New Tutorial: Transparency takes up a LOT of space!

Who is willing to admit – in public – that they are still unzipping, filing, and organizing the iNSD purchases they made in May?

I don’t like to admit it to myself, much less to anyone else; but it’s true.  I still have zipped files in my “To-Be-Unzipped” folder, just waiting for me to tend to them.

It’s not like I haven’t been busy. It’s not like I have forgotten them.  It’s just that I get so easily distracted.

I unzip a folder,  get excited about what is inside, and want to play with it. Before I know it, an hour has gone by, and it’s time to stop playing and get some work done.  I carefully file the contents of my ONE unzipped product, silently acknowledging that, yet again, the rest of the files will have to wait for another day.

However, there IS one thing I do faithfully when I unzip a product, and that is to give a cursory look at the images to be sure they have been properly trimmed of transparent pixels. Transparency utilizes a LOT of space on our hard drives.  I jealously guard my hard drive space, wanting to use it in only the most efficient ways.

Here is a screenshot of a bird I was working on, flattened, and saved without a final trim.  The result was a file 540.4 Kilobytes in size.


I immediately realized what I had done, opened the file, and trimmed the transparent pixels.  The resulting file was  435.0 Kilobytes.


There was a difference of 105.4 KB between the untrimmed and the trimmed versions. Not much difference, right?  But this was on just one file.

How many elements are in a digital scrapbook kit?  Let’s assume an average of 50 elements per kit. And let’s just make the assumption that every image is not properly trimmed, resulting in 105.4 extra Kilobytes per image.

50 elements X 105.4 Kilobytes (transparent pixels trimmed) is equal to 5270.00 Kilobytes, and that equals 5.14 Megabytes of unnecessary transparency.

Let’s take it a step further…How many kits do you have? Multiply the number of kits you have by the 5.14 Megabytes of space savings by trimming transparency.  That is a LOT of extra space you have to use for other things now!

Now, I know that I took this example to ridiculous proportions to illustrate my point.  I know not every kit has 50 untrimmed elements in it. Some (most?) kits don’t have any!  But what made me ponder this whole transparency issue is the fact that I DID open one kit recently that had a lot of transparency on each element, and I did save 2.3 Megabytes simply by trimming away the transparent pixels myself before filing the kit.

So what if you have an element with transparent pixels you want to trim? How do you do it?

In Photoshop you can use the Image > Trim option. However, sometimes this tool will cut a little too close to the image. If you use this tool, just be sure to double-check your final Trim.  It is a good practice to put a 5 PX Stroke around the image, then use the Trim option. Remove the Stroke, and save. Using this method you can be certain that none of the image was accidentally trimmed.


In Photoshop Elements, you can use the Image > Crop option; then adjust the cropping lines accordingly.  This is also an option with Photoshop too, of course.

There are also Actions that you can purchase that will properly trim images for you. It’s just a little faster than doing it yourself manually.

The important thing is, no matter how you decide to get rid of those extra pixels, just do it! Your hard drive will love you!


Comment (1)

  1. […] New Tutorial: Transparency takes up a LOT of space! – 1 freebie(s)? […]

    June 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm
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