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Photos altered automatically

Original Post
John Hegyes · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 5,625

I know that Mountain Project automatically edits photos that are uploaded. Can you explain the process? This is done to reduce file size I'm sure, but I'm still trying to figure out what triggers the editing.

I'm aware of the 5 MB limit on uploads. I try to keep my photos to 1 MB or less and I go to some length tweaking .jpg compression and image size attributes on Photoshop to get files to a reasonable size only to be disappointed to find that MP has reduced the size even further. Quality usually suffers in the process as I suspect that another .jpg compression is run on my already compressed file - thereby introducing more loss of resolution.

Can you tell me:
What is the largest filesize, imagesize (pixels length by width) and .jpg compression percentage allowed before changes are automatically made by MP?

And what algorithms are run by MP to further reduce size?

Thanks for your time and as usual, great website.

Larry DeAngelo · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Nov 2002 · Points: 4,670

John-- here are a few unofficial ramblings (unofficial because I am not sure of the details of the specific way Mountain Project does things, so these are generalizations).

My web development work generally uses the language PHP which has an image manipulation library called GD, which provides the capability to (among other things) resize pictures. I assume similar capabilities are present in .ASP or other environments. I have done considerable testing in PHP, and have concluded that there is no way to (automatically) manipulate an image without some degradation. This sounds bizarre because one would assume that reducing of size might reduce compression artifacts, etc.

I would guess that part of the problem is that a good photographer such as yourself has already developed a keen eye for the details of image quality, and is accustomed to optimizing in Photoshop. The automated algorithm is just no match for a skilled operator. That being said, my impression is that the Mountain Project images tend to be better than I would have expected (based on my GD testing), so it's likely that these guys are smarter than me, or GD has improved, or they are using something newer and better.

Ron Olsen · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 11,375


I would submit larger photos to Mountain Project.

I have a 7.1 megapixel Canon SD800IS; when set to maximum JPEG resolution and size, the images are 3072x2304 pixels, which is about 5MB. If I submit one of these photos to Mountain Project, it gets reduced to 2000x1500 pixels. I think the algorithm the Mountain Project uses sets a maximum pixel dimension of 2000.

I usually tweak photos (crop, adjust brightness, saturation, sharpness, etc.) but do not reduce the size of the photos. I have not seen significant degradations in my submissions.

Brad Brandewie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2001 · Points: 2,885

Some more thoughts... I could be wrong but this is what I think happens...

The max size is 2000 px wide or 1500 tall.

They are always edited.

I suggest uploading the high res versions (less than 5 megs) since MP will size down your photo for the page that displays the photo anyway. From there you can click an image again and see it at the size you uploaded it within the above limits.

I find that the process desaturates some of the color (especially reds) so I sometimes add too much red and then upload to see if it gives the color I am looking for once uploaded to MP. (this is more obvious in Internet Explorer) It's worth noting that your color vision is affected by sleep, caffine, hydration, eye strain, diet, drugs (expecially grass), etc.

I often upload a picture several times with different color saturations until it looks the way I want it too on MP. If you do this you should be working with a Tif and not a Jpg because when you change the color and save again as a jpg you loose quality. It's like making a copy of a copy of a copy of a cassette tape. The more times you save (not open and close) a jpg the worse it gets.

Bigger is usually better so that when people want to zoom in on a photo for whatever reason they can. My personal thought is that if it's not big enough fill the normal MP display window, then its not worth uploading. (self portraits to display next to your post excluded)

I also don't really get the trend of stating that you took the picture in the description. "Photo by ........." It seems like spraying to me since anyone that wants to know who posted it simply needs to click on the image. If you are posting images that other people took and they want to be cited as such then I see the need. It is not like it protects your rights to the image.

Hope this doesn't read like a rant... I was trying to be helpful.

kirra · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 530

I dug up this older thread and thought at least Q1. could apply to said topic:

Q1. I noticed that an "image size" is able to be controlled within a thread when posted from an mp photo album, but not from an external source. For example, when I reduce the size (pixel) of an externally linked image (to make it smaller) - it is still posted in the thread at the same dimension no matter the size I save it as. Is it possisble to control the size of an externally posted image..?

Q2. Why do images within Mountain Project *not* work when using the entire IMAGEURL within the image tag i.e. only the ID# is allowed..?

Wheras it is sometimes easier to use ID# in coding images within threads, perhaps it would be nice to have both options available as it would point to a users image library and other photos could then be viewed.

thanks in advance ~k

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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