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JPEGMini promises smaller files - PetaPixel shows Photoshop quality quirk

By dpreview staff on Aug 29, 2011 at 23:21 GMT

Israeli technology company ICVT has developed an method to optimize JPEG compression. The company's JPEGMini system analyses each image to assess the maximum compression that can be applied to an image without loss of perceptible quality. The company says you can expect a 50-80% reduction in filesize over a JPEG that hasn't been intelligently optimized. At present the system can only be used via the company's online service. Meanwhile, the news has prompted blog PetaPixel to reiterate the little-known quirk of Photoshop's JPEG quality slider that means your images may be better saved at quality 6 than 7. (via PetaPixel)

Click here to find out more about JPEGMini

Photoshop quality/size confusion:

In response to an interview with ICVT on Megapixel.co.il, PetaPixel's Michael Zhang looked into Photoshop's JPEG specs. He discovered that Photoshop's JPEG 'quality' slider isn't as linear as you might think. It's a piece of information that resurfaces from time-to-time, but one we've never covered before so we thought we should explain:

Up to quality level 6, the software conducts chroma subsampling, while at 7 and above, it does not. However, because the full chroma data is so much larger than the sub-sampled version, the chroma and luminance information are then more compressed to stop there being a huge leap in file size as you step from level 6 to 7. As a result it makes more sense to think of the slider as controling file-size, not quality, and to avoid saving at JPEG quality level 7.

Although it's labelled differently, Lightroom appears to use the same 0-12 quality scale as Photoshop, just re-mapped as percentages. As such, it's worth avoiding saving JPEGs at 54-61% in Lightroom.

Photoshop's 'Save for Web' dialogue doesn't behave in quite the same way. Chroma sub-sampling occurs at up to 50% 'quality.' However, unlike normal Photoshop saving, there is a big file-size jump when you move from 50% to 51% because extra compression isn't being performed to maintain a linear file size relationship.

Comments

Total comments: 67
Timbobel
By Timbobel (Jun 29, 2012)

I objectively benchmarked the results. I found out you are losing 10% of your sampling efficiency (sharpness). Therefore I strongly recommend never to throw away your master files. You might as well just resize your photos. Objective benchmark here: http://www.timzaman.com/?p=2333&lang=en

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

Gimp or Photoshop... I have no inclination to working with either of them just for the sake of enjoying my pictures, thus I share the picture viewing experience of the average joe who just shares his new pics with friends and family.

True, TBs today become cheaper by the minute but at the same time Megapixels bloat by the minute just as well! So in the end if can assure the saving of numerous Gigabytes using this technology without the premium of unnecessary space or perceivable quality loss I would gladly opt for JPEGmini.

1 upvote
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

I'm impressed by the results. Very impressed indeed.
It manages to slim down my pictures, significantly I should add, but without any significance noise additions or scarring. If anything on a 100% 1:1 inspection it seems quite like a miniscule sharpening effect that does away with artifacts. That is quite an extraordinary fit considering the maturity of JPEG.
The fact that they've managed to achieve such results without opting for a new file format such as the JPEG2000or the other uncommon, narrow-spreaded systems- is a clear advantage, and as an owner of many Gigabytes of pictures (just your normal P&S guy, non even a hobbyist) I'm truly expectant to slimming down my entire collection using this breakthrough, without cornering myself with a less standardized file format.

1 upvote
Kjartan Haugen
By Kjartan Haugen (Aug 31, 2011)

This is great! Would love it to be implemented in PS. Speed vs size is very important

1 upvote
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (Aug 31, 2011)

10 or 15 years ago this would be hot. But with 8 meg+ broadband, gigs upon gigs of cheap storage THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME. Too late lads, way too late.

2 upvotes
sherwoodpete
By sherwoodpete (Aug 31, 2011)

I continue to be amazed by all the enthusiasm here. Has no-one ever tried saving a JPEG with different compression settings before now?

I've just re-tested this and find only that the results are not as good for any given file size as the JPEG output from ether GIMP or Paint Shop Pro.

Yes, it's possible to create a smaller file which looks very similar- that's what JPEG was designed to do. But is this particular implementation somehow better than what we already have on out desktops? My answer is no.

1 upvote
npires
By npires (Aug 31, 2011)

Just tried this out. It indeed does work. Pretty impressive. Regardless if some say it's been done before. I can notice a very slight difference but it's very very minor that you'd be hard pressed to see it. Difference is just very fine noise grain. Now if this was available as a plugin for Photoshop that'd be impressive.

