Look at these two images:

original-legalizeblackmailsm-320x180 optimized-legalizeblackmailsm-320x180

They look identical, right?  Yet one of them is just 1/7th the size of the other – 109 KBs for the PNG and 15 KBs for the JPG.

Why does this matter?  The Liberty.me homepage is over 2 megabytes in size, and most of that is images:

yslow-libertyme-homepage-statistics

While the development team is working hard to make our back-end perform faster, our speed is still limited by the size of the images uploaded.   We can make it faster by using a few simple tools.

We suggest you run them on every image you upload to any site – Facebook, Liberty.me, Flickr, etc.  I’ve run them on my own photo gallery and saved tens of gigabytes just by dragging and dropping images into these optimization tools.  By default, they are lossless, which means you can safely run them without any loss in image quality.

Windows & Mac:

JPEGmini (Free basic package; JPG only) Uses knowledge of human visual perception to shrink JPEG images up to 5X without visible quality loss.    I gained 16GB by running it on my photo albums.  There is a free online version too.  Use it before the tools below. Desktop app is free for 20 images per day, $20 for unlimited photos.

Mac Only:

ImageOptim (Free; JPG, PNG, and GIF) Optimizes JPEG, PNG, and GIF images auto-magically. ImageOptim Screenshot

Windows Only:

The JPEG Reducer (Free; JPG only)

Run this tool in bulk on all your JPEG images to save ~10% of the file size. This is a GUI front end for jpegtran, which optimizes JPEG images by removing metadata and other non-display data from JPEG images. Because it is lossless, it is safe to run on all your images. It will ignore any files you add which are not JPEG images.

The JPEG reducer screenshot

PNG Gauntlet (Free; PNG, converts GIF and JPG)

This tool is a front end for PNGOUT which will losslessly reduce the size of PNG images. Warning: if you add GIF or JPEG images to it, it will create PNG versions of those images. Sometimes you want to do this, but if not, don’t add images to the queue.

PNG gauntlet screenshot RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool) (Free; JPG, PNG, and GIF) Though it has a batch mode, this is the best tool for optimizing single images, whether they are JPG, PNG, or GIF. I use RIOT to save every image I work on as well as to reduce the size of existing images that are too large. You can re-compress PNG and GIF images losslessly, but for JPG you want to save from the original file. RIOT is available as a standalone version as well as a plugin for several image editors such as the excellent IrfanView. RIOT - Radical Image Optimization Tool screenshot

Let me know if you have other tools or ideas for image optimization.

(Originally posted at AutoMagical.)

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