Quick Tip:
Be Careful When Saving JPG Images

If you take digital photos, download images from royalty-free sites, or get photos from clients or friends, the most common format you’ll get them in is JPG.

The JPG format gives you a huge advantage when transferring images. The file size can be made small, because it uses a compression system that mashes the image data together. And you can specify how compressed the file will be.

Then, when you open the compressed image, it appears full-sized and ready to use.

But JPG compression carries a cost. The compression is “lossy” … meaning that every time you open a JPG image and save it again, you lose some data. Eventually, the image loses sharpness, contrast, and overall quality.

Open and save it enough … and you have an unusable image.

The solution is easy. The first time you open a JPG, convert it to a high-resolution TIFF or PNG master image. Both of these formats use “lossless” compression – and you can easily convert them to a high-quality JPG image using software like Photoshop.

And here’s a valuable JPG tip from GDS Member Joseph Browns:

“In Photoshop, Edit > Save for Web works magic on JPGs, making them a teeny fraction of the original size, without losing much quality.”

Thank you for the tip, Joseph. This is a great way to configure JPG images for the Web or for viewing on screen or in email. The file’s resolution is too low for print work, but that’s why you use a high-resolution version as a master

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Published: April 5, 2007

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