larryb123456

custom avatars and signatures

746 posts in this topic

It's a shame I didn't think of this earlier, maybe for the next user... It would be nice to see a few examples as the phase of development moves forward, so changes can be made at a more convenient stage.

My friend had a web graphics guy design a banner for his site, the artist sent him links to various examples of the design process for my friend to evaluate, this helped my friend recommend changes to color depth (can you brighten the green, here's a shade I like), layers (can you move the image to the left of the text rather than the right side), and so on. This doesn't need to be burdensome but a few phases of the design process would be nice rather than at the very end - here it is, like it or not :) just an idea.

Edited by gUiTaR_mIkE
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...speaking of Cy Twombly, I'm only familiar with the person because I have a friend whose name is C. Twombly, he moved away long ago and periodically I have looked for him online and Cy has come up many times in my searches.

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I wanted to post this info in a short, separate Post -- so that it would *clearly stand out* and not get lost in the discussion when I post gUiTaR_mIkE's images.

Do you all know that not all browsers render colors properly in a PNG image ?

I've known it for a long time with my 98 OS and browsers from the Dark Ages. I was just previewing some of gUiTaR_mIkE's hosted PNG images online, and they *all* looked terrible. All the blues were transformed into nearly-black and the other colors didn't fair much better either.

My procedure was to do *all* the work in PS 5.0 and save to PNG at the end (since Mike had requested the images in this format). After I had *all* the PNGs saved, I batch-opened them and saved each as jpg at the maximum quality setting. All these jpegs looked great on the 'net.

Bottom line: IMHO, don't put PNGs on the 'net. Use jpegs instead.

Do you folks with your more modern systems experience this PNG problem ? It will be easy enough for you to check out when I provide links to gUiTaR_mIkE's PNGs. I'll also post links for the jpegs too, so you can see what the images *should* look like.

CoffeeFiend -- or anyone else, of course -- I'd appreciate any "educational feedback" you can give me on this issue. Thanks in advance.

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CoffeeFiend -- or anyone else, of course -- I'd appreciate any "educational feedback" you can give me on this issue. Thanks in advance.

My opinion - the problem is entirely at your end, .png is superior in quality to .jpg but of course .jpg has it's place, just not high quality artwork. A quick look at many sites including MSFN - nearly all the images are in .png format. I don't know what browser (or version) you're using but if you can look at the 'media' used you will see .png.

If you want to get serious about your artwork (on computer anyway) you need to step up to at least XP, 7 would be better, Apple if your rich :) Btw, since you're struggling with the project for me go ahead and stop - it seems like this idea is getting a little heavy in the heels so please don't bother with my avatar, it's becoming a headache for you, don't aggravate yourself on my account.

I can do my own if I feel the need but the effort is appreciated for sure. If the resulting work is underwhelming this will be a waste of your time :) So I'm considering my project canceled for your benefit and many kudos to you for the attempt - I do believe the bottleneck might be the system you're doing the work on and not your skills.

...regards.

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It would be nice to see a few examples as the phase of development moves forward, so changes can be made at a more convenient stage. This doesn't need to be burdensome but a few phases of the design process would be nice rather than at the very end - here it is, like it or not

What I'll be showing are numerous examples, to give you -- or other forum members -- ideas for changes. With PS layers and "effects" (and the "scale" feature, too), it's pretty easy to make changes (since all my "settings" are saved).

I feel the approach we've taken has been good -- no, really, *great* -- since I had the freedom to *explore* different things -- without having to be "interrupted" by needing to communicate with you. We are now at the phase of the design process to get your feedback. By no means are we at "the very end - here it is, like it or not" stage. When I present these results, I'll discuss my approach a little so you will get a clear understanding of what would be easy to change and what would be hard (not really hard, per se, but I'd be a little "underwhelmed" if I had to start *completely over*). As long as you like my gUiTaR_mIkE "sine-wave-flow" motion, I think this project will soon be successfully "in the bag".

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My opinion - the problem is entirely at your end,

A quick look at many sites including MSFN - nearly all the images are in .png format. I don't know what browser (or version) you're using but if you can look at the 'media' used you will see .png.

