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When you're trying to make the smallest image to send to someone, instead of using the File>Save As command, try using the Save for Web command. In the Save for Web command, you can see the original image, or the Optimized image. The Optimized image is what the file will look like, when all of these options have been applied to it. We can also look at a 2-Up view, where we can see both the original, as well as the optimized version next to each other. Now since this is a photograph, I'm going to change from GIF down to JPEG.
There's always a trade-off between the amount of compression and the quality of the image. If I choose a Low setting for my compression quality, you can see that the image starts breaking apart and we can no longer see the detail. Of course this also makes the file size much smaller. We're down at 34.26K. But the quality isn't acceptable. If I go to the Maximum compression setting then the quality looks excellent. Then I'm up to 500K, a significantly larger file size.
So I want to set my Quality down as low as possible, but still have an acceptable image. Here at Very High it looks good. And even at High it still looks good. So I'll leave it at High, which is a Quality of 60. If I had transparency in my original image, I could choose a Matte color in order to flatten that transparency. I can choose to Convert my image to sRGB. Include Metadata, such as my Copyright and Contact Information, and I can even Resize my image if it's too large.
Let's take the Width down to 800 pixels. They're linked, so that the Height will change as well and I'm going to change my Quality setting to Bicubic Sharper, because I'm sizing my image down. When I tap the Tab Key, the Save for Web dialog box recalculates, and now you can see that my file is much smaller, because I've resized my image down. If I want to know how long it's going to take to download this, I can use the fly-out menu here in order to get an estimate.
If needed I can also optimize to a specific file size by using this fly-out, and choosing Optimize to File Size. So if for example, I had to keep the File Size under 50K, I could click OK and the Save for Web would then change my Quality setting down to 48, to make sure that my file size was less than 50. When I'm finished optimizing my image, and I click Save, I can save this file. In this case, I'll save it to the Desktop and then click Save.
The important thing to notice is when you choose File>Save for Web, Photoshop will save a copy of that file. But you're left with your original file that you can work with in Photoshop. So when you're trying to make the smallest file possible, be sure to use Photoshop's File>Save for Web command.
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