Graphics Software Reviews - Ulead's Smart Saver
Smart Saver Rave-view
This review covers Smart Saver from Ulead.
Smart Saver can be used as either a stand-alone or a plug-in for programs like Adobe's Photoshop and Fractal Design's Painter. It enables you to export your images as GIFs or JPEGs. Smart Saver offers a realtime preview that shows you what your image will look like once it's been exported (see the window in the upper right hand corner of figure 2.1). Above this window you'll also see the size of the file in bytes and can compare it to the size of the original image (seen in the upper left corner of figure 2.1).
For JPEGs, Smart Saver enables you to save your images with a wide range of quality settings. Values from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) are available. You can choose from progressive, standard and standard optimized when saving your JPEG.
With GIFs you can choose from adaptive, exact, Netscape and Explorer palettes. As well, you can set the number of colors from 16 to 256. You can choose a color that will be transparent, decide whether or not to save the GIF as interlaced, and select a dithering method.
Within the main window you can zoom in or out on the preview, which allows you to see and compare the quality of the original and the exported images.
One of the creative ways I use Smart Saver is to preview an image as a GIF with either the Netscape or Explorer palette. I'll do this even though I may not want to save the image as a GIF. Doing so will give me a good idea of how badly a JPEG will dither when seen on a machine with 256 colors. If the results are really terrible I'll change the colors to something that'll be handled better by 8-bit machines.
This program is something you need if you take care of and/or update more than a handful of web pages.
That's it for now... Be sure to check out some of our other Rave-views!
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