Shoot, click, save: JPEGmini Photoshop extension gives Adobe’s Save for Web its walking papers
posted Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 6:59 AM EST
Five years ago, an Israeli company called ICVT Ltd. launched JPEGmini, a product designed to allow greater compression of images without visually-perceptible loss in quality. Compared to its rivals in the image compression game, JPEGmini had one key advantage: It used the vanilla JPEG image standard without modification, allowing for more compact file sizes without the inconvenience of a new file format that wasn't recognized by most applications.
Spin the clock forwards to the present day and ICVT has rebranded itself as Beamr, but with the JPEG file format still utterly unchallenged, its cleverly-designed product remains just as useful as it was at launch. And now, its Pro version becomes even more so, thanks to the debut of a new Photoshop extension that neatly replaces Adobe's long-in-the-tooth Save for Web tool with a JPEGmini variant giving one-click access to the storage and bandwidth savings provided by the technology. Depending on your source image and how it was saved, the reduction in file size can be very significant. The company itself suggests that a 5x decrease in size is typical, and while we've found more modest results ourselves, for our money the big win here is in ease of use.
Photoshop's Save for Web is, frankly, a bit of a dinosaur these days. It endlessly nags about image dimensions at relatively low resolutions, and while it provides quite a bit of control over how your images are saved, it renders its preview image so slowly that it's nigh on impossible to make a meaningful before-and-after comparison to see how much quality loss, if any, your chosen settings will suffer. By contrast, the JPEGmini Pro Photoshop extension for Photoshop CC (2015) or higher really couldn't be much easier: Simply click the "Export with JPEGmini" button and you're done.
There are no settings to fiddle with, as all the adjustments are done for you. JPEGmini uses some clever insight into the human visual system to determine the point at which degradation would occur in the image, and then backs off the compression just slightly, resulting in a final file that's as small as possible without noticeable quality loss, each and every time. And with the ability to handle files at up 50-megapixel resolution in the Pro version, you needn't worry about image dimensions too much, either.
If there's one small downside, it's that you'll have to buy the Pro version of JPEGmini to get access to the Photoshop extension, just as was already the case for the equally-handy Lightroom plugin. Neither is offered to customers of the standard version, which is also said to render images up to eight times more slowly, and which has a 28-megapixel limitation. (That's still leaps and bounds ahead of Save for Web's paltry limit, however.)
JPEGmini Pro is ordinarily priced at US$150 or thereabouts, but for an (unstated) limited time, can be purchased for US$100. If you don't need the Photoshop and Lightroom integrations and won't be handling files above 28 megapixels, the standard version is a very affordable $20. Volume discounts and a server version are also available. More details can be found on the JPEGmini website.
(via SLR Lounge)