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Graphics and the Internet

The standard catchphrase is 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. The World Wide Web, via the Internet, has made it very easy to make images available to viewers. Most of the technology is relatively straightforward. There are a few items to be aware of concerning graphics.

The most limiting factor for graphics on the Internet is size, that is, a graphic image's size in bytes. The larger the graphics file size, the longer it takes to transmit through the net. At the top of this page is my logo. It is physically fairly large and about 10k bytes in file size. Notice however that it has relatively few different colors in it. In the opening screen for this site, at the bottom of the page, is the logo for the HTML Writers Guild. It is about 7k bytes in file size. The HWG logo is a 30% smaller file, yet 1/6 the size of the graphic at the top of this page. The reason for this is that the HWG logo uses many more colors and is a much more complex graphic. Color count and complexity are two factors to take into account when designing graphics for WWW use.

Another important factor concerning graphics for Internet use is the number of colors available for each graphic. The 'least common denominator' for 'color aware' graphical browsers on the WWW is VGA graphics using 256 colors. However the range of colors common to all platforms is limited to 216. Colors above 216 'may' appear differently when viewed on various platforms. 216 is normally completely adequate for most graphics. The logo at the top of this screen uses 108 colors. The HWG logo uses 105.

My job as an Internet graphics designer is to create images that adequately represent your needs, within the limitations described above.



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