If you want to get serious about your artwork (on computer anyway) you need to step up to at least XP, 7 would be better, Apple if your rich

Btw, since you're struggling with the project for me go ahead and stop - it seems like this idea is getting a little heavy in the heels so please don't bother with my avatar, it's becoming a headache for you, don't aggravate yourself on my account.

I am aware that PNGs abound on the net -- some I can view well, others I can't. I can view all your PNG images well in PS, just not on the 'net. By my recommending jpegs, that would just allow the disadvantaged -- such as myself -- to clearly view them. By no means was I trying to *tell you what to do*. If you want to put them on the 'net as PNGs that is your choice, of course, since the images will belong to you -- not me.

I am not rich -- not even close to it -- so I'm stuck with what I have. But, IMO, my system accomplishes a lot -- as you'll see in the images I made for you.

By no means am I "struggling" with this project. It has been very easy and a lot of fun to do. It is no "headache" at all and it is not "aggravating" me in the least. In the other extreme, it has provided me with much creative enjoyment.

If the resulting work is underwhelming this will be a waste of your time

So I'm considering my project canceled for your benefit

I do believe the bottleneck might be the system you're doing the work on and not your skills.

This work is not underwhelming to me at all, and it definitely has not been a waste of my time. I have truly enjoyed it.

Let's not cancel the project *now* Mike, please.

Let me submit my images for you to look at and, if you want, you can cancel the project then -- or we can continue on in the "refining" phase as I described in my last Post. After all, I'm 99% done with this phase of the work. I basically just have to have the files hosted on the 'net and write the Post. I know my system and my PS version are not the latest, but I still can accomplish a lot with it. I hope you will agree with this statement when you see the images I made for you.

Respectfully submitted,

Larry

P. S.

Here is a direct link to one signature that I put a *lot* of blue in (since you said that was your favorite color). You can also see the sine-wave motion. I'm posting this to see if *you* -- and others -- can see the PNG clearly.The PNG link is

http://postimage.org/image/6ebedalg/

Let me know if you can clearly see it.

Everything should be in clear, sharp focus, as shown in the jpeg link

http://postimage.org/image/6e34ok4k/

If you can see the PNG well, we're "over the hump". (I have many other signatures incorporating guitars and amps -- plus much more).

I have never used PNGs before, because I can't see them on the net. In converting from the PS file to PNG there are a great deal of "settings" that one can use. I chose "None" in 2 different categories. I'm now going to make a Post for CoffeeFiend detailing all these settings, so he can tell me the best combo to use. Maybe *my* visual problem is just in the settings I used. That *might* be the case, since it is relatively rare any more that there's a PNG on the 'net that I can't see clearly. I'm determined to solve this "riddle".

Regards

Edited by larryb123456
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Hello, CoffeeFiend

(and anyone else who can provide some help)

As I discussed in my last couple of Posts, the PNGs I'm making for gUiTaR_mIkE do not show up on the 'net as they should -- colorwise -- when viewed with *my old browsers and OS*. For example, the blues turn almost black and the other colors are strongly shifted from what they should be. However, the PNGs show up as they should in PS 5.0.

In my last Post -- in the P.S. -- I provided some direct links for one image I made for gUiTaR_mIkE -- one link for the PNG version and the other for the jpeg version. I sure hope the PNG shows up as well as the jpeg for your system. If it does, I have nothing to worry about, since I'll be able to meet Mike's request for high-quality PNGs.

If it doesn't, well, I don't know.

One thing I thought of is maybe I'm not using the *best* "settings" for converting the .psd files to PNG.

In PS 5.0 the "save as png" options are in 2 categories:

Interlace

None

Adam7

and

Filter

None

Sub

Up

Average

Paeth

Adaptive

The default settings were "None" in both categories -- and that's what I went with. Should I have chosen a different combination of options to get a better PNG image -- one that I'd be able to view correctly on the 'net ?

I sure hope you can give me some guidance to get me out of this dilemma. Of course, if you can see the PNG well in my link, no guidance is really needed. But if you could "educate" me a little in this area -- without working too hard on it, of course -- I'd really appreciate it.

Many Thanks.

P.S.

What are your feelings about which image format is best to use on the 'net -- PNGs or JPEGs ? Thanks again.

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Do you all know that not all browsers render colors properly in a PNG image ?

