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space Email Ulead SmartSaver 3.0: Make Every Graphic SuperModel Thin

By Rebecca Frances Rohan

On the web, images can never be too rich or too thin. Ulead Systems Inc.ís SmartSaver 3.0 helps keep graphics visually rich while making them byte-light. For Web builders, itís a great tool for keeping sites visually interesting without the wait for massive images.

This stand-alone Windows utility opens 15 image types ranging from BMP to TIF. It lets you pick the perfect balance between quality and size while converting files to GIF, JPG or PNG. SmartSaver also enables you to simultaneously compare an original to a final image as you make adjustments.

SmartSaver automatically reduces 16-million-color (True Color) images to the 256- or fewer colors required for GIFs, and you can interactively tweak that number between 4 and 256 while eyeballing the results. For JPGs, you can adjust the quality range from 0 to 100.

With PNGs, you can try the image in 4 to 256 grays or colors, or shift to True Color. Quickly click among three tabs marked "GIF," "JPG" and "PNG," to compare the best optimized format for a given image, along with its byte count.

Ulead Systems Inc.
Ulead SmartSaver 3.0
MSRP : $39.95 upgrade
$19.95, free 15-day trial
You can interlace GIF and PNG images, and make them transparent by picking multiple colors with an eyedropper or by importing a mask. Besides optimizing a GIF or PNG by the number of colors, you can use your own PAL (palette) file or choose Netscape-safe or Internet Explorer-safe palettes.

JPGs can be progressive, standard or optimized. SmartSaver even makes it appear that you can choose transparent areas on a JPG, but thatís not possible with the current JPEG standard: What youíre really doing is painting the background color or background image of your choice onto the image where the "holes" in a transparent image would be.

In SmartSaver 3.0, you donít have to figure out the palette position of a color or every color in a range to make the area transparent. Just hold the CTRL key and drag the eyedropper over the whole area you want to make disappear. You can even specify that only adjacent colors evaporate, in case theyíre repeated in an area you donít want to eliminate.

SmartSaverís batch processing takes a giant liposuction tube through whole sites, trimming the wait. A separate Animation SmartSaver is included to remove unused colors, reduce colors, and remove comment blocks from animated GIFs created elsewhere. You can even resize and crop images within SmartSaver.

Overall, SmartSaver 3.0 is a smart way to save bandwidth and time, and make your Web clients very happy. endstop

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