Loosing the good looks of your Harley

We all want our Harley-Davidson to look best, and use the web to distribute pictures taken with our digital camera.

But suddenly, the initially bright and sharp picture turns blurry and pixelated. How come? Well, you need to know and respect that jpeg, the format most often used in digital cameras, is a lossy format. This means that each time you resample and save your picture, the file size gets further compressed, and the quality suffers.

Take a look at these 3 “generations” of the same original:

1: first generation, resized and cropped from original (filesize: 61kb)

4th generation: saving the picture without changes (filesize: 20kb)

8th generation: further resampling (filesize: 15kb)

One can clearly see how the versions deteriorate, helmet and fuel tank are not shiny anymore, details start to look pixelated. This is due to repeated compression of the file while saving as jpeg over and over again in a photo editing software.

If you simply save a copy from a USB stick, you do not resample, the file size does not change, but as soon as you open the picture in a editor, and resave, resampling takes place, and the file size reduces, with it the picture quality.

You may want to use different crops or aspect ratios of a picture, creating different versions, or adding text, that is fine, but remember: always try to use the original jpeg to start a new version, a new generation 1. Then you will have a chance to achieve the highest quality in a lossy environment. Never open and edit a lower generation, as brilliance and sharpness will quickly fade away. And re-save jpegs in high quality settings, the file size may increase, but you keep the quality high.

You may see that sometimes the picture quality deteriorates in Facebook, or your blog. The reason for this is that the hosting software resamples your picture in the background, it tries to reduce its size to save storage and speed up future downloads. The Facebook profile pics are sometimes strongly affected, and there is little you can do, except providing the highest quality initially. So always upload a optimised generation 1 picture, as the original is too large in size, un-cropped and often not properly aligned. But that is another subject.

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One Response to “Loosing the good looks of your Harley”

  1. Roger Bonnici Says:

    A very informative piece of advice Axel. easily understood by the man in the street I think. Very good.

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