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Aug 31, 2011)

JPG2000 is already part of Photoshop and free and available and supported by many other programs. Oh and it is an ISO standard.

Give it a try and you'd be surprised how much better is compresses. Why not use something that is already there and supported?

0 upvotes
npires
By npires (Aug 31, 2011)

Does it actually achieve the same or better results though?

0 upvotes
Jefftan
By Jefftan (Aug 31, 2011)

I mention again that it works
The biggest advantage is if after a trip I have 5000 photos and 20G ,I wouldn't have time to back up on 5 DVD

Now each JPEG become less than 1 MB and I can fit almost 5000 pics on 1 DVD

I won't worry about hard drive failure any more

I would happily paid $50 if it is available as a program

0 upvotes
KEG
By KEG (Aug 31, 2011)

DVD backup!? SSD is cheaper in the long run.

0 upvotes
Pasha001
By Pasha001 (Aug 31, 2011)

Well, 3.5" USB HDDs cost the same as DVDs and 2.5" USB HDDs are twice more expensive per gigabyte. But if you don't have time indeed the price should not really matter. And mirroring is needed with DVDs just as with HDDs because DVDs rot. I have personally lost a lot of certain TDK discs because of rotting. So there seems to be no real need to use DVDs today.

0 upvotes
John King
By John King (Aug 31, 2011)

Gidday Folks

Who uses JPEGs anyway? Just kidding, each to their own.

However I shoot RAW + JPEG and only ever use the JPEGs for end users other than myself - web, email, people who want copies, etc. Otherwise, I only ever do editing with RAW into PSD 16 bit files. These are stored as edited. If for printing at A2 size, the file may be up to 200+ MB. I really don't care! If I need to, I will archive these files onto their own DVDR and the whole lot onto "small" HDDs for backup. I never convert these files to JPEGs for any purpose other than third party distribution.

I don't like throwing data away ... ;).

I already backup my LF/SHQ JPEGs to a "small" 160 GB HDD, and thence as a copy to my laptop HDD. The main backup is for all image files to a number of external 1 TB HDDs, and to DVDRs.

My main image HDD is an internal 2 TB Seagate that cost about Oz $100 ...

regards, john

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

I guess you'd also side with the redundancy of the formats MP3, MP4, XVID, DIVX, ZIP and any other compression method and we'd just stack up those HDs...

0 upvotes
BPJosh
By BPJosh (Aug 31, 2011)

As cheap as TB's are these days it doesn't matter anymore.

2 upvotes
BPJosh
By BPJosh (Aug 31, 2011)

Also who saves at quality 6 or 7???? Jeez!

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

I guess it's just as a viable and economic solution for you as it is for millions of users such as, let's say millions of Egyptians or Chinese or Russians, right? Same prices, same availability everywhere, same economic prosperity.

I guess you'd also side with the redundancy of the formats MP3, MP4, XVID, DIVX, ZIP and any other compression method and we'd just stack up those HDs...

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Aug 30, 2011)

Haha! So these guys are catching up on what the JPG2000 standard implemented 10 years ago and try to sell it as a new technology?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPEG_2000

0 upvotes
michaelrz
By michaelrz (Aug 31, 2011)

"While there is a MODEST increase in compression performance of JPEG 2000 compared to JPEG, the main advantage offered by JPEG 2000 is the significant flexibility of the codestream".
(from the wikipedia entry for JPG2000)

So that's a substantially different technology.

All the images I've tested, regardless of their size, were compressed by 80% on average, with a very slight loss of detail. That's very impressive.

These guys are much more clever and innovative than some people assume.

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Aug 31, 2011)

@michaelrz

Did you ever take the time to test JPG2000 as well? Or do you just copy/paste a small bit from an article that supports your point?

Because if you ever give JPG2000 a try, which is an ISO standard for more than 10 years now, you'd be surprised how much better it is over the old JPG standard.

0 upvotes
Trensamiro
By Trensamiro (Aug 30, 2011)

No fake for sure.

I've tried a number of pics, all of them suitably large and with lots of fine detail and despite getting reduced 4x-5x to 20-25% of their original file size I can't see any difference at 100% real-pixel level, even when quickly switching back and forth between the original JPG and the reduced one to try and notice any pixel changes.

When subtracting the one from the other, the resulting file is pitch-black and only a full equalization succeeds in showing a fine pointillist-like pattern of differences, none of them visible until subtracted and equalized.

Amazing technology indeed, lots of uses for it.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Aug 30, 2011)

This is all very interesting but I have to hand to to Adobe for taking something that should be (for the user, at least) simple, predictable and easy to understand and making it complex, unpredicatble and with different scales depening one whether you use the jpg dialog, save for web or Lightroom. You can't even count on a "7" to be better than a "6". Nicely done!

