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Thoughts about image sizes...

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Grammar nazi
(and proud of it)

Joined: 05 May 2004
Posts: 13677
Location: Moo

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:32 pm    Post subject: Thoughts about image sizes... Reply with quote

Today I found over 40 submissions sitting in our approval queue; a clear majority of them -- 75%, I think -- were due to excessive image size.

Before proceeding, I will admit that I have always been a bit lax about image sizes -- we have no official 'rule' or size limit, just a few guidelines, and if the queue has been backed up for a few days I tend to have a moment of silent panic and start ignoring large image sizes in a rush to get everything cleared out. But two things are fact:

1 - If the submission is larger than a certain threshold (roughly 3 megapixels), it gets pulled aside and held for screening by site staff.
2 - Some of our artists just have no conception of what is a good-sized image to upload.

The first part is easy; there's literally a line in the internal submission script that says "if the submission's width or height is larger than [whatever], set its status to [queued] instead of [visible].

It's the second part that is a lot trickier to define. What is a "good" size for an image these days, anyway? Well, I'm going to present a few things to think about -- these thoughts are not 'finished', per se, but I have to write them down now while they are on my mind:

1 - My general view is that you should be able to view the entire image at 100% zoom level on your monitor.

For starters, I hate resolution creep. Back when I was in highschool, 640x480 was considered the standard resolution. Then it became 800x600. Then 1024x768. Now you have 720p, 1080p, and a "race to 4K Ultra HD", I've never liked the resolution wars. I currently use a laptop that is 1536x768 (like 1024x768 but widescreen) and things look fine.

But why does this matter? --Especially when how our site has automatic resizing and thumbnail generating functions for large images. For one, if you submitted a smaller image instead, we wouldn't have to run these functions on your submission in the first place. A viewer would be able to see it at its originally-submitted size right away.

One of the immediate knee-jerk reactions to this is "but if I resize it smaller, it will lose detail/quality!" And my personal knee-jerk reaction to hearing it is blunt: "Then that piece never had any detail/quality to lose." And I'd be utterly serious in saying that, unfortunately. I don't normally say anything that blunt, but judging by what actually gets queued for large image size (an admittedly biased sample), it's clear even from the thumbnails that these pieces just don't have any details worthy of high resolution image sizes.

2 - You should never submit the definitively 'original' version of anything to the Internet.

Regardless of what resolution you scanned a traditional piece in, or what resolution/zoom level you used to draw the piece with, don't share that version with the Internet. Keep it offline, safe and archived on your computer -- that copy is YOURS and YOURS alone.

This can be important in a few cases:
- If you should ever be involved in an ownership dispute, you should be able to prove that you have the highest-resolution (and oldest) version of it in existence.
- If you ever decide to do commissioned (paid) art, you probably shouldn't be giving your paying customers the same version you are letting everyone else view (and stick on their desktop as a wallpaper) for free; they deserve a better version.

I know I have more to say, but at the moment I've run out of steam to include it. I'll add it later; in the meantime, what do you think?
Strata here: Nanowrimo - FAC - dA - FA
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