1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 9, 2015 6:25 PM by Herbert2001

    Why does the Fireworks save for web function give better results than in Photoshop?


      Having used the trial version of Fireworks, I have noticed that the save for web function gives greater compression and image quality than saving for web in Photoshop. Why is this?


      As Adobe are not continuing in developing Fireworks, does anyone know if will they will improve the save for web function in Photoshop to match the Fireworks version?


      Are there any third party companies who anyone can recommend who will process large volumes of images for web?



        • 1. Re: Why does the Fireworks save for web function give better results than in Photoshop?
          Herbert2001 Level 4

          One of my favourite topics ;-P


          First, the save for web function in Photoshop has not seen any real updates in a long time. In Fireworks PNG export allows for fully transparent optimized files with indexed 256 or less colours, which is impossible in the save for web function in Photohop. It is unsupported.


          This is one of the reasons why Fireworks does a much better job than Photoshop. Another reason is that Photoshop adds meta junk in its exported files, and this also increases the file size (and should be removed, because there are also a number of fields which include information about your setup).


          One other caveat is that Photoshop's save for web functions neither allows for a choice in chroma subsampling, and instead decides automatically below a certain quality threshold to degrade the colour sharpness quality. The user has no control over this. (Fireworks also limits the user this way.)


          One thing to be careful of: FW's jpg quality setting, and PS's quality settings are very different - a 50 in Photoshop is not the same 50 setting in Fireworks.


          For jpg optimization I generally use RIOT (free): http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/

          (When you install, be careful NOT to install the extra junkware!)


          Fireworks cannot change the chroma subsampling to 4:2:0, which does degrade the quality a bit compared to RIOT and Photoshop in my experience. Photoshop adds useless meta information, even if the user tells it not to do that. RIOT allows you to remove that information, saving 6k. RIOT also offers an automatic mode that optimizes existing jpg images without degrading the quality further, and often saves 10k or more, depending on the images.


          Interestingly enough, in my tests exported Fireworks jpg images are always reduced in file size by RIOT, due to FW's jpg export limitations, without any image degradation.


          In my tests FW's jpg quality versus file size turns out to be the worst of all three. RIOT generally wins, or is at least on par with Photoshop.


          As for PNG export, Photoshop's save for web function is quite abysmal. No 256 colour full transparency export is possible, while Fireworks does support this.


          Having said that, there is a free alternative that leaves both Photoshop AND Fireworks in the dust: Color Quantizer. http://x128.ho.ua/color-quantizer.html


          CQ is an amazing little tool: with it anyone can create PNG files with full transparency and reduced to ANY number of colours! It means that a 512 colour PNG with full transparency is now very easy to do. On top of that, for more difficult images a simple quality mask brush tool allows the user to control and retain even small colour details in a PNG, while reducing the file size to an absolute minimum.


          CQ is one of the best kept secrets of a Web Developer's toolkit. And it is free!


          Both RIOT and Color Quantizer have a built-in batch mode. Both are available for WIndows. Not for Mac. If you are on a Mac, try imageOptim. Not nearly as good as RIOT and CQ, but quite passable.



          PS to be fair, the newest versions of Photoshop do allow for export of 8bit PNGs with full transparency through the use of its Generator functionality. But again, it cannot compete with CQ. And as far as I am aware, Generator cannot be used in Photoshop's batch processing (which, btw, is very slow! For simpler daily image processing tasks I have to do in batches, I prefer IrfanView, which is lightning fast! IrfanView).