1 upvote
Eric Calabros
By Eric Calabros (Aug 30, 2011)

I use the Golden Number%51 since 3-4 years ago, without any research :-)

0 upvotes
Aram
By Aram (Aug 30, 2011)

I tried their service... well, there is some loss of details.
But overall I'm impressed

0 upvotes
ArmandN
By ArmandN (Aug 30, 2011)

I actually tested it and it's NOT snake oil. I uploaded a photo (I chose one with a grain effect). It reduced it in half. I downloaded it and overlaid in PS using Difference mode. The differences were very small, almost invisible, but there were differences.

So yeah, the idea itself is not new, but the product itself is real.

0 upvotes
Jefftan
By Jefftan (Aug 30, 2011)

no it is no fake
it works

only 18% of original size but indistinguishable 100% crop

After compression I can back up lots of picture in DVD, now all in hard drive and worry about hard drive failure

I would buy the program if it is available

amazing technology.

0 upvotes
ManuH
By ManuH (Aug 30, 2011)

JPEG size optimization was done years ago by Pegasus imaging if I recall well. Why is it that a big news?

Anyway it's of no interest for digital cameras. What we need is a 16-bits JPEG format. Or any other better format.

The Photoshop JPEG engine explanation is good info though.

0 upvotes
Marc Lorenz
By Marc Lorenz (Aug 30, 2011)

Strange to read about this here, because this a clearly snake oil technology. If you look at the background of the "company", everything looks like a huge bubble of air. The comparison images on the website are faked. (same size, same image)
There were big discussions on various pro graphic boards about this some time ago.

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

It actually worked for me

0 upvotes
Pasha001
By Pasha001 (Aug 30, 2011)

The idea is very old. I recall trying a program called AFAIR "JPEG optimizer" several years ago and it was indeed working well. There was even manual optimization when you could decide where in the image to compress more. But today when a 64GB USB flash drive costs $80 it just does not seem that useful.

0 upvotes
Felix E Klee
By Felix E Klee (Aug 30, 2011)

It's useful for images on web-pages. Small file size and thus quick load speed is super important here, if you want to lower bounce rates.

0 upvotes
Pasha001
By Pasha001 (Aug 30, 2011)

Oh, yes. Actually, that "JPEG Optimizer" was recommended to me exactly for that purpose.

0 upvotes
iaredatsun
By iaredatsun (Aug 30, 2011)

Ten years ago this kind of thing mattered on the web and for storage. Broadband speeds, 1TB disks and 32Gb SD cards make this advance redundant for most people. Just use level 12 jpg.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Aug 30, 2011)

That's not necessarily true. Level 11 and 12 JPEG produce a very tiny improvement over 10, but the file size goes up enormously. Multiply that by many images and you are wasting disk space. A 1TB disk is not infinite, it's just 1TB.

As for bandwidth, your statement only applies to those who have fast broadband. It does not apply to those downloading at many wifi hotspots where the bandwidth is throttled to just 1 or 2 megabits per second (I've observed this at Starbucks, Panera Bread, etc). It does not apply to the fastest-growing area of the Internet: Mobile devices on cellular data, where speed is still limited.

If you want to waste your time and disk space, and annoy your clients, use JPEG 11 and 12. If you are trying to archive original files, you shouldn't even be using JPEG.

0 upvotes
CNY_AP
By CNY_AP (Aug 30, 2011)

I've noticed sometimes the file size goes DOWN when I increase the PS quality slider..not sure if that really means the quality has gone down though (a smaller file in some odd cases could be closer to the uncompressed file).

0 upvotes
CNY_AP
By CNY_AP (Aug 30, 2011)

I've noticed sometimes the file size goes DOWN when I increase the PS quality slider..not sure if that really means the quality has gone down though (a smaller file in some odd cases could be closer to the uncompressed file).

0 upvotes
Andrew Wiggin
By Andrew Wiggin (Sep 8, 2011)

In my case alone I could easily save 10 Gigabytes of storage space. Multiply that by number of global camera users, than multiply again for the usage of net traffic on each picture. We're talking Teraflops now. This is beyond what you are referring too.

Keep in mind that it's not as a viable and economic solution for you as it is for millions of users such as, let's say millions of Egyptians or Chinese or Russians. Not the Same prices, availability,and economic prosperity or trade policies.

