Shrink-O-Matic = Fail-O-Matic

Shrink-O-Matic, (Seen here), make what looks like a handy little mac application that resizes/reformats and compresses images in one fell swoop. Its fast, easy to use and simple. So why am I calling it fail-o-matic? Quality. Image quality, to be percise.

A few days after using it I was looking at the images on my site, and I just noticed they looked noticeably blurred… I was looking at night photography, so I surmised it might just be the image. I went back and checked the originals– crisp and sharp. I figured I probably overcompensated with jpg compression. Ok, so i reduced compression in Shrink-O-Matic to 20% (or 80/100 jpg quality)… and still blurry… at this point, my ears began to perk, and I began getting suspicious. Im used to 70+/100 looking great  (in Photoshop anyway). So now I turn off size reduction and set image size/quality to 100/100, still blurry. Next I tried setting the format to PNG– maybe its just a jpg thing? Nope. Blurry. Original format with a small size reduction? Blurry. Finally, I used photoshop’s image save at 70/100 jpg with size reduction to 700px width for reference. Crisp and clear. Just to be clear, this was a CLEARLY noticeable blur (see images below).

Check these images:

Shrink O Matic, Jpg 80/100 quality, 650 width, ratio preserved:

Photoshop, Jpg 70/100 quality, 650 width, ratio preserved:

I guess I should point out that the Shrink o matic file is 50k and the photoshop is 100k. So clearly Photoshop is generating a larger and less compressed file. Still, the inability to get a crisp image out of shrink of matic regardless of compression or settings is a real problem.

Conclusion: Shrink-O-Matic may succeed at image resizing and size reduction, but if your application requires moderate or better quality, tread carefully. Artists should avoid Shrink-O-Matic like the plague.

If you own Photoshop and are looking for a fast way of doing simple actions (leveling, image scaling, changing file types) on multiple images quickly, check out the “batch tasks” feature in Photoshop. It can be a real time (and life) saver for artists and designers. Here’s an article that describes how to automate batch tasks in detail: Batch Processing Images Article. Great skill to have and you’ll probably kick yourself for not learning it sooner given how easy it is to do.

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