resolution for small web graphics

Posted on 1998-11-16
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I am trying to create some imaginative buttons/icons, for a friend's website, yet when I reduce them all the detail is lost... what size/resolution should I create them in to get the best look possible?  Also, For larger, full screen graphics, what is the best size/resolution to work in(these are more complex graphics)?  Am running photoshop 4.0 on a PC.  Thanks very much for any help on this!
Question by:trueblue28
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Accepted Solution

890 earned 50 total points
ID: 1115779
It depends on the size of your original picture.  If you reduce it too small of cause all the detail (very small) will be lost.  Like from a 900 X 800 pixel picture to a 300 X 200.  The best thing to do is try to decrease the pixel differences.

For larger, full screen graphics do not go over 600 pixel wide in the www, there's no such thing as best size it depends on what do you use it for.  If you are concert about download time the smaller is best.  For best look try 256 color, 180 ppi.

Expert Comment

ID: 1115780

Typically, web graphics are created with 72dpi as most browsers cannot get better resolution than that (sad but true).  Line drawings and the like are better suited to a GIF format.  Photographs and complex images perform better as JPG files as they use millions of colors.  I would suggest that you try to "save a copy" of your image in many different GIF and JPG settings to see which gives you the best quality and file size.

I will attempt to walk through the steps for you but you are welcome to e-mail me ( a hard copy of your graphic and I will compress it and explain how I did it.  Unfortunately, I only have PS3.0.  If my instructions below don't quite match with 4.0's interface, I apologize.  

For GIF files:
With the image open and active, Click Mode->Indexed Color
A dialogue box will open with various options.  First, make sure that the "Palette" option is set to Adaptive and "Dithering" is set to None.  At this point you need to change the "Resolution".  I like to start with a low bit per pixel ratio  and work my way up if necessary but others like to work down - personal preference.  I would start with around 4 bits per pixel and press OK.  If you have lost too much detail, Undo and use a higher bit per pixel ratio.  However, if the image looks good with no loss of quality you can Undo and try to use a lower bit per pixel to acheive a smaller file size.  Once you have found the perfect ratios for an image, and before saving the image, click Mode->RGB Color to go back into RGB Mode.  Then click Mode->Indexed Color again but change the "Palette" options to Exact and click OK.  Then you can save as a GIF(or export as a GIF if you have the Gif89a export plugin).

Note: If you have the Gif89a plugin, you can define transparencies.  If you define multiple transparency colors with Gif89a, save the image and then open it up again in Photoshop. Export it once again with the plugin and you will only have to define one color as transparent thereby making the GIF even smaller.

For JPG files:
"Save a copy" of your image and select JPG from the "Save as" drop down menu.  Once you click OK, dialogue box will ask you about Image Quality.  Once again, you can start at the bottom (Low) and work your way up (Maximum) or vice versa.  Open the files in a viewer to see which image retained the best quality and has the lowest file size.

One last option (before my fingers fall off <g>) is to purchase a license from a company such as GifWizard - - which compresses image files (GIF & JPG).  I would only suggest this if you plan on doing more web graphic design then just this one time.

I really hope this helps!  

Expert Comment

ID: 1115781
Well, while I was posting that novel <g>, 890 responded to your question.  When you said reduce, I assumed you meant reduce file size via compression and not reduce via actual size.  If I misinterpreted your question please forgive me for wasting bandwidth.  :o)


Author Comment

ID: 1115782
thank you, 890, & heather8!

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