Monday, 2 March 2015

General: How to upload blog photos without quality loss

My regular readers who check my blog every day might have been confused about test posts that I've been posting, deleting and posting again. There was a reason for my madness, and I'll try to explain it now.

Recently I've noticed that pictures I have been using for my blog posts have looked dirty in the blog. The best example is the following picture:

After uploading it to my blog it looked like this:

You can see what I mean. The white background has become grey. But that's not all. The word "test" itself has been changed. This can easily be checked with Adobe Photoshop or any other suitable graphics tool. In the first picture the RGB value of the green text is <128, 255, 0> which is a typical light green. In the second picture it's been changed to <101, 227, 13>. The Red and Green values have been turned down, and a Blue tone has been added. That's messy.

Luckily I was able to find an answer in an online forum. Photos uploaded to Google's "blogspot" blogs are uploaded via the Picasa web albums. When uploading to Picasa an auto-enhance feature is used. This uses complex algorithms to make photographs look more professional by increasing the visibility of low-contrast differences, eliminating dirt on the picture, and even removing the red eyes in flash photography. While this might, and I say "might" very cautiously, improve the quality of photographs taken with a cheap camera, it ruins the test image that I published above. Almost all the photographs I use in this blog are taken from official film web sites or are film screenshots that I've ripped myself, so they're already exactly as I want them. My advice to my fellow bloggers is that you turn off the auto-enhance feature unless you know exactly what you're doing. I shall certainly never use it again.

To turn off auto-enhance:

  • Go to the Google Plus settings page:
  • Go to the "Photos and Videos" section (near the bottom)
  • Go to the "Auto Enhance" sub-section, and tick "Never"

On the settings page there's a comment that says it's easy to revert any photo that's been enhanced. After a series of tests I have to disagree. It's possible to remove the enhancement from photos in a Picasa web album, but once a photo has already been uploaded to a blog it can't be changed, except by uploading it again.

I have now re-uploaded all the dirty images from my posts of the last two months. Not all of the images looked bad, I'd estimate it was about 10% of them. I haven't bothered checking my older posts, but if I accidentally stumble on an obvious eyesore I'll put it right.

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