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A Few Words on Image Hosts and File Sizes

Many Farkers rely on free image hosting in order to participate in Photoshop contests. Unfortunately, the demise of yet another free host is always around the corner. With the collapse of free image hosting, many are left without a place for their images to call home.

In order to understand why this happens, it's important to realize the root of the problem:

Excessive bandwidth usage kills image hosts.

The easiest way to save bandwidth is smaller file sizes. Your entry doesn't have to be 700px wide or 600 px tall. Resize that puppy some, it will definitely help keep file sizes down.

You don't have to save it at maximum jpeg quality. Using SAVE FOR WEB allows you see how the image compression is affecting your image. Very rarely does an image have to be saved at over 60 quality for a fark PS contest.

JPG vs. GIF JPGs are best for photo type images, but for images with large blocks of color like screen caps, dialogue boxes or solid color logos GIFs look better (no artifacts) and usually compress into smaller sizes. Comparing the image in the SAVE FOR WEB previews will lead to better results.

Speaking of resizing and compression: A word about animated gifs.

If the message can conveyed in one single frame, theres no need to enter a gif in a contest. If you do decide to enter a gif remember that the larger the file, the quicker the death of the host. Resize, optimize and if you have to use really bad dithering and choppy movents just to keep the gif under 200k, maybe you shouldn't enter the gif at all, or at least link to a good, high-quality anigif.

It's also a good idea to remember that many people on Fark are still on dial-up and large file sizes will cause the page to run slowly, and your image may not show up at all if it is over 80k.

One last note: One theory of ImageShack's temporary refusal to host images for Fark is that the constant promoting of the ImageShack service in Fark PS threads led to its rapid demise. The first time this happened it was only two weeks between the start of the inline spamming to placeholders put up by ImageShack to prevent hotlinking to Fark. As the service's popularity grows, so does the strain on its servers. The next great free image host should probably not be trumpeted at every opportunity, but kept quiet as long as possible. After all, how many more free image hosts can there possibly be?

UPDATE: 8 Aug 2005

Procedural Texture has volunteered to keep an Image Host Advisory index of current viable image hosts.