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  1. #1

    Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Note: Avatar dimensions are now allowed to be 100x100, up from the 80x80 described in this guide.

    A recent thread has shown the file size of many members avatars to be too large, and against forum policy. This has lead to many avatars to be deleted. This post is meant to teach you how to shrink your awesome avatar to a file size more in line with the forum policy of 10KB.

    The tool used in this guide is GIMP. Its powerful and free. It is also platform independent and will run on your windows, mac osx or linux. Its about 100 mb on your hard drive. Photo shop or any other similar image manipulation program will work, but many of the tools may be in different places.


    This is Anime Cat. He will be your guide. His file size is 59.3 KB, much larger then the allowed amount.



    The first thing we are going to do is crop him, and remove parts that are less then crucial that he can live without.

    We are going to outline the area we want to keep. To do this, use the rectangle selection tool (top left, or r for the hotkey). Select the area you want to keep like this:



    Then use the crop to selection tool like this:



    This will shrink the file size, because there is now less to save/display. Strong photo editors can save alot of formats, and gimp can be confusing at first. Its good to save at every step so that if you don't like something, its minimal work to retrace your steps. Clicking save will bring up a new menu.

    You will need to save it as a JPEG image. To do this you can scroll down and select the jpeg file extension from the menu, or you can simply add .jpg to the end of your file name like this:



    The way data is stored on Jpeg, data is lost every save no matter what. A new menu is going to come up to ask you what quality you would like to save it as. Even if you choose 100, you will still experience data loss (although extremely small). The number you choose has to do with the way the algorithm saves and reads the data. Since we are trying to save space here, set it to 85.

    Anime cat now uses 22.1kb with minimal loss.



    This forum gives avatars an 80x80 space to be displayed, so we are going to scale it to that size. Select the scale image tool:



    Scale the larger number to 80, and it will auto scale the other number to stay in the same proportion.



    Anime Cat is now ready to be an avatar at the size of 5.6kb



    If you want to have a moving avatar, a gif image, there are other things you can do for that as well. Sephiroth with a file size of 59.1kb will guide you through this process.




    GIF images are seen as moving, but really they are a bunch of still frames. Sephiroth uses 16 frames. That roughly translates to 16 times the file size. I am first go to scale him down to avatar size like in the anime cat example.

    When you save a gif, GIMP is going to ask you if you want to merge the layers, or export as animation. You want to export as animation. No photo =( Will have one soonish tho.

    This brings him to a filesize of 11KB:



    This is still too large, so I am going to reduce the palette size so it uses less colors, which turns into a smaller file size. This image is already what is already indexed, meaning its palette has already been picked. We are going to pick out a new palette, and to do this we need to reindex it. First click RGB, then after go to the same menu and click Index. Follow the menus:


    (If anyone knows of a better way to do this, please let me know)

    Select index then use the following settings:



    Sephiroth is now 8.7KB, and is ready to be used as an avatar!



    Next up is something a bit trickier. Someone in another thread was lamenting that they couldn't use an certain avatar. This guy over here pwns noobs at the rate of 25.3KB's every page refresh. Lets try to take him down a notch.



    Because this one is so tricky, I'm going to start by scaling him down past the normal 80, down to 54(I found this number by repeating all the steps several times until I found out the highest that would work. When you set it to the avatar, it will auto scale back to 80. This will cause some data loss, but its not too bad.) Then I am going to set the color to index and web optimize it like previously. The final step is im going to go into filters, go down to animation, and select optimize for web(gif). What this does is sets anything that was the same color in a previous frame to transparent, so the color from the previous frame shines through. This always needs to be the last step because of the way it works. It will actually open the picture in a new gimp window, and you will need to save it with a new name. Heres the picture:



    With all that done, the final product just barely fits in at 9.6KB:



    Next is how to set the background to transparent so it blends in with the mmo-champion background. We will remove the white in the following image so that the corners don't stick out so much.



    The first thing we have to do is make sure transparency is enabled. Follow the menus:


    Then we need to select the color we want to delete. We are going to use the select by color tool. Hot key shift + O, top right of toolbox. Click on a white area to select it.



