Feedback for "Upcoming Changes to PNG Image Support"



Stop begging a corporate giant to throw you scraps and go to a platform that respects artists and sees their work as valid, like Newgrounds.

And now art collectors and content creators and such who have working internet are excluded from getting or posting the content they want. But I guess they’re “privileged” or something, so excluding them is OK right?


I often see my peers complaining about how many sites (especially Twitter) have a good hold on the youth as a market, and yet don’t know what they did to actually run the business as well as they do. Twitter doesn’t have the right values in mind for it’s users, they often say.
Aside from a few gripes, i love twitter. But to tell you the truth the biggest reason I use the website is to follow artists. I don’t see too many artists sticking on the site if they cant upload their art in high quality. Even if twitter is working with artists, many artists I follow are very confused by this move. Especially given that now is the time more than ever to be capitalizing off of the massive amount of users migrating from Tumblr. Artists can adapt, they always do, but make sure that artists are adapting by knowing how to easily upload their art in full quality, not by leaving your website.


@NolanOBrien Would you be able to specify who may be effected by this? You said its users who have 2G internet, which at this time is outdated. Are we talking certain countries or users who are using outdated cellphone data plans because they don’t care about having powerful powerful internet on the go.

It might be very likely that these types of users may not be the users who artists are interested in delivering their content to at which point a

  1. “image cannot be displayed due to network timeout” error message or

  2. pushing out a more compressed version of that image to those specific 2G users while retaining the quality for all other high speed interent users

might be a more feasible solution in the immediate until other parts of the world/archaic cellphone providers catch up.

Not to say artists don’t want to share their work with the world, but most pixel artists, indie game developers, animators ect. are looking to share their content with other high probability consumers/fans and will not care if their content can’t say be delivered to some remote place in Russia or someone’s grandma who is happy using an old Nokia phone with 2G so she can just continue messaging her grandkids.

Are these 50% of people in the world who use 2G, people who would actually be interested in using Twitter or are they for the most part users who use their phones solely for making phone calls?

I’m just curious what the extent of your research has been into this particular user base with slow internet speeds.

It looks like the vast majority of the world will not support 2G by 2020:


Lastly, 50% of the world also may not be able to watch Netflix but that doesn’t mean Netflix needs to serve up 480p videos for all its users just because some people in the world don’t yet have the ability to stream their content or some blue colar construction worker who wants the cheapest possible cellphone plan can’t watch his Netflix dramas while he’s on lunch break.

Just because a market exists doesn’t mean its efficient or ideal to step back the user experience for all users for a body of users who may not care to use the service in the first place.


Just a reminder that the rules of this forum require respectful discussion. Please moderate your language. Thank you.


Hello! Firstly, thanks for allowing us to give feedback for this possible update. I truly believe that this update is unfriendly to its users and will hurt artists significantly, if not lethally to that large portion of users. As for myself, I use Twitter primarily for art, and this update would be devastating to myself, my friends, and others who use Twitter for fun, their livelihoods (as commissioners can see their art and decide to commission them themselves), or to grow as a user and/or as a small business. This update is unneeded and will only hurt your users. As one post put it simply, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.”

Thanks for listening.


I am soliciting 1:1 feedback on a potential change to the changes coming to Twitter images.

If you are an artist or professional photographer, please DM me directly on Twitter @NolanOBrien

I may not be able to respond to everyone, but DM me if willing.

If you know others that might want to DM with me on this proposal, please share this Tweet:


After reviewing feedback, discussing the changes with concerned users and internally looking at the upcoming change, we have a tentative amendment we are going to look at making to the upcoming changes. These are tentative and cannot be guaranteed, but in the name of transparency, we felt it best to share the proposed amendment for better discussion around the changes were this amendment to be approved.

We’ve heard strong feedback to the proposed changes and want to continue supporting artists who use Twitter to share their work without risking theft or degradation of their work. For images that are low resolution but require maintaining a high quality, the test for PNG images will add the following change:

  • If the image is a PNG that is 900 pixels or smaller in the longest dimension (can fit into 900x900), that PNG will be left as-is.

This compromise will yield a negative impact to load latencies for such images on timelines of users with slow internet, but will facilitate the needs of the artist community that do not wish to upload imagery at higher resolutions due to the risk of theft. Given the predominance of the issue we face with PNGs is high resolution images and not artwork that is low resolution, we believe this compromise can help both users with slow internet connections when they try to view Tweets with high resolution images, as well as artists who value high image quality when sharing their work on Twitter.

This amendment will be in place with the rest of the changes on February 11th with the caveat that it may be revisited as we monitor for abuse and potential adverse impact to Twitter users on slow connections.

We know this change is still a compromise. Given the limited time-frame, we hope this can encompass most of the use cases that users have concerns with regarding the upcoming changes to PNGs coming on February 11th.


How about having two different versions of an image, an algorithm based (if low bandwidth detected, load lower bandwidth image) or a toggle of some sort in the options? i’d see this as a solution to both problems if it’s considered


The 900x900 unaltered PNG works for me (I assume this includes transparency):

  • For pixel art this is more than enough canvas
  • For steganography as used in MidBoss (see Gamasutra for details) this will preserve the pixel data and not break steganographic methods. This is also used by other projects, Pico8 and Champions Online just off the top of my head, but probably many more.
  • This also solves our concerns about accessibility, as text when resaved as JPG on Twitter suffers badly in legibility and can make it difficult to read for those with eyesight issues.


Thanks for the comment @Draconas,

We understand this is compromise for now. There are many great suggestions from the community on improvements that I would personally love to see invested in.

This upcoming change is one step, but as we can invest more and technologies improve we will further improve things for everyone.


