Optimizer ( www.xat.com) as King of the Image Crushers.
This superb program lets you selectively 'paint on' different levels of compression to your image and should find a place in every web designers' toolbox.
Article © Mike Slocombe 2001
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