How to fix DA's horrible image compression
|7 min read
rotane's avatar
By rotane   |   
39 44 568 (1 Today)
Published:


Yes, image compression is still a thing



As you might recall, i wrote about this issue some time ago. Yep, it’s been over a year. What has happened since? Not too much, i’m afraid. Things were being discussed for a while, until back in March of this year when we got one final official update (that i know of). Has the issue been fixed since? Nope, it certainly has not.



Now here’s the kicker: I did some digging and found a shockingly easy fix.



Let’s take this image by the talented JenZee:


Celeste and Tariq by JenZee



Note: Jen Zee isn’t just anyone. She’s the Art Director of Supergiant Games, responsible for the amazing games Bastion, Transistor, Pyre, and now Hades. And what does she write in the artist’s description? “Hmmm, not sure why but it’s uploading super blurry on deviantart :(!” That should tell you something.



Alright, back to the image. If you rightclick on the image (either the full view or small view) and hit ‘view image’ and then take a look at the URL bar of your browser, you’ll see a rather long string, akin to this:

https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/86c763db-05d4-49d1-b781-18edc71c539b/dc1whkn-f634fd71-ca87-41d3-81d2-137738a18705.png/v1/fill/w_900,h_900,q_80,strp/celeste_and_tariq_by_jenzee_dc1whkn-fullview.jpg?token=[snip]
(I took out the token at the end, since it’s not relevant to my point.)



I highlighted this little detail for you: q_80. Which you can guess, means, quality of 80. If you change the value to 100, you’ll get the pristine quality you would expect and want from a proper art site (like DeviantArt). (Note: Sometimes you’ll find q_70, usually on smaller views and thumbnails.)



Now, if someone could write a userscript that automatically changes this value to 100 across the board, that would be awesome. And i do mean ‘across the board’, since this compression also applies to thumbnails and small views, as i’ve mentioned – even if the actual images are PNGs (where you won’t see this q_80 setting).






So there’s your fix. Didn’t i mention how shockingly easy it would be? What i find even more shocking, however, is that DA is deliberately withholding this best quality from us. I find this unacceptable – even if we had a script that fixes this. After all, this is not Facebook or Instagram, where i go to when i’m bored. This is DeviantArt, and i hold them to higher standards. Yes, q_70 and q_80 uses much less bandwidth compared to q_100. But if this image processor they’re using isn’t up to the task, there are dozens of alternatives that can be implemented in its stead.



I’ll end this with my usual plea: Please DeviantArt, stop ruining our images!



P.S.: If you’re reading this in Eclipse, sorry that this journalskin looks so bad!






Pinging some of you admins again: spyed ikazon danlev Heidi Moonbeam13 ArtBIT dt



Comments44
anonymous's avatar
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Acaciathorn's avatar
AcaciathornHobbyist Digital Artist
Has anyone written a userscript for this yet?
Angel-Tigercloud's avatar
Angel-TigercloudHobbyist General Artist
could be hard to write since you have to parse their url, which is kinda long and changes everytime (always a different sub-domain, random tokens in it etc)
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
I've tested a work in progress, but nothing finalised yet.
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist

they fixed

Thumb preview high quality
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer

They did not. Check out this picture of mine:

rotaneco logotype test 11

Go there and look at it zoomed out vs. zoomed in. Zoomed in is the original (and hence not compressed), but the smaller view is still very much compressed. If you rightclick and open the image in a new tab and then look at the URL, you'll still see a "q_70" string.

DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist

They created a new mistake :D

I have a Doc...with all saved info relative march of different work

to compensate the quality q_70 they have compensated it using "scale image"....for this reason i see the thumb image perfectly! 1,552px × 822px (scaled to 1,252px × 663px)

I attached an image with my 3 skulls..and this is the proof....an objective proof!

My analysis of last march is clear.....

The issue is another now! Actual "scale image" is not able to manage our images correctly in Eclipse!!!!! WHAT A MESS!

but not only with specific sizes, the system goes in Tilt haha

check my work 9000x1080....try to zoom it...we are not able to zoom in it!

