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Image Optimzation

When I sold one of my former motorcycle sites, it had 15gb of user-contributed photos. It had been larger, but after changing a few dimension settings disk utilization was reduced after re-running them through ImageMagick.

I’m still a believer in processing images through ImageMagick, due to it’s separation from php and utilization of system resources. The resulting images do look better and has never crashed a server.

PhotoShop continues to be one of my favorite programs, and the reason I still use a Windows machine. However, I’m not a fan of Adobe’s monthly-subscription model for the software. The software is expensive, but the monthly pricing is just enough to be annoying.

My Rocket site has a fraction of the traffic, but grew to the same level of disk utilization due to user-contributed images. Average Bandwidth has increased, and everyone can afford a camera/device capable of high-resolution images.

  • OptiPNG – haven’t used it within an application, but had run several of my site layout images through it last year, resulting in 25% size reductions with no noticeable results.
  • jpegoptim – used this in both command-line and applications. I’ve over-compressed on a few tests, shown primarily on motorcycles with solid colors or female models. However, it has saved 40-75% on disk space utilization and dramatically cut CDN utilzation.
  • modpagespeed – an option that is real-time instead of permanent changes to images. Using several filters I was able to gain image size reduction, but couldn’t fully propogate the optimized images through the CDN. This wouldn’t be an issue on most blogs, but attached images within forum posts can’t always been seen without credentials. This caused problems with cookies that were either delayed or expired within user sessions.
  • Cloud Services – my new preference. Learned about a way to process Gif and PNG images that resulted in an average 75% disk utilization reduction, utilizing a proprietary service at Kraken.io

I processed over 20,000 images last weekend, primarily through jpegoptim and about 650 through Kraken.io. When my monthly subscription renews, all images through be processed through Kraken going forward. Below is my affiliate link to Kraken.io if you would like to consider it:

https://kraken.io/?ref=5df9d93a221b

The experience put a different spin on the use of ImageMagick versus GD, but even with Kraken’s fantastic features I’ll still focus on the stability of what works best.

The use of Photoshop, over GIMP, is also a new consideration. Because if the size of the output isn’t a significant consideration, because the results will be re-run through either open-source or a cloud service anyway, then maybe I’ll be able to give up that Windows7 computer sometime in the future after all.

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