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iTunes 'optimizing' = grainy, bloated, low resolution?

12665 Views 45 Replies Latest reply: Dec 6, 2008 2:28 PM by endriko RSS
  • WallpaperGuy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 30, 2008 12:59 AM (in response to Tinlad)
    Tinlad wrote:
    I haven't got much to add to this discussion other than a 'me too'. I first noticed the problem when I saved a JPEG in Mobile Safari to use as a wallpaper - the quality of the saved image was terrible.

    The quality of the iTunes 'optimized' photograhs is also frankly shocking.

    Hopfully this issue is merely an oversight and will be fixed in a software update soon...

    Me too!

    I notice that every time I save an image from Safari or from Mail the quality gets worse.

    Is there a workaround for this problem? I'm thinking that it might be a similar problem to the webclip icons:

    {quote}Instead of sticking with the recommended sizing I bumped it up to 158x158. When this gets scaled you’ll be left with a crisp icon that sits nicely amongst Apples crisp icons.{quote}
    http://playgroundblues.com/posts/2008/jan/15/iphone-bookmark-iconage/

    Maby "bumping" an image to another size will solve this problem?

    Another idea. How do the iPhone "know" if an image should be "optimized" or not? Are they using some kind of tags (exif maby?) inside the images? If so, maby adding these tags into the original image will make the iPhone skip the "optimization"?

    More ideas on how to workaround this problem??

    Message was edited by: WallpaperGuy
    Other OS
  • bizzyb0t Calculating status...
    I may have a decent workaround...

    When I noticed that Safari saved the photos I downloaded through the browser at what appeared to be a very low res copy, I was really annoyed. This is no doubt something that Apple has done so that you have a hard time getting nice photos onto your iPod Touch. Even photos synced from within iPhoto (on the Mac) are resized and bloated in size and also have a horrible reticulation plastered all over them. Again, DRM City.

    Well, anyway, if you download a pic through Safari and save it, it looks absolutely horrible yes? And the first couple times, I deleted it. Then I was curious about it so I wanted to e-mail myself a copy-- still looks like crap when I downloaded it from my e-mail on the computer.

    Then I downloaded a program from the App Store called "Scribble". It's just a tiny doodling app. It has a feature where you can doodle onto your pics and save the it. Well, I was going through my Saved Photos folder and saw a pic that I had downloaded via Safari and it loaded up into Scribble, clear as day. I didn't edit it, I just saved it from within Scribble and it saved a BETTER quality copy than Safari did!! Well, even though it's not been documented, I'm pretty sure that the higher-res copy is still in the iPod Touch, it's just displayed with horrible compression to discourage people from using Safari and the internet for getting pics. However, when you load it up in Scribble, it reads the file as it is in memory and bypasses the DRM scheme and when it's saved, the DRM "token" in the photo's info is stripped and so your Photo App displays it as-is without the crippling DRM filter.

    Hope this helps.

    tl;dr I just download with Safari, then open in Scribble, then save from Scribble and delete the DRM-blurred Safari copy.
    MacBook1,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM
  • WallpaperGuy Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Could you please provide some screenshots of original image, optimized image and scribbled image? I've tried your workaround, but couldn't notice any change in quality. I've tried it in iPhone 3G (2.1 firmware).
  • WallpaperGuy Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I would like to add something to my previous answer. Editing seems to be disabled. Sorry about double posting.

    I discovered that images that I've saved from Safari/Mail actually look crispy in the Scribble application!

    *This means that all images still have their original quality when saved, and that the problem is with the built in Camera Roll application!*

    A workaround (until the Camera Roll app become fixed) is to use an alternative application that has the same functionality as the Camera Roll app. *That should solve the problem!*

    The question is - is there an alternative Camera Roll app? Features should include:

    - Show the REAL image, without optimization
    - Show fullscreen images
    - Slideshows
    - Folders
    - Send to email/trash
    - Set as background
    - etc.

    Edit: I the Facebook 2.0 app there is an option to add an image. When I view images that way, they still have the low resolution. Conclution: There is something in the Scribble app that handles images better that other apps.

    Message was edited by: WallpaperGuy
  • bizzyb0t Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    It's not that the Camera Roll is malfunctioning. On the contrary, I think it's operating exactly as designed, and by all indications has been operating in the same manner for over a year now. It's survived not only hardware but numerous firmware revisions, so obviously, it's operating within the parameters that are coded into it +by design+. Until Apple releases an official statement or whitepaper on it, I'm going to assume it's not a bug or malfunction but instead +a programmed limitation+.

    The reason that I strongly believe that the Camera Roll is operating within it's designed specifications is that images saved from Scribble can be viewed in higher quality than the images saved directly from Safari/Mail/Facebook. So what would appear to be a low-res copy is only being displayed as such. If you download an image directly to Camera Roll from Safari/Mail/Facebook it looks blurry and low res. However, upon importing this seemingly low-res image into Scribble, you are then to find that the image itself is actually not what it looks like in the Photo app. And merely saving it from the Scribble app, the image is in a higher quality then the image seemed originally. So obviously, the data is all there, it's just displayed in a crippled fashion when you view it. It seems that Scribble doesn't re-add the DRM coding that makes it display so horribly. It can't because then it'd be crippling the images made from scratch in that app.

