The human brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than it does written content, so images can work as a magnet to catch people’s attention. But images are a double-edged sword for any website.
People associate the quality of your site’s images with the quality of your services, so you have no alternative but to use high-quality images. On the flipside, high-quality photos are larger in file size than low-quality ones, negatively influencing the site’s loading speed. There is no need to mention how important a fast-loading site is. Under these circumstances, knowing how to resize an image without losing quality seems necessary.
Luckily, it’s possible to resize images and keep almost the same quality. On top of that, there are many online tools to do so for free. WordPress users are favoured because they have at their disposal some great plugins to optimize images. Stick with us to find out how to resize your images to get the most from them.
The Theory Behind Images
There are two types of images: bitmap (raster) and vector. Bitmap images are made up of a multitude of small dots called pixels. Each pixel has an assigned position and colour. A vector image is based on lines and curves displayed according to a mathematical formula.
Because bitmap images, such as JPEGs and PNGs, are widely used online, we will focus on this type of image.
Any time you resize a bitmap image, its pixels enlarge or shrink. There is no problem when pixels shrink because this action doesn’t affect the image quality. The issues begin when you expand an image. Try zooming in on a picture—you will start seeing small dots. They are the pixels.
Clearly, a pixelated image isn’t something to brag about, so you need to know how to manipulate images. But before that, you need to know the basic operations.
- Resize means to change the size of an image and keep the same number of pixels. They will grow or shrink depending on the new image size. Resizing a picture down is okay, but resizing up will cause it to become blurry.
- Resample means to change the size of an image without keeping the same number of pixels. Upsampling means adding more pixels to create a clear picture. However, it adds data to the image, which contributes to a slow loading site and occupies more disk space. Downsampling means to remove pixels (aka, reduce image size) to save more space, but you have to keep the resoultion in mind.
- Compressing an image means to reduce an image’s size to an acceptable level. You can compress images to save disk space and improve loading speed.
Resizing and Resampling Tools
You can resize and resample images using a plethora of software, such as Adobe Photoshop, MS Paint, and GIMP. Free online tools are the most comfortable ways to manipulate your images. Check out our recommendations:
Be Funky is a tool that not only gives you options to resize images but also allows you to add various effects, frames, and textures. The interface is intuitive, so processing your pictures is a real pleasure. The free version is enough to resize and crop images, but if you want to enhance your photos, you should go for the premium version.
The interface and the features of this tool aren’t too impressive. In spite of that, I have featured this tool because of its original idea. It allows you to resize images for use on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You no longer need to remember specific image sizes. Just upload the photos from a URL or your hard drive and select the new format. It’s simple, and you can resize any image without losing quality.
This web application does what its name says. Upload an image (max: 100 MB and 100 MP; GIF format: 30 MB and 10 MP) and manipulate it. You can crop, rotate, resize, select the format, and optimize the image. The app has a bunch of options, and you can test them to obtain the best results for your pictures.
These tools are quite useful, but WordPress users are accustomed to the idea that there is a plugin for every issue on the planet. Luckily, the WordPress repository is full of productive plugins for image optimization. These plugins resize images without losing quality and optimize them to save disk space. If you haven’t used an image optimization plugin, now is time to do so. We suggest the following plugins:
The WPMU DEV developers have created Smush It, a powerful image optimization plugin. It empowers users to resize, crop, and compress images without losing quality. Don’t worry if you have already uploaded images that weren’t optimized. Smush It optimizes all the images from not only the uploads folder but also other folders on your site.
Another plus of this plugin is the beautiful interface. It displays the number of images smushed and resized, the total space saved on your hard disk, and the estimated savings with the pro version. Smush It also has a premium version for webmasters who want more features.
EWWW Image Optimizer is another plugin to resize and compress images without losing quality. It’s free and has been installed by hundreds of thousand users and appreciated by reviewers. It resizes images to the desired size and compresses them using the most efficient methods. The built-in Bulk Scanner lets you optimize all your images from a single page.
Imsanity is a set-it-and-forget-it plugin; once activated, it does its job automatically. It has fewer features than the plugins above, but it scales and compresses images in a manner that satisfies users. Imsanity resizes large images to the desired size and bulk resizes the photos uploaded prior to its installation, and converts BMP images to JPG format.
There is no doubt that images play a huge role in the overall equation of a successful site. An eye-catching image is worth more than a thousand words while a poor image raises questions about your site. You have no option than to resize images without losing quality. The above tools are all you need in this respect.
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