Mongo has mentioned this some time ago but it came up again during the week. Mongo promised to again set out his process. Mongo found his original post (20/7/2010). It should be noted that Mongo has no technical knowledge of what he is doing or how it works . He just knows from experience that it does.
Mongo is using photoshop CS3 – results should be no different for CS4 or any other photoshop as far as Mongo can work out.
To post it to the net, say, to Ausphotography, (which has a 250k limit) you have to reduce the image size and generally process the image for this purpose. This is the process which degrades your image quality and . Therefore , it is the effects of this particular step that we have to overcome. There are probably a number of ways of doing this but Mongo uses this particular method.
prepare any image fully to the point you very happy with its appearance on your monitor at home - , colour contrast etc. So that for all intents and purposes, it is the finished product. Mongo usually works in Tiff format but anything will do. Save the image (Mongo saves it in Tiff but again, anything will do).
Then, across the top tool bar click on “image”, go down to “Image size” and click on that. A small window will open. Make sure all 3 lower boxes are ticked in that window ie “scale”, “styles” and “constrain proportions”. Also make sure the last dialog box is set to “Bicubic sharper (best for reductions)” . Now enter the size of your image in the top 2 panels of this current window and make sure they are set to “pixels” and not ich or cm. These options can be set in the “resolution” box of this window. Mongo either enters the width (1024) OR the height (say 640). Mongo uses 640 max height as this is the visible height of an mage on the AP site without have to scrole up or down to see the whole image on Mongo’s monitor. However, Mongo has heard that some members have a clear vertical view of as much as 800 pixels depending on the size of your monitor. Then Press “OK”.
This then takes you back to the main photoshop window but the image will usually be (and appear) much smaller.
Now, click “file” go down to “save for web & devices” , this will open another window. On the bottom left corner you will see the image size (usually between 350 – 480k). Then , on the top right hand corner you will see a number of boxes. Go to the one labelled “quality” and click the little arrow on the right of that word. It will open up a slider that goes from 0 to 100. When you click it , it will open with a value already in it. Just put your curser on the slider (hold down the left mouse button) and move it right or left while watching the bottom left hand corner image size indicator. Please note that you will not get a reading on the image size unless you move the slider and then “release” the left mouse. Keep doing this until you get the image size as close to (but not exceeding) 250k as possible.
BEFORE you click “save”, go to the middle of the available boxes on the right hand side (you will see 2 tabs – one being “colour table” and the other is “image size”) and click open the image size tab. This will open a number of other internal options. Make sure that the “quality “ box is set to “bicubic sharper”. Then click “save” (top right corner). Give it a different name OR save it somewhere else on your computer temporarily. Mongo just usually saves tis to “desktop” for the time being. You may note that at this stage , the file is saved as a JPG file.
The Photoshop window will again open up with the smaller image referred to in “step 2” above. Close this image and when it asks if you want to save changes , press “NO”. This will preserve your original image in its original location. This will leave you still in photoshop but no image will be open.
(This is where the overcoming of the process Mongo referred to above actually happens)
While still in the photoshop from Step 3, re-open the small image you saved at the end of step 2.
On the top tool bar go to “filter” down to “sharpen” then open “smart sharpen”. Leave the settings to “basic” and default” but set the “radius” to “0.3” and set the “remove” box to “Gaussian blur”. Set the “amount” (between 110 and 150%) until it looks acceptably . Be careful not to over do it . Press OK. This will have effectively sharpened the image.
Now, with the resulting sharpened small image, REPEAT Step 2. When you close this file it will ask if you want to replace the previous one – say “yes”
Now, REPEAT step 4 but this time set the “amount” to between 35% and 70% depending on where it looks best. Be careful not to over sharpen which can easily happen at this step. Save it again and again reply “yes” to replace the previous file.
You now have the finished product for posting with as little loss of from the original (that you had been happy with on your monitor) as possible. However, as Mongo has said, he is sure there are other and probably better methods.
If you have Neatimage, you can sharpen in steps 4 and 5 using that program. Mongo uses a combination of both Neatimage and smart sharpen in photoshop. Before Neatimage, Mongo used the above method which gave very very similar results.
Mongo surmises that each time you “save for the web & devices”, there is a certain amount of compression and degradation of the image file. Mongo believes the last 2 steps in the above process ie the repeating of compressing the image and re- , helps compensate for the compression/degradation of the image each time its done. However, each time becomes less and less and therefore it takes less to compensate. That is why the started at between , say, 110 – 150% and, by the second time round of it had reduced to only need , say, between 35 – 70 %. In theory, if this were done a third time, the percentage needed to compensate for the third time “save to the web & devices” should be even lower than 35% and so on.
Mongo has posted 2 versions of the same image.
The first one is labelled “swan one step” – this is where Mongo was very happy with the image on his home monitor and them simply “saved it to web & devices” at just under the max of 250k.
The second one is labelled “swan two step” – this is the same original image Mongo was happy with on his monitor at home but then applied the two step process he described in the above short article. Then saved it at just under the max of 250k on the last of the “save to web & devices” steps.
Hope this is of use and if anyone has a different method, it would be nice if they wanted to share.
SWAN one step
SWAN two step