    Hit the delete key. That grey checkered background is transparent, and when you load the image it will be whatever color is behind it. This of course deletes the white in the sails, but only the whitest of the white will be deleted, and the moo champion background is close enough that it will go un noticed. A quick optimize palette for web and its ready to be saved. A JPEG image doesn't allow for transparency, so save it to a GIF by selecting it in the save as menu, or by adding .GIF to the end of the file name. The finished product is slightly less file:



    Finally, image shack allows images to be resized to 100x75 when you upload them. I don't have pictures for that =( Its kinda hard to miss, but its not optimal, because 100 is still larger then the 80 you are allowed and that detail will be lost anyways when a computer resizes it on the page.

    If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to post them.
    Last edited by Sunshine; 2011-04-09 at 05:01 AM.
    But your eyes are drawn of charcoal they're black they're so cold they're so imperfect because they see a sleeping world where waking isn't worth it

  2. #2

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Edit: Added some pwnage
    Edit: Helping out the fine folks of the navy
    But your eyes are drawn of charcoal they're black they're so cold they're so imperfect because they see a sleeping world where waking isn't worth it

  3. #3

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Excellent guide! I was gonna add it to Dinnerbone's sticky about avatars & signatures but I can't edit his posts. Nerf!

    /sticky

  4. #4
    Herald of the Titans Arganis's Avatar
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    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Ya, thanks for the guide.

    I "big boy googled" my way out of my 33kb avatar (basically had to remove every frame but one so it could still be euh.. animated and then annihilated the quality by bringing it down not to 64 but 32 colors so it could be under the 10kb), and fixed the size and dimension of my sig (that part was easy).

    Now my avatar looks like a black tee-shirt you put in the wash machine with store brand bleach and forgot for 2 month while you were out of the country.

    10kb is rly rly small for any kind of animation, hopefully in the future it can be 15kb or something, at least show a lenience of 5kb because Terminator rules for a game forum isn't exactly matching the "happy place" BB was talking about.

    Hopefully once every over-sized avatar and sig has been, hunt down, removed and the users forced into utter submission, we can move on to seemingly less pressing issues.

  5. #5

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    @Arganis: Rules are rules. Simple as that. 10kb is 10kb. We do show some leniency here and there, but mostly everything above 10kb gets deleted.

    Why 10kb? There are about 15 posts on a page, if all of them have a 10kb avatar that makes 150kb of data to load. That's okay.

    What if there were no rules? Just today I've deleted a 1.7MB avatar from someone. Imagine that all the 15 posters on a page had a 1.7MB avatar...

    Not everyone has broadband internet. Some people browse these forums through their phones.

    If you wish to discuss the avatar and signature guidelines further, please do so in this thread.

  6. #6
    Herald of the Titans Arganis's Avatar
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    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Taking my response to the suggested thread.

    Again thanks for the guide, sure people will find it very useful.

    Btw in the guide one of the avatars still weighs 11kb, would it be tolerated or would it still be immediately removed for violating the rules if noticed?

    I got it there's no lenience, but wanted to know if it was down to the very last kb

  7. #7

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    10kb is the limit. If you create a new avatar and it's 11kb, that means you should reduce the quality of the image some more.

  8. #8

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Thanks for the post. Now, how do I make the white background on my Avatar blend with the websites background color?



    EDIT: Thank you, I redid your process, and managed to clean it up a bit better.

  9. #9

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Quote Originally Posted by Daginni
    Thanks for the post. Now, how do I make the white background on my Avatar blend with the websites background color?

    That's pretty easy actually.
    In photoshop you just use the "magic eraser". Or you can work in paint and use "draw opaque" I believe it's called, haven't opened paint since I got photoshop.
    I'll quickly do it in photoshop, will take a minute or two since the quality of the image is a bit poor.

    BTW woot made just for me?

    Edit:

    The gray edge is part of the image btw, takes some very boring pixelwork to get rid of that. I think the filesize is a bit big, so the resizing you can do yourself based on this sticky.

    ps. Is there any way to see the file size of an image in google chrome btw? Loads of fun information when you inspect an image, but the properties of firefox and IE are a bit easier .

  10. #10

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    You were actually the one that increased the filesize because you converted it to .png (Obviously because jpeg doesnt allow for transparency), and it takes alot more space to store the image. I'll be changing it to .GIF in my example, which is smaller. As for chrome, I can't say, I've never used it =/
    But your eyes are drawn of charcoal they're black they're so cold they're so imperfect because they see a sleeping world where waking isn't worth it

  11. #11
    My bans cleave. Dinnerbone's Avatar
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    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimlor
    Excellent guide! I was gonna add it to Dinnerbone's sticky about avatars & signatures but I can't edit his posts. Nerf!

