Introduction: How to Make Your .jpg's Messy!! Saving Images With Compression Artifacts.

Sometimes high quality isn't the best looking. Saving an image at the lowest possible settings can improve the original look of it while completely transforming it. In this tutorial, I will go through the step that I have developed to create jpeg artifacts in an image for artistic purposes.

For this tutorial you will need:

  1. a image to work with
  2. and an image editor like Photoshop or Gimp

Step 1: Pick an Image to Use

For this tutorial I will use this pic of my room. It's pretty messy. But when we're done this it it will be beautiful and you wouldn't even be able to tell that there was mess to begin with!

When picking an image, take note of the size of it. Using smaller sized images that do not go over 1000x1000 pixels or smaller work best. This image is 640x480.

Also, keeping your original image and its copies in a separate folder will help you keep organized especially if you keep repeating the process.

Step 2: Save Your Image As a JPEG 2000

Pretty strange name for a file format! Who even uses it? Well, saving an image with this format gives you a bigger set of options for saving that allows one to lower the settings so far to stimulate compression artifacts. At the start of this step, make sure to "save as" so you can keep the original image.

Step 3: JPEG 2000 Settings

Once you select JPEG 2000, rename your file, and click save, the saving image settings window will pop up. First of all, lower the quality slider to 0 or 5, since we can still see how messy my room is.

Changing what "Wavelet Filter" is used will greatly effect how the image is saved. Using "Float" will give a sharper look to the artifacts while "Integer" will give it a softer look. Adjusting the quality slider will effect the intensity of these two options.

Another option given is "Tile Size". It can be useful for your final generation of images but mostly I keep it set at 1024x1024. Lower options such as 128x128 just add too much mess, and I really don't need more of that.

Just for fun, the last image shows the quality of the lowest quality setting when saving as a regular jpg. It's not as dramatic compared to JPEG 2000, you can see my mess and I don't want to see that.

Step 4: Open Your Newly Saved Compressed Image and Save It Again

This step can be repeated as much as you want to. Nothing is stopping you from annihilating any or all identifiers from the original starting image. Every generation that you save will obscure and alter the image until you can't even tell that my room is messy. Heck, it will look pretty pretty!

Also at this step, you can apply some small edits to the image before saving again to help add to the compression such as changing the image to a smaller size and using the "Sharpen More" filter once or twice.

When saving the subsequent generation of JPEG 2000 images, make sure to uncheck "Fast Mode" to give you full control of the JPEG 2000 saving settings.

Step 5: Final Touches

Well look at that, isn't this a nice looking image? It's so abstract. What could it be? Not a messy room, that's for sure. Not something that you feel trapped, something that can't be resolved, something that is a representation of your current state that eats you alive. This is something that is fresh and free to continuously change overtime and move beyond the limits of its former. Now you're ready to add the final touches and share it with your friends on social media!

Open the final generation of your image and adjust the size as needed. Scale it up to something around 200% to 300% of its size. After that, you can use the "Sharpen More" filter a few times again to bring back some lost detail while resizing. Now save your image as a jpg or any format you desire. With my example, I saved it as a jpg and set the quality to the lowest setting. This just adds another layer of texture and obscurity to the image, but it is optional.

Thanks for reading! Just remember that even the ugliest and most hated elements of yourself that you manifest into reality can be treated and made beautiful over the generations!