February 15th, 2013 by Ajay
Recently I started using PNGOUT, a command-line program that amazingly reduces the size of your PNG files without any loss of quality. It’s tantamount to sorcery, it works so well. As most of my comics are currently black & white, I export them as PNG files because, unlike GIFs, they can contain meta data for organization purposes. That is, if I remember to tag things as I create them.
In the screen caps below, this little tutorial shows you how I reduce my comics to almost HALF their original size. You can even download the original and the optimized one to compare on your own, if you like. This was on a greyscale image though. Don’t expect these kinds of results on a file that uses the full color spectrum. This isn’t a complete tutorial on all the features of PNGOUT as I don’t utilize them, but the final step I take before uploading my comics to their sites.
First step that happens is to save the comic as a png in the same folder as the PNGOUT program. I also save it with a ‘2’ on the end of the file name.
Then, copy the entire file name to the clipboard with CTRL-C. Hit ESC afterwards so no changes are made.
Hit WINDOWS KEY-R to open the RUN dialogue. If it’s the first time doing this, you need to browse and find the .exe file. Once this has been done, and providing you don’t run a lot of apps from the RUN dialogue, it will stay populated there for next time.
Paste, CTRL-V, the file name into the dialogue box after the program. Then after a space, paste it in again and delete the ‘2’ before the extension. The first one is the file that will be optimized and saved with the second file name. Hit ‘OK’ to start the process.
After hitting ‘OK,’ a DOS-looking window pops up with a bunch of stuff going on. Eventually it will go away. This is normal. Unless you messed something up. Double-check that there’s two versions of the file name AFTER the program.
After the DOS window closes itself, look! Two files! The original, with the ‘2’ at the end of the file name, and the new one with the much smaller file size. Now you load up your site with twice as much stuff. Below are the two files for your perusal.
As I mentioned above, however, this process doesn’t work on images with loads of colors. In that case, you’ll be better suited to saving files as JPEGs if you do full color comics as it’ll keep the file size low. As of now, I know of at least one comic site where the comic images are over half a megabyte, which is quite ridiculous. Even at today’s internet speeds it loads slowly.