Yesterday while I was uploading a photo to twitter to send a merry christmas message to everyone I found what I could only call a mayor glitch in twitter, especially for image professionals. When you upload a JPG image to twitter the image is compressed by their service before it gets into their servers and the image quality degrades considerably.

This is a well know issue with facebook's photo service but it was just now that I noticed it in twitter.

Of course I have tried to reach twitter support but I have not received an answer yet. If they ever reply to me I will keep you updated.

Let's have a look at the following images so you can understand the problem. At the end I will tell you what is the solution that I have come up with.

The following image is the one I used for my christmas message. Here you can see the image in what I consider it to be its correct form, without any issues or compression artifacts.

Big world snow.jpg Clean image without artifacts

Big world snow.jpg Clean image without artifacts

The following image is exactly the same as before but after twitter has given it their treatment. Please note the amount of JPG artifacts that the image has gained. The problem is all across the image but can be noticed clearly on the background. Please see how there is a marked distorted halo around the little figures.

Big world snow.jpg after compression by twitter servers

Big world snow.jpg after compression by twitter servers

For the untrained eye the difference can be considered minimal o non existent, but the image is now ruined. Also it has lost some sharpness and definition so it gets a softer focus look due to the compression artifacts.

I spent a few hours searching for an online article that listed the steps to follow to sort this issue but could not find one. There are lots that talk about how to prepare the images for the banner at the top of the twitter profile, for the background and even for the profile photo but nothing about the terrible compression issue.

The solution for that problem is to use Photoshop to export the image using a specific image format that twitter and facebook servers won't mess with.

This are the specs that should be used:

Save image as PNG. 8 bits, 72dpi and using sRGB as a color profile.

Also keep an eye on the actual file size. It needs to be under 3mb for twitter and I do not know the limit -if any- in facebook.

This is the final result using the PNG image:

Big World snow.PNG

Big World snow.PNG

The end image is a bit heavier so it may take a little longer to load, but with today's fast internet connections it should not be a major issue.

Merry Christmas to all.