0 upvotes
angel-xy
By angel-xy (Aug 30, 2011)

The greater the compression, the smaller the file size, the greater the data loss and increase in pixel size and decrease in resolution. This JPEGmini sounds like more amateurish junk. Probably OK for compressing for Email or sending over wireless devices. I would never use it for compressing good quality archived or stored images. I prefer Photoshop level 10, 11, 12. Less than that creates colour distortion and loss of detail and resolution. TIFF format compresses without image loss, for good quality images which need storing as well, it compresses with layers.

0 upvotes
Martin Daniel Kirk
By Martin Daniel Kirk (Aug 30, 2011)

TIFF is a container that normaly stores raw bitmaps, the compression technique is LZW which is a simple run-length/dictionary (lossless) compression. nothing fancy here

JPEG2000 and highquality JPEG's are also lossless in the sense that noone will notice if anything is missing :)

0 upvotes
sherwoodpete
By sherwoodpete (Aug 30, 2011)

JPEG2000 has a true lossless compression option. But lack of support in web browsers and to a lesser extent lack of support by camera makers has effectively derailed it.

0 upvotes
DonAndre
By DonAndre (Aug 30, 2011)

Good hint and finally I know why I never save higher than 10.

0 upvotes
Leo "Zoom"
By Leo "Zoom" (Aug 30, 2011)

Who cares about IQ differences at 5-7? It is the size, which is used for low quality previews only...

1 upvote
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Aug 30, 2011)

I use quality under 75 (in LR) and under 8 in Photoshop only when I send some resized and compressed photos per email. For normal storage it is 10-11 in PS and 80 in LR.

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Aug 30, 2011)

This technology is probably more important for the things like facebook, flikr, picasa etc. Because some of them just destroy photos by compression.

0 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (Aug 30, 2011)

I actually don't understand why JPEG-XR never made it with broad public acception. It offers so much more than JPEG, and competes well with JPEG2000.

I know JPEG-XR was designed & proposed by Microsoft, which said it would be royalty-free. So if only Adobe would have embraced it, it would have been much better for us all.

0 upvotes
Martin Daniel Kirk
By Martin Daniel Kirk (Aug 30, 2011)

JPEG2000 suffers from royalty rights, as you say... JPEG-XR suffers from the widespread use of JPEG along with their codecs and algorithms ... today you have finished SOC-designs on shelfs ready to be put into cameras.

the same story goes for MP3's

0 upvotes
sherwoodpete
By sherwoodpete (Aug 30, 2011)

I've not read the article. But I have tried out the Jpegmini service with various images. The very first image I tried grew fractionally larger.
Others showed results broadly similar to the various photo-editors I tried (a random selection).

Overall I've come away with the feeling that there's nothing useful here. In terms of colour fidelity or image detail, I can achieve similar (or possibly better) results with existing tools.

0 upvotes
blinsc
By blinsc (Aug 30, 2011)

I'm not sure the service is intended for mass usage. I think it's more or less a demonstration vehicle to get the word out and people on board. If they had intended this for everyone to use, they would have focused on a plug-in or standalone application (to integrate into a workflow) from the beginning and/or they would have made it work with non-lossy formats (eg, TIFF).

What I find odd is while this new article is about JPEGMini, the primary focus seems to be the Photoshop quirk. And that seems to conflict since the JPEGMini site only accepts other JPEGs at the moment. Wouldn't you want to start with the best quality JPEG, which is neither 6 or 7...

0 upvotes
Eyleron
By Eyleron (Aug 31, 2011)

As a web company, I'm interested in optimized file size on images up to 1000px wide.

I did some tests, and the Mini file size was lower, but the quality was also always lower. That's not terribly interesting...the one achieves a smaller file and lower quality.

I then compared the Mini file size to a Photoshop save-for-web image of the same file size (ie where the quality setting was low enough to achieve the same file size). The Photoshop JPEG was still slightly higher quality (200% zoom) in that the mosquito noise was less pronounced.

So far Mini is a dud for me.

0 upvotes
gonzalu
By gonzalu (Aug 30, 2011)

What about 8,9,10,11 and 12 which I use regularly? I never use 6 or 7 unless E-mailing pictures :-)

0 upvotes
David Franklin
By David Franklin (Aug 30, 2011)

I'm a little confused. I get that it sounds like, in certain circumstances where color fidelity matters, that these facts suggest saving Jpegs at "6" rather than "7" on Photoshop's compressdion slider. But, does that mean that color is more true at 6 than 8? How about 10 or 12? Is the color still better at 6? It doesn't sound reasonable, but I'd like to know from someone who has a greater understanding of this issue than I do. What about it? What compression numbers on the slider yield significantly more accurate color, as well as, of course, better results regarding the other methods of evaluation of compression results, such as detail retention and artifacts?

