I make up simple images for my blog and wonder if I could do them a better way.

I currently resize the image down to 1200px wide (my default size for the blog) and then add mostly text layers (headings, legends, logo etc.).

Then I save it for web using about 50% (RIOT in paint.net).

Would I get better results working on the full sized image and re-sizing at the end? Thanks in anticipation...

  • If you are using WordPress for your blog then I would recommend uploading in full resolution. Eventually you would want to restyle and you blog might be able to handle larger images. As screens get larger/more HD then you will want higher resolution images. If your blog is responsive (auto resizing of elements to fit device display) then that would also mean you would want to post in the highest image resolution as it will automatically rescale the image to fit the screen. That is what I do as I run multiple responsive websites (technical end of things). Good luck! – Elliot Labs LLC Apr 12 '16 at 12:00
  • It's certainly difficult to know what size image to start with these days. Research on the net is extremely inconclusive (isn't it always?). Especially since everyone has such desperation for speed. It seems daft to upload images larger than needed but what initial size do we 'adopt'? – handyman Apr 13 '16 at 9:03
  • I try to use the largest resolution possible, the larger the more future proofed that it is. As time passes, screens get larger, network speeds get faster and compression technologies get more efficient. After it is uploaded you could put it on a CDN or you could compress it and make it transfer faster because of a smaller size. If it is a blog, then it should have long form content and nice images might be a good sidekick for the content itself. – Elliot Labs LLC Apr 13 '16 at 13:08

If you know the final output size—work at that size.

If there's a possibility you will be using the image at different sizes then yes, work at a larger size, it will give you more flexibility, as Alex Fregon says. But if the image is going to be used at one specific size, work at that size.

If you work at a larger scale then shrink the image after exporting, you're resampling the text and logo and anything else you've added to the image—unnecessarily. You're likely to get artefacts or unwanted [anti-]aliasing.

An example:

This Image was created at the correct size:

image created at actual size

This Image was created at a larger size then reduced in size later:

resized image

Notice the halo around the text and anti-aliasing. If we compare the images it is a lot more noticeable:

comparison of both images

Another reason to work at your final size is avoiding unrealistic expectations. You're working at 3x your final output size, you finish your edits, export at a different size and wonder why your image doesn't look as good as it did. You then spend just as long trying to get you final image looking as sharp as it did 3 times bigger. You're just adding an unnecessary step.

  • It does seem that text is the exception to the rule. Ordinarily I can see that working large and resizing down for each application makes sense. But also it's clear that messing about with text afterwards also causes distortion. On the plus side, it does look as if I am working with my images in a fair way already. – handyman Apr 13 '16 at 9:08
  • 1
    Exactly that, if you have to do any resizing at all, working large and resizing down is the way to go. But its best to avoid resizing at all if possible (i.e just resizing an image is much better than resizing an image +text+logo/graphics) – Cai Apr 13 '16 at 9:16

It probably depends on the type of image - can you provide an example?

As a general rule, you're best off working at the highest resolution possible, as this gives you the most versatility when it comes to exporting. Say, for some reason you need to export your image larger than 1200px wide, scaling it up may cause your background image to become pixelated.

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