TUCOWS ARTICLE

Must Have Application - Image Compressor 2008

Find out how this award winning image compression and editing software can compress images up to 90% without visible quality loss.
Published: Mar 13, 2008
Author: Stacy Reed

Image Compressor 2008 is a software that compresses image files and claims to do so without visible quality loss, but what does that mean in terms of numbers, download time and storage? Well, if you plan on sharing your images online, it means faster downloads and less bandwidth usage. It also means you can cram a lot more files into a small space, like a storage card or mobile device, up to 10 times more! With Image Compressor, you can have the best of both worlds, optimum file size as well as superb quality because it uses a proprietary Digital Eye method to analyze each pixel and automatically adjusts compression levels. The development team seems to have thought of just about everything a photographer would need and then some. So let's take a closer look at more of this software's unique features.



Image Compressor 2008 can:

  • Scan and compress images directly from your scanner, camera or TWAIN device.
  • Reduce upload, download and e-mail transmission time. Save more bandwidth.
  • Grab images from the Internet easily.
  • Protect your photos and digital art from illegal copying with the watermarking function.
  • Process 1000 images in a single-click. Batch image processing can simplify your boring tasks.
  • Create amazing photo albums using predefined templates.
  • Save your images as PDF files, including multiple pages.
  • Provides a powerful and flexible screen capture function.
  • Compare images side by side.
  • Apply image retouching, color adjustments and special effects.
  • Import Photoshop filters with the Pro version.
  • Work with many popular file formats, even if they are still in RAW format (straight from your camera).
  • Compress and send images to email.
  • Customize compression ratio.
  • Create animated GIF files
  • Easily upload to Friendster, Myspace, Yahoo! Photos or Google Picasa Web Albums.

Image Compression Comparison - When you start, you'll want to find the right compression settings to suit your needs. It might take a few tries to get it right, so make sure you compare the output. You might be interested in learning more detailed information regarding the comparison of images saved using different compression settings. If so, you're in luck because Image Compressor comes with a scientific image comparison tool that will allow you to see the differences in their PAE, PSNR, MAE, MSE and RMSE data at a glance.

The developer claims that the resulting image will still look great even after the file has been compressed up to 90% of the original file size. They understand that seeing is believing, so the folks at MasRizal have published some impressive side-by-side file comparisons in their online sample gallery. During my review, I compressed a few image files using multiple editing tools and thought you might be interested in my findings.

One of the most impressive compression tests was of this photo, taken while my husband and I were were visiting Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. It is a 2.26 MB JPG file, 2592x1944 pixels.




I did not resize or make any adjustments, just saved the file (and it's EXIF data) using different compression settings among these 4 software programs:

  • Image Compressor 2008 with Digital Eye - Extreme Compression - 312 KB
  • Image Compressor 2008 with Digital Eye - Normal Compression - 866 KB

  • IrfanView - JPG Compression 33% - 287 KB
  • IrfanView - JPG Compression 73% - 582 KB

  • Photoshop CS - JPG Compression Quality 3 (Baseline optimized) - 315 KB
  • Photoshop CS - JPG Compression Quality 7 (Baseline optimized) - 543 KB

  • Corel Photo-Paint 12 - Optimized Compression: 73 - 251 KB
  • Corel Photo-Paint 12 - Optimized Compression: 33 - 494 KB

Then I opened each of the files and compared them in the Image Compare window and it was clear to see how Image Compressor's output was much smoother and true to form compared to the similar settings of Corel Photo-Paint. Also noted was the uncanniness of similarities between Image Compressor's Extreme Compression output and that of IrfanView's Compression at 33%. Not quite a pixel-to-pixel perfect match, but it is pretty darned close! As you can see, in regards to this particular photo, Image Compressor is right up there with it's competition. It took a 2.26 MB JPG and compressed it into a much more manageable size of 315 KB without shrinking the dimensions. Considering how Image Compressor also has the batch compression functionality, which the others are lacking, this a superior product in terms of file size, image quality, ease of use and speed.

Storage - Who among us wouldn't welcome more storage space? Compressing your images allows you to save up to 10x more photos with such minute quality loss, it's hard for even a trained eye to tell the difference. That's why Image Compressor 2008 is a great solution for owners of gadgets like mobile devices, iPods, digital photo frames, portable drives and memory cards.

Image Retouching - Image Compressor allows you to retouch your images in a number of ways. Make corrections and enhancements to your images by rotating, resizing, color balancing, or converting to negative, black and white, greyscale or sepia. You can also eliminate noise, fix red-eye, blur, sharpen or add text or annotations to your image. The pro version offers the ability to import Photoshop filters; it's as easy as pointing to your existing folder. There are many free Photoshop filters available on the Internet, so the sky is the limit!

At first, I felt the transitioning from image viewer to the comparer, the tray, or the retoucher was bit slow and clunky. I was pretty happy with the interface overall once I got the hang of it, and of course a lot of the drag was because each time I navigated to a new folder, the software was busy processing thumbnails for folders that were full of very large files. I guess my only request would be that in future updates, the developer considers adding more hotkey functionality, especially to the retouching interface to make processes like resizing, rotating, cropping and so forth much quicker and all the more user-friendly.

One of my favorite features though, is the ability to create photo albums you can share on the Internet right within the program. Just add the images you'd like to include in your online gallery to Image Compressor's image tray, and click on Create > Web Photo Album in the toolbar. You can customize your galleries by selecting from a variety of templates, and fill in your album details. You don't have to understand HTML or Flash to create dynamic and interactive photo albums because Image Compressor does it all for you and saves it in a folder you can upload to your server. I set up a couple galleries today and it was quick and easy - just uploaded the entire folder via FTP and voila! Check them out here on my site if you like, they're interactive! What's cool is that this software also recognizes Picasa templates, many of which can be downloaded for free from various websites.

Image Compressor 2008 has a trial period of 14 days. Try it for yourself for free and I'm pretty sure you'll agree that this software deserves it's 5 cow rating! And because it goes above and beyond by offering so many extras, it also wins the Editor's Choice Award!





About Stacy Reed

Stacy Reed is Tucows' resident software librarian and editor. She has been reviewing PC and mobile software as well as web services for over a decade. Helping developers improve and promote their products is only one of her areas of expertise. Stacy is also an advocate for Open Source, Creative Commons and freeware, taking special interest in educational resources, social media, cloud sharing, and mobile technology.

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