@Enichan, you’re correct. This amendment would include transparency.

I’m glad you see the use cases this is working to support. Those and more align well with this new proposal and feedback that I have solicited from individual artists and developers has been very supportive.

Thank you for sharing your viewpoint, we truly appreciate it.


The changes announcement has been amended:

Images uploaded as PNG that are 900 pixels or smaller in the longest dimension (can fit into 900x900) will be left as-is.


What about aPNGs? Are those supported or will they be destroyed by this change?


Hi, I’m an artist that utilizes .png files with relatively high resolution but still maintains a low filesize (Usually always under 100kb)

In some cases my work will end up having fractional filesize savings at a severe penalty to quality when saved as .jpeg with 85% quality. Will there be any clause to allow slightly larger .png files to supercede .jpeg files for better image quality?

I have attached an example below.

(.png, 86kb)
(.jpeg at 85%, 81.8kb)


And what about images like ? If they’re bigger than 900x900 does that mean those will be destroyed as well, given that jpeg does not support transparency?


I like seeing concrete examples like this, thank you for sharing @RWStandard

If you don’t mind, I would like to go through the possibilities.

First, baselining the JPEG is a good start, I got 78.3KBs

The PNG you provided, I downloaded at 54.6KB – this is because our forums already optimize PNGs. Right off the bat, your image is smaller than the JPEG alternative if you run a PNG optimizer (I like ImageOptim2 for macOS, but there are lots of tools out there).

Next, I removed the alpha channel from you image and ran it through an optimizer which brought it down to 47.3KB. Your image really is better than a JPEG.

Now, looking at your image I saw that it has a very limited color palette (which is a really great looking style). So I converted it to PNG8, and it looks pretty close to the same with some potentially minor dithering that is hard to notice. Now, if the PNG8 image happened to be larger than the JPEG, we would keep it since we are adding PNG8 support without conversion. But, the end result is actually 33.2KB – the smallest of all.

Basically, if you have art that is close to the same size as the JPEG it would output, it is very possible to optimize the PNG with an easy to use tool (and removing the transparency) to get a smaller file than the JPEG. Just removing the transparency channel probably would have worked for you, honestly.


Howdy, thank you for being responsive to this issue and addressing our concerns. While I appreciate the concessions the development team has made to attempt to satisfy the artistic community as a whole, I have a few counterpoints I’d like to share as an illustrator who has moved to twitter as one of my main social media and art sharing platforms.

I’ve been following this thread since its inception as I wanted to see if the backlash would warrant a mediated response that would make all artists happy, not just sketch and pixel artists. This new amendment for preserving PNGs at low resolution absolutely does not resolve the issue for digital illustrators with high levels of detail, such as some of the work I do.

I’ve linked a thread containing a visual example of the size difference in images with non-uniform height-width ratios, such as landscapes. While twitter has always been unfriendly to previewing these images, often focusing the preview on portions of the image that aren’t relevant, the proposed 900px constraints would cripple the level of detail available for artists who only understand uploading with PNGs for the best image quality:

I’m a lucky subset of the population that is both an illustrator and a software/web developer, so I’m a bit more educated on how to preserve image quality across file formats and resolutions. However, the vast majority of artists simply know that PNG format is the best for maintaining image quality when uploading to the web.
These individuals would still attempt to upload their images at ratios higher than 900px at largest, causing the “test” to compress to JPG and litter images with visual artifacts. Using @RWStandard ‘s post as an example, the visual artifacts that occurs would be prevalent throughout these illustrators’ images. The compression is much, much more visible on digital illustrations than in photography.

TL;DR: I would be much more comfortable with these changes if twitter were to provide an image preview, a tool, or a link to a converter such as the one @RME utilized for comparison, that would allow artists to see what their uploaded image will look like, or test images themselves so they can maximize quality while minimizing data costs on Twitter’s end. This allows the artist to put their best product forward within Twitter’s new constraints, instead of throwing compressed images littered with visual garbage out to their followers without understanding why their images were so thoroughly trashed.

If none of these proposed concessions are possible, then the best step would be raising the PNG size limit to a much more reasonable 1200px at largest (Still a whole 750px smaller than popular art sharing platforms such as Tumblr) at the cost of a little bit more of these “global user” speeds, as for complex illustrations, 1200px is a much more reasonable image size than 900px.


@NolanOBrien Please clarify how the uploaded JPEG image quality is estimated.

How do you avoid overcompression? Recompressing an 85% JPEG image will make it smaller in file size continuously degrading visual quality.

If JPEG quality is estimated from quantization tables, there are perceptual encoders like Guetzli that achieve lower bitrate using finer quantization tables.

It would be great if images in both JPEG and PNG formats were not recompressed if savings are too low, e.g. less than 5%, or bitrate is already reasonable.

I believe the major source of complaints about quality is 4:2:0 chroma subsampling (compare [1] and [2]). There are encoders that can achieve good bitrate without it. The Google compression team came to the same conclusions [3].

Using large master images certainly improves quality but relying on browser scaling is a huge performance hit starting with memory, e.g. 2048x2048 uses 16MB, which is critical for many users including mobile. Images with a smaller pixel size could look equally good if they were scaled according to physical pixel dimensions specified in the metadata. For example, macOS follows this convention when displaying images in Preview.

Small PNG images can safely have CSS style image-rendering: crisp-edges / image-rendering: pixelated applied. Default browser upscaling ruins pixel art, and while larger images work better, they are not unaffected.





One random note is this attached PNG has failed to upload (with a 500 ISE) both via the Twitter web UI and the Twitter API. Would be cool to see a fix for this.

I’ve fixed in our app by implementing a resize for certain conditions.