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hrolsonsFlag for United States of America asked on

Why is this .jpg so big

So I have a whole group of pictures of similar sizes and content.  Most are about 3 or 4 Mb.  This file(attached) is 24 Mb and I'm trying to figure out why?
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David Brugge

8/22/2022 - Mon

I saved the image with some compression and got it down to 4MB so maybe the author of the image created a jpeg with no compression

It is large because of the file dimensions and the content.

If I create a very large image (same dimensions and fill it up with only black) the image will be small because JPEG knows how to compress that image.

Now, if I add in some detail such as a piece of candy it will increase size again.  Your file has LOTS of detail in the form of small "hairs" or "dust particles" which makes Jpeg compression less useful in this scenario.  (Although the sky appears white, it actually is composed of small particles if you zoom in.  Tis is one reason why the file size is large).

If you have Photoshop I recommend using the Save for Web feature to compress the image to a usable size.  It really depends on what your needs are for.

The image has 490 dpi - which is a lot for computer based images.  You would have this kind of detail for large print images (e.g. photo printing)
On a pc 96  dpi is enough - you wouldn't discern any difference on your monitor between 490 and 96
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.

But I have a bunch of others that are very similar to this one.  Same size, quality and complexity.  I'll attach 1 that is only 3 Mb.  I know I can make the big one smaller, I just don't understand why it's so big in the first place.

Right, these are for printing large pictures, not for viewing on a computer.

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Paul Sauvé

The resolution of the image is 490 x 490 pixels/inch and is 12.235" x 8.163".

If you reduce the number of ppi to, say, 150 x 150 and keep the same size, you will reduce the image size by a factor of about 3.25 or to about 7.3 Mb!

If you are planning to print the image, I think that 72 ppi should be OK (this is the resolution you get with digital cameras).
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Your first image has much more "dots per inch" or pixels in a given area.  Not only that but it has a higher resolution as well.

Any reason to repeat what I have already said?

So now I'm officially confused.

The first image is 5995x4000 pixels and 490 ppi.

The second is 5580x3720 pixels and 72 ppi.

Wouldn't the similar dimensions result in a similar ppi?
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Paul Sauvé

David Brugge

I would like to clear something up for the record for anyone else that seeks out this question for a similar problem.

Image pixel per inch is one of the biggest misunderstood aspect of web graphics. Clearly put, ppi has no impact on the presentation of images on the web. Web browsers completely ignore ppi settings (sometimes referred to as dpi settings).

What matters is the total with and height in pixels, that is all. A 400 px image will appear as half the width of an 800 px regardless of any ppi setting it was saved with.

Where the ppi is used, is when the image is printed. At that time, the printer looks at the ppi to calculate how large to print the image. If the ppi is higher than the resolution of the printer (very unlikely) the printer throws the extra pixels away. If the ppi of the image is lower than the resolution of the printer, the printer fills in the space between pixels with its best guess.

Most people know that the quality of a jpg image deteriorates each time it is saved. What most people don't know is that while the quality decreases, the file size can actually increase. This is because of what activematx pointed out above. The more detail in an image, the less the jpeg algorithm can compress it.

When a jpeg is saved, jpeg artifacts are introduced. The higher the level of compression, the more artifacts. What started out as a white mottled sky in the test.jpg image above, quickly filled up with artifacts when it was saved. You can see the artifacts here in this detail...
detail of test.jpg showing jpg artifacts in sky areaThe next time the file is saved, it sees the artifacts as image detail. What was once an image of smooth gradients (something the jpeg algorithm compresses easily), now was filled with a complex pattern.

To compensate for this, most people will lower the quality setting to bring the file size back closer to the original, but in so doing, add even more artifacts.

I suspect that the test.jpg was originally saved with a low quality setting and then re-saved with a high quality setting in order not to degrade the image any more than was necessary.