It should work just fine with modern versions of Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari and most others. I haven't come across this particular problem myself.The only PNG issue I've encountered is the lack of alpha channel support (no transparency) in ancient, crappy versions of IE. It's either caused by your OS/browser combo, or having color settings/calibration problems. This wasn't even a problem a decade ago.

Bottom line: IMHO, don't put PNGs on the 'net. Use jpegs instead

JPEGs are better for photos mainly, or some things with millions of colors (although 24 bit PNGs is often a better choice there too), and where lossy compression is not such a big deal (over-compression will also cause rather ugly artefacts). But it's mostly for photos. PNG is FAR better than JPEGs for images with a limited number of colors (as it's indexed, much like GIFs but a bit better). Using JPEGs for such pictures result in far larger file sizes yet lower quality. Most of the pictures on the web (apart from photos) I look at are PNGs -- including all the the images making up the "skin" on this forum.

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I'm using IE8 on Win XP SP3, and, to me, the .PNG image Larry posted a link to appears *much* darker than the .jpg image. If they were meant to be exactly the same, well, I simply am not seeing them as the same at all. I think that was what Larry was referring to. Of course this is not IE9 on Win 7, but about 50% of all Windows users are still on XP, and IE9 is simply not available for this platform. IMHO, .jpgs for photos and most art and .gifs for line drawings and most everything that can be reasonably represented in up to 256 colors (or where the lossy compression is a problem) still is the way to go. And the .gif patents have al expired, AFAIK, so there's no reason anymore not to use them.

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Again, thanks for taking time to respond, CoffeeFiend. I so very much appreciate all your hard efforts.

Bottom line: IMHO, don't put PNGs on the 'net. Use jpegs instead

JPEGs are better for photos mainly, or some things with millions of colors (although 24 bit PNGs is often a better choice there too), and where lossy compression is not such a big deal (over-compression will also cause rather ugly artefacts). But it's mostly for photos. PNG is FAR better than JPEGs for images with a limited number of colors (as it's indexed, much like GIFs but a bit better). Using JPEGs for such pictures result in far larger file sizes yet lower quality. Most of the pictures on the web (apart from photos) I look at are PNGs -- including all the the images making up the "skin" on this forum.

JPEGs are better for photos mainly, or some things with millions of colors. But it's mostly for photos.

My images for gUiTaR_mIkE are "photographic" in nature, as shown in the image I posted. (This image was, *by far*, the most extreme -- or "wild" -- in terms of colors. I wish I had posted a more "representative" image -- i.e., more sedate, understated, "elegantly simple"). And many of my signatures for gUiTaR_mIkE use *actual photos*. As far as the "millions of colors" -- there are many, many individual colors that comprise a fade.

where lossy compression is not such a big deal (over-compression will also cause rather ugly artefacts).

The PNGs are to be used as "master" files.

If they are to be converted to jpegs for display on the 'net, they will be compressed *only once* in the saving-to-jpeg process. This one-time compression will produce *negligible* jpeg degradation. (In PS, I directly compared the PNG to the jpeg made from it. I could visually tell absolutely no difference between the two.)

In converting from PNG to jpeg, the highest-quality "save as" setting should be used to prevent over-compression and to give the best image. Lossy compression will *never* be a big deal at all, if this jpeg is never edited and used again. If you want to resize the image again, start with the "master" PNG. We don't have to worry at all about the increased file size due to using the highest quality save-as setting, since the images will be very small (i.e., 50KB).

PNG is FAR better than JPEGs for images with a limited number of colors

As stated before, my images have many, many colors.

Most of the pictures on the web (apart from photos) I look at are PNGs

Bold letters added by me. This statement requires no further commentary from me.

In conclusion, CoffeeFiend -- based on your commentary -- it seems that you think it would be best for gUiTaR_mIkE to use the jpeg versions of my highly-photographic-in-nature images on the internet, rather than the PNG versions.

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this. Thanks.

Hello, dencorso. Great to communicate with you in the forum again. And, most importantly, thanks for taking time to respond.

I'm using IE8 on Win XP SP3, and, to me, the .PNG image Larry posted a link to appears *much* darker than the .jpg image. If they were meant to be exactly the same, well, I simply am not seeing them as the same at all. I think that was what Larry was referring to.

