When creating images for games on mobile devices the smaller the image is the better. What are the general rules for creating images and making sure they still look good in 16 bit or smaller.

For example using gradients and 16 bit formats don't go together. What other considerations need to be made.

  • 2
    What do you mean by 16-bit formats? Do you mean 16-bit color? Because I don't see why you can't use gradients with 16-bit color. Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 5:05
  • Surely it's never the smaller the better, but a tradeoff between image size and quality after considering platform limitations, etc?
    – e100
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 11:14
  • Can you rephrase the question? It is not so clear for me the problem that you have :)
    – Littlemad
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 22:42
  • I rephrased the question to the context of mobile devices. This was the context I was thinking in.
    – Tone
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 0:14
  • 1
    When you say 16 bit, do you mean color depth, or physical size of image. If you mean physical size it is better to say 16 pixels instead, which indicates the size on screen. Bits refers to data size not physical size.
    – Aᵂᴱ
    Commented Jan 14, 2011 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


There are some some best practices for keeping images small. When using Adobe's suite of software there is an option to save for the web (photoshop, illustrator, fireworks). With this option you can really hone down on the exact colors and formats you will be exporting.

gif is usually better for images with fewer than 256 colors and 1/0 transparency (no %). jpg is better for images with lots of different colors, eg photos. png is best for % transparency and smoothly compressed gradients.

Since things change so drastically between each image it really comes down to experimenting. With the save for web feature you can limit everything about the export, including # of colors for gifs, quality for jpgs and transparency for pngs (among other things).

Best of luck!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.