    I haven't tried other apps to see if they would work around the DRM for the photos, however, due to Apple's very strict guidelines regarding App Store software being better in functionality than the Cupertino team's apps, I highly doubt that there is an alternative app to the Photo App. Much like there isn't Opera for the iPod Touch/iPhone because that would compete with Safari. I have Opera mini on my 3 year old cellphone, so I know it's possible to have it developed for the iPhone OS.

    So yeah, your search for an app to view and manage your photos to replace the Photo/Camera Roll app is futile. The only other way is to use the free (it's $6.99 now, it was free) iPhone/iPod Touch app called Air Sharing and upload your photos to your device that way. The catch is, you can only view them through the Air Sharing app.

    It's just sad that we have to resort to workarounds for functionality that should "just work". I'm still debating whether I should return my iPod Touch or not.
    MacBook1,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM
  • WallpaperGuy Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I've analyzed a photo that was taken with the iPhone camera. I used Photoshop and clicked on "file info". The key "Camera Data 1" has the data "Make: Apple" and "Model: iPhone".

    If it is possible to add this metadata to online images (like wallpapers), then maby they (the wallpapers) wouldn't be compressed?

    Just an idea... I'm not sure how to test it. The "Camera Data 1" field is read-only in Photoshop. But there might be other ways to add this data?
  • bizzyb0t Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I don't have an iPhone. I just have the 2nd Gen Ipod Touch. I haven't gone into the Exif data to change things just yet. That'll probably be my next step though.
    MacBook1,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM
  • ikhare Calculating status...
    This is an interesting workaround that Scribble has provided. Though I think you guys have mostly figured out what's going on in Scribble let me give you a little more understanding on what Scribble does (I wrote Scribble).

    Scribble basically gets a UIImage from the UIImagePickerController and then rotates it accordingly via the CoreGraphics APIs (some images are rotated when you take a photo from the camera). Then I simply resize so that it fits onto the screen (320X480) also via CoreGraphics APIs and draw it onto the screen.

    So basically I am doing everything via CoreGraphics using the .CGImage property of UIImage that you get from the UIImagePickerController and am not compressing at all when I save back into the camera roll.
  • Charles Conway Calculating status...
    I tried using Scribble as well. Although the image looks perfect in Scribble, just like it does in Safari, resaving the image from Scribble back to the photo roll did NOT improve the display from Apple's photo browser.

    One thing that caught my eye again, is that the image appears to look better for a split-second in the low-res version while Apple's camera roll is loading the "high-quality" version. Occasionally if you catch the photo app off guard you can get it to display a low-quality blurry version momentarily until it gets around to showing you the high-quality one. The image I keep referring to, because it looks particularly bad, is a high-key image where most of the light-gray tones show up as flat white. When I see the blurry version it's quite clearly grayish whereas when the image fully loads it pops back to the blown-out white. This leads me to wonder if the images are going through some on-the-fly "optimization" for display as they're loaded.
    Dual 2.7 G5, Macbook Pro C2D, Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • WallpaperGuy Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    1) As you might know, all (or most) jpeg images contains a thumbnail. My guess (untested) is that the high-quality image you see for a split-second, is acutally the thumbnail(!)

    2) I can also share some news about exif data. I took a image, added the apple and iphone exif data (found in photos in Photo Roll). Then I put my ny image on the web and downloaded using iPhone Safari. Result: all exif data were removed and the image still looked bad in iPhone.

    3) Some days ago I filed a bug about this problem. Yesterday I got an answer saying: "After further investigation it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering. This issue has been filed in our bug database under the original Bug ID# 6225241"

    I've tried to find more info about bug id# 6225241 but couldn't find anyting. Not even when signed in into bugreport.apple.com. It would be interesting to find out the current status. Maby some info from this thread could be added to help out?
  • bizzyb0t Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Thank you very much for replying!

    I am a big fan of Scribble and even though I use it to make stuff, like handwritten notes and funny pictures, I use it a lot of the time to re-save photos saved from Safari and Mail. It seems to clear up the image every single time.
    MacBook1,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB RAM
  • msmwolfgang Calculating status...
    Ok, I've came here because I was resaraching about the same problem, what do I have to offer to this problem are some of mine findings.

    The iPhone display has a 163 ppi, while most of the monitors have 72ppi, and basiclly most of the web content developed are in 72ppi because there's no need to make it bigger, because the user won't see, and it will only be bigger in size, and this may explain the problem that happens when web images are saved from within safari.

    Now, why scribbled could 'fix' this or not, I can't understand why...

    Hope this is the problem and some guide to the solution ...
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • Charles Conway Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
    Display PPI is a physical property of the display and affects how large a given image appears on the screen. It should not however cause any change to the image such as those described by people above. It should certainly not cause an image to appear different when saved from safari and then emailed back to a computer.
    Dual 2.7 G5, Macbook Pro C2D, Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.5)

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