0 upvotes
Gary Dean Mercer Clark
By Gary Dean Mercer Clark (Aug 30, 2011)

Great Idea. Read the user agreement on their website. When you sign up for this free service you give the service permission to use your photos for promotional purposes , marketing etc. Just read the fine print and understand what rights you are waving by using the service.

3 upvotes
brn
By brn (Aug 30, 2011)

I'm confused. Is this an article about JPEGMini or Photoshop compression methodolgy?

0 upvotes
1971_M5
By 1971_M5 (Aug 30, 2011)

Take any JPEG, open it with "Paint" (the simple program the comes bundled with Windows) and simply do a FILE-->SAVE. Much smaller file size and minimal IQ loss.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Aug 30, 2011)

Considering the current low price of memory cards and storage space.... is more compression (or more efficient compression) really necessary?

Fifteen years ago, I would say "definitely.
Today... I'm not so sure.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Aug 30, 2011)

Think gadgets like phones. Websites like facebook and flickr. 24Mp Cameras :)

Also, our cameras have limited buffers and memory cards don't ever seem to be fast. I think a more efficient compression is very welcome.

There are always downsides, that is why we have RAW.

0 upvotes
gonzalu
By gonzalu (Aug 30, 2011)

E-mail over a 3G connection or a metered account, every bit counts :-)

0 upvotes
jfriedl
By jfriedl (Aug 30, 2011)

The link with the text "Lightroom actually uses the same 0-12 quality scale as Photoshop" does not say that Lightroom uses the same 0-12 quality scale as Photoshop. It says the author suspects it, but has not tested it. (I am that author.)

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Aug 30, 2011)

Thanks for the clarification, I have edited the story to reflect the nuance.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Aug 30, 2011)

Sorry, it wasn't my intention to suggest your article /proved/ the statement, just that it appears to support it. It's been amended.

0 upvotes
jfriedl
By jfriedl (Aug 30, 2011)

Thanks for the quick update.

0 upvotes
Jacques Gilbert
By Jacques Gilbert (Aug 30, 2011)

I don't think it would work very well to take a jpeg optimized with jpegmini, process it, then try to optimize it again. Optimization in the second compression would be different than the first, but the info lost in the first cannot be recreated. So this format should only be used as the last step of PP before exporting. This is true of all jpeg conversions, but probably even more important with such an optimized compression.

0 upvotes
Alex Stan
By Alex Stan (Aug 30, 2011)

Awkwardly enough the same compression can be applied to Nikon JEPGs (and other JPEGs for that matter) with Nikon's ViewNX using the High Quality option, being second to the highest option, Very High Quality. Final image quality looks the same when compared pixel to pixel and in comparing the overall image, the only gain by using JPEGmini is probably +/- 50 to 100 Kb in size and having the images processed by a server rather than your computer, otherwise, there really don't seem to be other advantages, i could be wrong though depending on needs.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Aug 30, 2011)

At this time they have not sold there "codac" to any software or hardware vendors. There goal, im sure, is to sell it to websites like facebook, flickr and others. Also to software and hardware vendors. Cel phones, I imagine, would be a target market since upload speed is very limited. I tried this with many of my photos and it works very well. But in the end, I'm not going to start converting all my photos unless I want to share them with others.

0 upvotes
Alex Stan
By Alex Stan (Aug 30, 2011)

I agree, even so, Facebook for example already uses a compression algorithm similar to the setting I mentioned in ViewNX, thus JPEGMini, quality is the same for the end JPEG, speaking of, not sure about post-processing;

I use the said setting for compressing my JPEGs to web-size for general usage on my website and on the web, so i compared to see if it brings any advantages quality/size wise, though it was the same, minor differences in detail areas, probably because of different algorithms. Should we get technical background info. on what makes it better than the average JPEG compression, maybe we could literally see what's what, until then, though a harsh conclusion i'll agree, it seems to be just another JPEG compression, with obvious cloud advantages only, limited for now.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Aug 29, 2011)

We were just talking about this in the forums:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1006&message=39200001

jpegmini seems to work very well on all the samples we tried it on. I hope that camera makers and software starts using the format.

Only downside I can think of it that the file might not behave the same in PP with all the "lost" data.

1 upvote
futile32
By futile32 (Aug 30, 2011)

I'd like it as an option for those of us that shoot RAW+JPEG... I archive all my OOC JPEGs just in case (I don't need em for PP ever).

0 upvotes
Total comments: 67