Surprisingly enough, based on the findings from my recent survey there are quite a bit of Fireworks users. Personally, I never used Fireworks. Photoshop is alway my first choice for designing—from image editing to designing mock-ups. But, did you know that Fireworks is way better than Photoshop in term of image compression? I’m not a software engineer, I can’t explain why Fireworks can compress better. But I can prove it to you by showing a series of experiments I did.
For testing purpose, I used an un-compressed image with transparency. I used Photoshop to export the image to PNG-24 with transparency and the resulting file size is about 352 kb. Then I used the same image and exported it to PNG-32 with Fireworks. The file size is about 332 kb. Visually, they both look the same (at least to me). In term of file size, the image exported with Fireworks is about 20 kb less.
Next I exported the image to GIF 256 colors, adaptive, with no dither. The results are: Fireworks = 88kb, Photoshop = 92kb. That is 4 kb less. Also, they don’t look the same. I prefer the image exported with Fireworks because it has more image details.
Now, I’m going to try the JPG compression with a different image. I exported the image with Photoshop to 60% quality JPG and the file size is 80 kb. Then I exported the same image with Fireworks to 80% quality JPG and the result is 72 kb. Both exported images look pretty much the same, but Fireworks beats Photoshop by 8 kb in this case.
Please note: Fireworks and Photoshop have different compression technology. 80% compression rate in Fireworks is relevant to Photoshop 60% compression rate.
What Is The Big Deal?
You’re probably thinking: what is the big deal? It is only a few kilobytes… Well, don’t under estimate the little difference in kilobytes, it can make a big difference on your bandwidth and load time. Lets use the background image on WebDesignerWall as an example. If I export the background with Fireworks, I can reduce its file size by 20 kb. I get about 16,000 visits per day on average. 20 kb x 16, 000 = 320, 000 kb. Yes, that is 320 megabytes per day! I’m only talking about the background image here. Could you imagine how much bandwidth I can save if I compress all the graphics on the site with Fireworks? Most importantly, I can make my site load faster and that is a big deal!
If you have Photoshop and Fireworks installed on your computer, try it yourself. You will be surpised with the results. From now on, I’m going to use Fireworks to export my web graphics, particularly the template graphics.