It seems that we are seeing the PNG image the same, since you used the * around much -- in *much* darker -- for emphasis. Yes, dencorso, that is exactly what I was referring to. At this point, we don't know why this is happening, but, really, we don't need to know.

All the jpegs made from the PNGs look good and show up exactly as intended on the 'net. So, if the jpegs are uploaded to the 'net, rather than the PNGs, the "problem" will be solved.

(Anyway, as CoffeeFiend pointed out above, jpegs are better suited for "photographic" images such as mine.)

IMHO, .jpgs for photos and most art

Thanks for giving your opinion about the better format for my "photo/art" signatures.

It seems clear that you, me, and CoffeeFiend are in agreement on this issue.

Best Regards

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My findings were similar to dencorso, looking at the images in different tabs of my browser, Iron on Win7 x86, the PNG was darker than the JPG. And when I downloaded the two images and loaded them into Paint.net they looked the same, both the same as each other AND the same as the JPG image in the browser window, within reason. This surprised me since I also believed that PNG was a better format to use. I guess it all depends on the image.

Cheers and Regards

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I'm using IE8 on Win XP SP3, and, to me, the .PNG image Larry posted a link to appears *much* darker than the .jpg image.

I was in a hurry and didn't look at the images. Indeed they look different. That is NOT a problem with browser support. It's actually Photoshop 5 who can't properly save PNG files (it screws up the gamma setting inside them). Like I said before, I have yet to encounter a PNG that a browser doesn't show right (and here it does too, it's the PNG file itself that is the problem). And yes, GIFs still work but PNGs are also smaller. I can't think of a single way GIFs are better than PNGs. The only thing people still use GIFs for is the animated kind.

See a proper PNG, saved by Photoshop > v5:

xj7SL.png

That works just fine, as expected. It looks just like his JPG but at about 1/4 of its size.

My images for gUiTaR_mIkE are "photographic" in nature, as shown in the image I posted.

Not really. There aren't that many colors as it's mostly monochromatic. Gradients don't help for indexed colors though (without gradients it would be more like 4KB). If there were even more colors then you could still save in lossless 24 bit PNG while still having the same size as your JPEG (no downsides)

This one-time compression will produce *negligible* jpeg degradation. (In PS, I directly compared the PNG to the jpeg made from it. I could visually tell absolutely no difference between the two.)

The degradation is only negligible because it's almost 4x the size of my PNG... Lossy compression always looks worse, unless you don't compress much which isn't what you want for web content.

since the images will be very small (i.e., 50KB).

That's still pretty large for such a small image. Some of us are still on slow links. Multiplying the size of every avatars and such by 4 on each webpage = page loads darn slow. 50KB at dialup speeds is something like 10+ seconds worth of wait.

The bottom line is: use whatever gives the smallest file sizes while having great quality. For stuff that isn't photos that's usually PNGs, otherwise it's JPEGs.

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My findings were similar to dencorso, looking at the images in different tabs of my browser, Iron on Win7 x86, the PNG was darker than the JPG. And when I downloaded the two images and loaded them into Paint.net they looked the same, both the same as each other AND the same as the JPG image in the browser window, within reason. This surprised me since I also believed that PNG was a better format to use. I guess it all depends on the image.

Thanks for taking time to check this out, bphlpt.

All this input helps me get a better insight for how to overcome this limitation -- no, really, it allows me to give instructions, or advice, to those wanting to use my images. If the user wants jpegs from the outset, no problem.

I can provide "master versions" to the user in the form of PNGs, but these cannot be uploaded to the 'net with good results, as we've discussed. But, the user can convert these PNGs to *PERFECTLY GOOD JPEGS*, for display on the net. So, even though there is a little limitation with these PNGS, there is really not a big problem since the *final objective* -- displaying a perfectly good image on the 'net -- *will be achieved*.

I'm using IE8 on Win XP SP3, and, to me, the .PNG image Larry posted a link to appears *much* darker than the .jpg image.

I was in a hurry and didn't look at the images. Indeed they look different. That is NOT a problem with browser support. It's actually Photoshop 5 who can't properly save PNG files (it screws up the gamma setting inside them). Like I said before, I have yet to encounter a PNG that a browser doesn't show right (and here it does too, it's the PNG file itself that is the problem).

