Preparing graphics for a Web site is a journey into the unknown. You’ve got no idea what kind of monitor folks will use to view your graphic, how fast (or slow) their Internet connection is, or what kind of Web browser they’ve got. It’s a proposition riddled with variables that you have no control over; all you can do is prepare your graphic well and hope for the best.
Your challenge as a designer boils down to finding a balance between image quality and file size. Premium-quality, minimally compressed JPEGs look stunning under almost any conditions. But if your site visitor has a pokey dial-up connection, she might decide to click elsewhere rather than waiting for the darn thing to download. On the other hand, if you try to satisfy the slowest common denominator by making ultra-lightweight images, you’ll deprive those with a broadband (high-speed) Internet connections from seeing impressive detail you’ve lovingly created.
Luckily, there are several tricks for keeping file sizes down and retaining quality. That’s what this chapter is all about. You’ll learn which size and file format to use when creating images destined for the Web. You’ll also discover how to make animations; craft favicons (those tiny, graphics you see in Web browsers’ address bars); mock up Web pages; and publish professional-looking online photo galleries.
Whether you’re designing an image destined for life on the Web or creating an email-friendly ...