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Library: Creative Design

 

Perfectly balance image quality and file size using Photoshop's Modify Quality Setting command

Added on Saturday 4th of April 2009 09:23 am EST

 
Application > Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Images are an integral part of just about every website today. Whether they're of friends and family on a personal site, food and flowers on a catalog site, or specimen samples on an institutional site, they provide information, entertainment, and variety. A major concern when working with web images is file size. The larger the file size, the longer the download time and the more badwidth you eat up. Reducing image file size is simple to do, but it always comes with a price: the lower the size, the lower the quality. By now you'd think there'd be a way to maintain quality and reduce file size at the same time. Good news: there is a solution. Let's open an example and use Photoshop's Modify Quality Setting command to discover how.


Understand the Modify Quality Setting command
Most images, especially photos, contain two distinct areas of visual focus: that of the subject and that of everything else. Since the subject area is the primary focus, its detail quality should be as high as possible. Because everything else, such as the background, is secondary, that detail quality doesn't need to be as great. By separating the two areas using a mask, you can use the Modify Quality Setting command to adjust the maximum and minimum quality level of each area, and in so doing, optimize the file size.


Open and study an example
The first step is to open an image and decide on the areas we want to mask. To follow along using our example, download the cacandy.jpg file from the URL given at the beginning of this article.
1. Launch Photoshop, choose File > Open, and navigate to the candy.jpg file. Click Open.
2. Study the image. The candy is the primary focus of the image, as shown in Figure A, an...