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Deterioration of jpg file quality

Posted on 2010-11-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I use Paint Shop Pro on a Windows 7 computer, and am having difficulty with images which contain text.  If I use the text function to add a caption within the framework of a photograph, the first time I print the file it might look beautiful.  But after I save the file and reopen it, there is stippling around the text, and the quality of the printed image is relatively poor.  The rest of the image is unchanged.  It is just the area around the text which seems to deteriorate.  Is there a way to preserve the original quality of the image? Image with text, illustrating stippling effect
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Question by:ddantes
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LVL 84

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 200 total points
ID: 34182183
That's 'jpeg artifacts' that result from compressing the image file.  Jpeg compression can be specified on the jpeg save menu.  To have the least artifacts, use the least compression that you can.  Lower compression means larger files but better images.  Higher compression means smaller files but more artifacts.

The reason it looks good before you save it is that it hasn't been compressed yet.  An uncompressed version is used for editing, it's only compressed when you save it.
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LVL 38

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BillDL earned 300 total points
ID: 34183367
Perhaps I can expand a little bit more about what Dave Baldwin has explained about image compression.

Take a look at the actual File Size of a JPG image in Windows Explorer before opening it in Paint Shop Pro and then (if your version of PsP is like mine) look down at the right of the Status Bar at the bottom of the PsP window.  You will also see this if you go to the Image menu > Information and look at the "Size in RAM".  I've just opened a 204KB JPG and it shows that the image is 1.6MD once opened.

When you do a File > Save As and choose a specific file type, it uses an Encoder to pack the contents into the specified image format in the file.  On reopening the image, it is Decoded and effectively "expanded" into memory while viewing it, but that doesn't restore the data that was discarded when it was compressed.

Basic JPEG compression works by virtually throwing away close shades of colour adjacent to each other and hoping that your eye won't see the bits that were discarded.

The complicated explanation:
http://www.ams.org/samplings/feature-column/fcarc-image-compression

The simplified explanation:
http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/compression/info.html

If you need to Save an image after printing, then use the Tagged Image Format (TIF/TIFF). This format maintains the integrity of the original image because every single pixel is mapped inside it.  The files are large, but accurate, and if compression is chosen it is a "lossless" form of compression unlike JPG.  TIF/TIFF is not a choice of image type for Websites though.

This is quite an informative site, even though it's main emphasis is on scanning to image:
http://www.scantips.com/basics09.html

As far as your Text is concerned, look at the options you have when the dialog opens for you to type in your text.  There should be an option for "Anti-Alias".  The edges of text are jagged because the colour is applied as square blocks - pixels. On straight lines this is fine, but on the rounded sides of text characters it will show as zig-zags or a a flight of stairs.  Anti-Aliasing adds subtle hues of the same colour in between those pointy squares to give the overall impression of softer edges that in some cases are indistinguishable to the eye when viewed at reasonable sizes.  Zoom right in and you will still see this though.

You should also have the option of inserting your text as Vector, Selection, and Floating.  Vector shapes can be grabbed and stretched when inserted, and the content isn't usually degraded when you do so. Your text seems OK though, so you probably chose the Anti-Alias option. It's just the JPEG Artefacts that surround the parts of the image and show on the sky that fuzz it up.

If you didn't choose those options, experiment by adding text as Vector and choose the Anti-Alias option to see if the results are improved, then Save As *.TIF/*.TIFF. Click the "Options" in the Save As dialog and set it to "No Compression" and as CMYK colour channel rather than RGB.  RGB (Red, Blue, Green) is fine for displaying images on screen, but CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is better for printing.

Red, Green and Blue mixed together makes White, whereas Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow mixed makes Black.  It is explained here:
http://www.printernational.org/rgb-versus-cmyk.php

Your image has a lot of Jpeg Artefacts, but I was able to reduce some of them using the JPeg Artefact Removal filter in my version of PsP 7.  It's never perfect, and one "correction" always affects the quality of something else, but if that's the only image you have you could experiement on a copy of it.

Hope this helps.
Bill
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 34183697
Thank you both for your comments.  I was using antialias and floating text, but allowing the image to be highly compressed when it was saved.  Saving the image in TIFF format with no compression and CMYK option seems to have resolved the jpeg artifact effect.  Bill, I didn't know that PSP had a version more recent than 5.0.  Can you direct me to a site to download version 7?
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 34183716
Corel bought PSP, it's now PaintShop Photo Pro X3.  http://www.corel.com/
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 34183799
Thank you.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 34186160
Hi ddantes

>>> "I didn't know that PSP had a version more recent than 5.0.  Can you direct me to a site to download version 7?" <<<

I used to use Paint Shop Pro back as early as version 4 when it was owned by Jasc and was shareware.  I've used all the versions up to the last one released by Jasc before it was bought by Corel, namely version 7.04 which I think is their "anniversary edition".  I believe after version 4.5 it was no longer shareware, but a time-out "evaluation" installation. Being blatantly honest, I have "patched" some of the evaluation versions in the past and used them for a while, but I bought version 7.04 when new and then bought another CD from eBay later. I stuck with v. 7.04 because I found the Corel releases shortly after that very slow to load and it seemed to me that the only significant changes were cosmetic and detrimental.

There is a repository of "old versions" of various software at ... wait for it ... "oldversion.com", but they will always stress (as I must) that the downloads "are all trial versions and intended for research purposes only.".
http://www.oldversion.com/Paint_Shop_Pro.html

I obviously can't be seen to encourage "extended use" of trial versions, but I suppose if you wanted a nosey at the previous versions then it's a good way to check them out - BUT it may not be a good idea to test them on the same PC as you have other versions of PsP installed.

I'm pretty sure you can still pick up that version on a 2nd-hand retail CD from eBay.

I was looking at the wording in your image again, and it seems like you are perhaps creating a YouTube photo slideshow or maybe a DVD of your exotic holidays.  TIF/TIFF may not be suitable for those applications, but it's probably the best format to store your originals in.  PNG is a good format because it uses a lossless compression and file sizes are still pretty small.  JPG with no compression at all, or the smallest amount possible, should suffice for either of the above project types.  For a web-based slideshow you can still use larger uncompressed JPGs, but load time of each large image could make it a painful experience rather than a pleasurable one.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 34186166
You also have an "old apps" repository of discontinued software:
http://www.oldapps.com/Paint_Shop_Pro.php
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 34189874
Thank you for the information, Bill, and the download link was helpful too.
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