I want to create a theme for android phones. I guess the best way to go is to create a file that is as light as possible.

Now I want to create the files in photoshop, they have to be transparent PNG's. Now I see that there are a lot of different settings I can use, for example the image mode: lab, rbg, etc. There are also different bits, 8 bit, 16 bit etc.

Now what settings can I use to create good sharp png's but with a minimal size.

Maybe someone could share some tips on exporting. I now export for web & devices, but maybe there is another option.

Maybe there is also better software than photoshop to do this.

3 Answers 3


All pngs are 'good' and 'sharp' as they are losslessly compressed, unlike jpgs. It's just a matter of experimenting with settings that keep an amount of colour that you're happy with while keeping file sizes as low as possible.

In Photoshop, the 'Save for web' exporter allows you to view 3 different optimised versions of the output as well as the original. Use these to compare the outputs and find one that's acceptable for you.

  • Yes I experimented, but I can never get the filesize the same as the original png on the phone. Aug 4, 2011 at 16:18
  • @saif Can we have a look at the original png file ;-) Aug 4, 2011 at 16:24
  • Sorry I did not post the originals, but there were a lot of different once. The post of Alan helped me a lot in getting a good combination, that's why I accepted the answer. Aug 6, 2011 at 23:56

The only color space to use for image prep for mobile devices is RGB. (You can use others temporarily for retouching purposes, but your final output will always be RGB, so best work in that space all the time.)

sRGB is the safest, since you don't know the capabilities of specific devices at design-time.

Save for Web is your best option inside Photoshop. 8-bit will result in significantly smaller file sizes than 24-bit, and the visible difference is often negligible, especially for small screens.

See this question on superuser for a comparison of several PNG compression utilities.


Photoshop's "Save For Web" isn't the best tool indeed. It compresses PNGs poorly and doesn't fully support alpha channel in 8-bit PNGs.

Instead use ImageAlpha+ImageOptim on Mac or TinyPNG+PNGGauntlet on Windows.

Here's a real-world test showing that PNGs with alpha channel can be reduced to less than quarter of Photoshop's size.

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