Can you elaborate some on what a screwed up gamma setting does to a PNG file -- if you want to, of course.

As I mentioned, when I convert from the PS format (.psd) to PNG, the file looks *visually identical* to the original .psd file. *And*, when I convert this PNG file to jpeg, the jpeg looks identical to the PNG file. So, we have 3 visually identical files -- .psd, PNG, and jpeg.

Can you please explain why -- if Photoshop 5 can't properly save PNG files -- we can convert these PNG files to *perfect jpegs*. It would intuitively seem that if the PNG files were really messed up, that we would get terrible jpeg images from them. Similar to the old "garbage in, garbage out" principle.

The important bottom line here (IMO):

My PNG files can be converted to *perfectly acceptible jpegs*, for a great visual display on the internet.

My images for gUiTaR_mIkE are "photographic" in nature, as shown in the image I posted.

Not really. There aren't that many colors as it's mostly monochromatic.

The image I uploaded is maybe not the best, because with all the intense "competing" gradients, it just *looks* somewhat monochromatic (at true size) -- but, really, it's not even close to being monochromatic, as you can easily see if you enlarge the jpeg to the maximum size in PS. I used the linear gradient tool in a lot of Mike's signatures, and there are many colors in such "smooth" fades. Please correct me if you disagree with my statements here. Thanks.

Also, CoffeeFiend, please recall that I said that in most of my signatures for gUiTaR_mIkE, I incorporate actual photographs -- guitars, amps, and more.

since the images will be very small (i.e., 50KB).

That's still pretty large for such a small image. Some of us are still on slow links. Multiplying the size of every avatars and such by 4 on each webpage = page loads darn slow. 50KB at dialup speeds is something like 10+ seconds worth of wait.

The signature image is 380x100 pixels (what Mike wanted), the largest size allowed by MSFN, as the "Rules" show. The Rules also say that the maximum file size for a signature is 100kB, so my 50kB image is way under this value. If what you say is such a concern for MSFN, why haven't they modified the Rule on the maximum file size ? I sure hope this question doesn't sound argumentative, for I certainly didn't intend it to be.

The bottom line is: use whatever gives the smallest file sizes while having great quality. For stuff that isn't photos that's usually PNGs, otherwise it's JPEGs.

A great point, CoffeeFiend.

Anyone saving my "photographic/art" images to the jpeg format -- for uploading to the internet -- can decide for themselves what file size (i.e., "quality setting") works best.

Again, CoffeeFiend, thanks for your input. You would not believe how much I appreciate it.

Larry

Edited by larryb123456
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@Larry

Use .jpg for me and be done with it, this thread is turning into Mike's avatar, please someone else get an avatar or sig :blink:

See if this snippet from a 1999 O'Reilly book, PNG: The Definitive Guide helps with PS 5 and .png.

Edited by gUiTaR_mIkE
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Neither of those PNGs are truely PNGs anymore, except perhaps if they had any alpha transparency in them. These are already flattened and not longer maintain their vector properties! I've encountered this before trying to export items from Photoshop in order to work on them in Fireworks, I found the PNG format is not preferrable. Photoshop makes them basically act like JPGs, which is why the zooming makes them appear to be JPGs. Also the color difference isn't a fault of the browser, as Fireworks shows them in that color as well.

IMO, PNGs should only be used when you need a high resolution image that contains transparencies. For this, GIFs are not a good use, use PNG instead. Otherwise, the complexity differences are negligable in the PNG vs JPG debate.

AFAIK the browser does not do anything with the layer or vector metadata in a PNG file. I rarely will keep a PNG around unless I feel the need to work on something again in the future. In that case, I can re-open an old PNG and make changes easily, but only if the PNG wasn't exported or flattened. This is even possible between different versions and installs of Fireworks. However for some reason Fireworks isn't a commonly used program so you'd be hard pressed finding any PNGs online that were natively saved with it.

Example, PNG created by a different Fireworks on a different computer, opened on this PC (after it wants me to replace fonts) shows layers and vector properties still intact:

PNG_old_xfer.jpg

And I made a PNG just for test with 5 layers. Two are shapes and three are word blocks.

yarrr.png

If I download this "yarrr" (its on Photobucket) and open it in Fireworks, the layers and vector shapes are still usable.

Edited by Tripredacus
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