Though it’s a little difficult to gauge just how many webmasters browse MakeUseOf, any one that you talk to will let you know that image optimization and sparing every bit of bandwidth possible is a key to running a successful and affordable website.
The PNG is the FLAC of the world of images. We all love PNGs. They are a lossless replacement to the patent-locked GIF and make transparency look beautiful. A good portion of the images you’ll see in our articles, especially screenshots, are PNG. It’s a great alternative to the single-frame GIF and the JPG doesn’t even come close in the realm of quality. One thing that both other image formats do hold over top of the PNG is weight. PNG comes off a little heavy.
To help remedy that problem, we have PNGGauntlet. PNGGauntlet is the best tool that I’ve ever used when it comes to putting your PNG images on a diet.
From the above screenshot alone, it shouldn’t be difficult to eyeball the general procedure. Navigate to any folder within Windows Explorer and drop the images that you’d like to optimize into PNGGauntlet’s interface.
Optionally, you can click Add Images to bring up a prompt that will allow you to manually browse your hard drive. Make sure you select an output directory, also. While we’ve got everything ready to go, now would be a good time to go over the configuration of PNGGauntlet.
Click Options under the Tools menu.
If you don’t have the beefiest machine, running compression on lower priority may be best. The last option on this window is in respect to the fact that PNGGauntlet will also convert JPG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP files to the PNG format.
The other tabs in this window will allow you to configure options to each plugin that PNGGauntlet uses.
As you can see, the options get very specific for PNGOUT. OptiPNG will allow you to set a level of compression and DeflOpt will allow you to preserve your images’ metadata.
After you’ve tweaked everything to your liking, go back to the main window and you can now feel safe to click Optimize.
I went ahead and hit Google for a picture of a cat in PNG format. Here’s what we’ve managed to do:
In just a click, PNGGauntlet was able to compress this image by 37%!
Here are those two images:
If you can’t tell the difference, it’s because there is no visual difference! The PNG on the left is about 45 KB larger, though. This compression was made using the default options of PNGGauntlet.
If you’re looking for alternatives on OS X or Linux, the PNGGauntlet website offers those. ImageOptim is great for Mac and Trimage for Linux. I’ve not tried either of them, but if they’re anything like PNGGauntlet then they’re definite winners.
Let me know what you think about this image compression tool in the comments!