27  Those confusing file formats

These notes are extra tips, be sure to read all the basic general stuff on file formats

 Saving a Master
is to graphics
what back-up is to computing
Just do it, or suffer them gut wrenching consequences

  • Always save originals in the PSP format keeping all layers intact unmerged. (it's your Master)
  • Masters can bail our butts out of big trouble, solve problems & eliminate extra work later on.
  • Don't merge any layer that may require future editing. There's no way to pick merged (flattened) layers apart once they are merged.
  • Saving in formats other than .psp or .psd automatically merges (flattens) all the layers.
    You will also lose everything like masks selections & creator info stored in alpha channels.
  • I need to share my master with someone who doesn't use PSP6?
    The TIFF file using LZW Compression (you will lose the layers)
    or use the Photoshop format (to preserve your layers)

But I don't need a master, this image is completely done.
Yeah sure famous last words.

Once we have a master tucked away it's time to make a web version

So, do we compress crunch it down as a JPEG, or cut those colors and go GIF?????


Why do my screen captures suck?
Choose gif for better image quality & smaller files

 GIF loves texty screen capture stuff


Perfect match to the original screen capture

With only 256 colors at his disposal he's a thrifty no nonsense kinda guy who really delivers the goods on assignments, once we learn the appropriate jobs to assign him.

He also likes solid blocks of colors snuggling smack up against each other with their sharp edges.  He happily keeps things crispy and clear.

He doesn't like gradient blends or soft transitions from one color over into another.

He seldom packs enough colors in his 256 palette to make soft blended transitions appear smooth enough.




Error diffusion may dither in his attempts to recreate precise colors. 
Watch him in case he delivers less but still overcharges you.
If you see dithering, choose different settings.

 What about jpgs?

bigger files & less quality

 resized 4847k

JPG stinks at text & sharp edges & stinks at big areas of solid color.

Crunching those bad boys down closer to numbers comparable to Gif gives .jpg a nervous breakdown.

Jpg is a smoother kinda character who prefers playing around with over 16 million colors. He likes smoother softer color transitions & gentle edges.

He loves stuff like photographs and gradient blends & does all that kind of work extremely well.


How do I slim down my files?

Don't cater to nonessential gradients
It really helps to keep this palette open and visible most of the time.

256 color 5748   91 color 4866   16 color 3401   2 color 2223


  • Crop them out or ignore them.
  • Replace hoggy Windows '98 gradient title bars with solids.
  • Crop screen captures instead of resizing them.
  • Avoid resizing images slated to be gifs, it softens up edges
    and jacks up file sizes
  • If a PSP workspace background is dithered, capture files grow much larger to accommodate that invisible dither. Magic wand your backgrounds at zero tolerance to check against invisible dither and fix this before Saving. Set its main color as your background swatch, up the tolerance on your magic wand to grab the whole dithered background & hit delete. That high dollar dither is now a cheap solid that looks exactly the same.

Building fat gifs to reside on slow pages is self-indulgent
& blasphemously cruel to visitors.

80 of this guy's 91 colors caters to a nonessential gradient.  Initially he got his indulgent 91 colors because he lived on very fast (24k) page 4.  I'm banking that you've already visited page 4 where he got cached rendering him a freebie on this slower page.

If you never went to page 4 and this page took forever... consider it an illustrative example of "the slow pages suck big time" principle.  

If you never made it over to page 4 & this page still loads fast ... Be thankful for your good connection

This page weighs in at 77.5K
The best loading pages stay below 50k (including html) a few k here & there adds up real fast and drags downloads into dental pain.
Not every visitor has the luxury of a great connection.
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