Graphics formats and storage concerns (Was: Re: Screen Capture)

Subject: Graphics formats and storage concerns (Was: Re: Screen Capture)
From: Jim Grey <jimgrey -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 13:11:00 EST

John Feld <johnfeld -at- ARTNET -dot- NET> recommends:
>I recomend TIF always, and of course GIF/JPEG for web uses.

This got me thinking. I tend to choose a graphic format mostly by what my
platform supports. Then I balance image quality with disk storage. This is
not always easy.

--When I wrote paper manuals, our manuals became increasingly
graphics-heavy as the products evolved from text-only to GUI.
Our manuals did not increase significantly in length, but they
devoured increasingly large amounts of disk. We used UNIX's
XWD format by default -- it was the only format we could
figure out how to generate on our X/Mosaic/AIX system. XWD
screen captures, even of small windows, took up ridiculous
amounts of space. Compressing the manuals helped, of
course -- but even when compressed, a 100-page manual with
XWD screen shots was larger than an uncompressed 100-page
manual with the old Mac PICT screen shots of character screens.

--When I edited computer books, I submitted final manuscript
and graphics to Production on floppy disks. Production
accepted PICT, PCX, TIF, and BMP. I always converted to PCX
because it created the most compact files -- and the smallest
number of floppies per project. (It's a major pain to make
the darned floppies; you want to spend as little time at it
as possible. Or shove the job off on an assistant! :->)

--My Internet service provider includes Web page space as part
of its basic service, with a 10MB storage limit. I'm working
with another guy to create an Indiana radio and TV dial site,
a history of Indiana broadcasting by station. We want to
include station logos when we can, but neither of us wants
to pay the high rates for storage beyond 10MB. I'm using
GIF; it gives me the files even more compact than JPG at
greatest compression (supported by LView Pro, my graphics
massager of choice).

--I'm writing online help for Windows at this company.
Confoundingly, the Help engine seems to support only BMP
graphics, which aren't exactly compact. We compile with
compression, which makes our HLP file compact -- but the
source directories still get huge. I wish the help
compiler supported PCX.

Some thoughts.

jim grey |"Ain't nothin' better in the world, you know
jimgrey -at- iquest -dot- net|Than lyin' in the sun, listenin' to the radio!"

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