The Third WitchKing of Angmar Extended Version by

To visualizate correctly not only the previous image but all DeviantArt images, actually we are obbliged to use "view image" the following link show well this!

https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/b2ca15db-a429-4561-9236-38152537984c/dbxqnpb-3ff0dca6-e20f-442f-93ca-a0a146648489.png?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOiIsImlzcyI6InVybjphcHA6Iiwib2JqIjpbW3sicGF0aCI6IlwvZlwvYjJjYTE1ZGItYTQyOS00NTYxLTkyMzYtMzgxNTI1Mzc5ODRjXC9kYnhxbnBiLTNmZjBkY2E2LWUyMGYtNDQyZi05M2NhLWEwYTE0NjY0ODQ4OS5wbmcifV1dLCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6ZmlsZS5kb3dubG9hZCJdfQ.oi-wF4dPoG5KVvbytMcH2Rnmc0aZ51Ad8s33OeaiobA

Incredible how they have managed bad this part in Eclipse----> 2,400px × 1,018px (scaled to 1,344px × 570px) I want the image 2,400x1,018 and they are forcing us to visualizate as they want!! 1,344 x 570!! Yes ok we can click visualize image.....but this isn't a standard procedure and an high % of people will never use this procedure

The funny thing is in DA classic is perfect haha Well.....there is to wait the deactivation of DA classic.....to see if all this will be fixed automatically also in Eclipse!

rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
Also, what you have here is a PNG. Sometimes, the system creates a compressed JPG for its thumbnails and smaller views, sometimes it keeps it as a PNG. When it does the latter, you (obviously) won't get JPG-compression.
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist

Are you saying, about this topic, the system working randomly? I have to check your point!

In my example shown previously, the issue was permanent....i checked that image for some week (and not only that image)....to see some change...but nothing always destroied and blurred! Than i gave up!

Yesterday i noticed something of new and im gone immediately to check my famous thumb preview image permanetly blurred-destroied.....like all the others...because of course i had checked different images of my gallery.

and they were all on high quality today! They were of same quality of the psd file offline. So am i lucky to be able to visualize all them perfect like the original psd?

But after some hour i noticed the other issue....relative the system manage the size as it want!

I had a doc file with many info saved

And i noticed immediately the following thing:

Image old analysis march: 2,400px × 1,018px --------> w_2400,h_1081,q_100,strp

Today the same image show -----> 2,400px × 1,018px (scaled to 1,344px × 570px)

Im not a guru....but i noticed immediately the voice "scaled" + the different size!

What do you think?

Personally im waiting the DA classic deactivation to see if all this will be fixed in automatic! :D

rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
No, it's not working randomly. I just haven't figured out the exact way the system works. And i also don't know when or if the staff is changing things. I don't actively follow this issue anymore, since i can't be bothered…

The scaling thing is not an issue though, at least not per se. In theory, the system creates an image (or several) that is close to either your monitor size, or a "standard" small view (again, i don't know how the system is actually written), and then scales it slightly up or down, to perfectly fit the size of your browser. (This way of scaling up or down does NOT actually resize the image, though, this is more like the zoom feature of, say, Photoshop.) It does the same with thumbnails, by the way. Optimally, it only scales them down and never up, of course.

Heh, yeah, one can only hope that the permanent switch to Eclipse is going to make things easier for them! :)
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AnastasiaMorning's avatar
So, this compression thing was done entirely on purpose and staff members claiming they are "trying to fix it" were knowingly telling a lie. Great. Just great. For an art site this is an unbelievable shame.
Angel-Tigercloud's avatar
Angel-TigercloudHobbyist General Artist
80% JPG quality is not even on normal websites, often 90% is used
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist
Image compression on DeviantArt is an incredible experience :D I wait always the miracle for the thumbimages. Personally im always surprised how DeviantArt FAQ don't explain many basics informations about how visualize or upload correctly an image!
Im talking about:
- Browser zoom level
- color profile
- display option
and above all don't write nothing about the low compression 70-80q for thumbimage



For luck clicking on the image, the value come back to original quality. But in the past also "zooming in"  on the image the compression was low. An ancient personal analysis of 2018 ------> 1 by DraakeT


For sure i never use custom size in display option but many people still don't know using custom size, keep the bad compression on each size.

