Feedback for "Upcoming Changes to PNG Image Support"

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#62

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:


#63

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.


#64

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


#65

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.

#66

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.


#67

@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.


#68

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.


#69

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


#70

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)


#71

And what about images like https://twitter.com/projectTiGER_/status/726092488478326784 ? If they’re bigger than 900x900 does that mean those will be destroyed as well, given that jpeg does not support transparency?


#72

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.


#73

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: https://twitter.com/Oricalcon/status/1081416456095584256

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.