    /sticky
    No need to nerf! *Adds to his post*
    Join us on the official MMO-Champion IRC channel!
    #mmo-champion of irc.quakenet.org or click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

  12. #12

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    great work.

    also, a hint i can give you:

    if you have a perfectly round avatar that needs to have the square edges trimmed away, you can work with another way.

    most editors have a round selection tool. it basically boils down to this: you select the part you want to keep, reverse the selection (so the parts outside the avatar are selected) and voila, you have selected everything outside the avatar without anything inside the avatar.
    Because I want to say this every single day but don't want it to get a drag:
    1) The ingame store will only sell timesaver items. It won't affect balance.
    2) No, getting to 100 in half the time isn't pay2win. raids don't start until the second week, everyone has time to get there.
    4) getting charms faster is also not pay2win. getting those is easy, but not everyone has the time or want for dailies.

  13. #13

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Bojangles
    This forum gives avatars an 80x80 space to be displayed, so we are going to scale it to that size. Select the scale image tool:



    Scale the larger number to 80, and it will auto scale the other number to stay in the same proportion.



    Anime Cat is now ready to be an avatar at the size of 5.6kb

    This, does it stretch, or does it just cut?
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/general-discussions-22/world-of-warcraft-lore-by-richard-knaak-(spoilers)/

  14. #14
    Fluffy Kitten Lokann's Avatar
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    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Quote Originally Posted by Cearat
    This, does it stretch, or does it just cut?
    It stretches too, the Canvas Size command is used to cut.



  15. #15

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    I tried to shrink a 15kb avatar but failed to get it below 10

  16. #16

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Great work, Mr_Bojangles.
    I have composed the following without knowing about your thread.
    I will post it too, however, because it's really simple and takes only a minute.

    As many users will find their animated avatar is exceeding the limits now,
    I thought I'd share a way to reduce size (both, actual and file) of a GIF with an easy to use online tool.

    • Go to http://gifworks.com/image_editor.html
    • File -> Open Image. You can either upload a file from your computer or fetch a remote file.
    • After you have your GIF loaded, you can check the file size, width and height on the bottom. Requirements are max. 10kb file size, 80px width and 80px height. (known as 80x80)
    • To resize your avatar, go to Edit -> Resize.
    • If your avatar has the same width as height (e.g. 100x100px) you just enter Width: 80, hit tab and click "OK"
    • If your avatar has uneven dimensions, you resize the exceeding side down to 80. Example: Your avatar is 80x100. The height must not pass 80px. You enter 80 in the "Height"-field, hit tab and the site automatically calculates the right width so the avatar keeps its aspect ratio.
    • Check the file size now. If your resized avatar still exceeds the file size limit, you can reduce colours.
    • To reduce colours, go to Optimize -> Reduce Colors. The site will then present you with a collection of colour-reduced versions of your avatar. Select the one that is under 10kb.
    • Save your final image to your desktop and upload it to a imagehoster, e.g. http://imgur.com/
    • Update your forum profile with the new, slim version of your avatar

    I found that the tool is a bit buggy, sometimes resized images would not appear, etc.
    In that case, just start over again.

  17. #17

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Quote Originally Posted by Lokann
    It stretches too, the Canvas Size command is used to cut.
    Thanks.
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/general-discussions-22/world-of-warcraft-lore-by-richard-knaak-(spoilers)/

  18. #18

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Thanks for the awesome guide, was able to shrink down my fav avatars and finally get em on guild forums and stuff!

  19. #19

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    excellent guide, and for the people who think that 10kb ain't much, i am visitting this site on my iphone most of the time and its quite slow already

  20. #20

    Re: Guide to Shrinking avatar filesize

    Thanks for the guide. I didn't know about the optimize for gif feature in gimp
    Overall I think this is an amazing guide and I think it will really help the site users cut down on their over sized avatars and sigs.

    For all the people who wanted a pandaren monk in their signature I have failed you, it's about 6 times too large but if you wanna try and tinker with it be my guest.



    Edit: All the ground work is done for you, I cut out about... 2100 frames from the original video posted by Boub cropped and resized the image and optimized for gif as shown in the guide, the only thing I couldn't do (due to horrendous color loss) was optimize the palette. Good luck to anyone who wants to try!
    Brooding.

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