There is also another important point about image quality. There are people don't know the correct configuration of the browser. So many times i discovered people were using the browser with zoom 125%. Like last Jan,31 2020 someone wrote me here -----> After Upload: Blurred-low quality Image? Fixed it!
For luck Firefox in the last update has introduced the voice default zoom in options.

its-screech's avatar
its-screechProfessional Digital Artist
i've just been working around image compression by adding one transparent pixel to the corner of every image i upload here. I've noticed that if a submission has transparency it doesn't get compressed and converted to jpg, so erasing one pixel from the top-left corner or just adding a row of transparent pixels to the bottom of the image preserves the quality without any extra effort or scripts required. 
it would be nice if DA would just stop compressing images at all, but at least there's a way to prevent it. 
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
That is a viable workaround indeed, but like you said, i wouldn't want to have to resort to this. It also doesn't fix the browsing experience around dA…
0SupermarineSpitfire's avatar
0SupermarineSpitfireProfessional General Artist

The fact that non one of the Staff you pinged in your journal have responded to this speaks volumes... :|

rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
:hmm:
EleonorVonCarter's avatar
EleonorVonCarterStudent Digital Artist
What do i do if the image is png?
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
Nothing. If a PNG gets downscaled (say, for a small view or thumbnail), it usually stays a PNG. If it gets saved as a JPG, however, the same thing applies as i mentioned in my journal (you'll find the q_70 somewhere in the string that you can manually change to at least see a higher quality version).
EleonorVonCarter's avatar
EleonorVonCarterStudent Digital Artist
Ah ok thank you very much
Blunell's avatar
Came here from a comment on Eclipse's latest change log.

Since this issue is still a thing nowadays, I once found a way to preserve any image's quality and never had any problem ever since: the thing is to upload .png files, and NEVER use the "resizing" options provided by DA on the "Submit Art" page. Choosing any other resolution than the native one will end up in blurry images with a hella lot of artifacts.

So the fix that worked for me was:
Turquoise Bullet - F2U! Manually setting the desired fullview resolution of the image directly in the image editing software
Turquoise Bullet - F2U! Saving the file in .png (not much heavier than .jpg from the moment the file is not insanely large; funnily enough, the .jpg version of an image may end up heavier than its .png sibling if its resolution is high)
Turquoise Bullet - F2U! When submitting, always choosing the "Original (yyy x zzz pixels)" resolution.

I started doing this in 2016. As of December 2019 (old DA), not only does this prevent any drop in quality, but the thumbnails also look better and less blurry.

Side note: A further proof that DA doesn't alter images uploaded this way is, any data hidden in the file (using steganography tools for example) is preserved, which means the file being displayed doesn't suffer from any alteration. Using DA's resizing options on such a file otherwise results in the hidden data being erased.
lapis-lazuri's avatar
lapis-lazuriHobbyist General Artist
MIGHTY GODS OF HELL ....

Yeah, sorry for the picturesque reaction, but just.... DAYUM. What I find most shocking is not even how easy the fix would be (though that deserves a little dayum as well), but what you remarked in the end: DA is deliberately showing us shitty quality.... To me, that's scandalizing. Nothing short of scandalizing. I must thank you for taking the time to dig it out and let us know. However.... sadly, even if someone does make a script like that, this means with it you can fix your own experience of everybody else's art.... but you cannot fix how everybody else experiences your art.... that will always remain up to whether or not they use that script. And that really, really sucks, man. I'm not showing my works in this - ART !!! - site for them to be displayed deliberately in such lower quality. Wtf DA, seriously.... Anyway. I regress to ranting.

Suggestion for potential script-writers (if possible / implementable): Allow a selectively adjustable quality? What I mean, I personally want full images to be at their 100% quality, but not thumbnails because 1) my internet is sometimes quite slow and when displaying many images I can see the merit of stronger compression, and 2) I don't really care to look at images on thumbnails, I am a fossil and like to open the deviation page in order to admire an artwork in full view.
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer
Reaction's fine. Appropriate, even, so no worries :)

A script is in the works, btw.
lapis-lazuri's avatar
lapis-lazuriHobbyist General Artist
Ah, that's great. I assume you'll make an announcement about it when it's made?
rotane's avatar
rotaneProfessional Interface Designer

Naturally.

anonymous's avatar
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