Thursday, 23 May 2013

Google Analytics Report

In this blog post I will go over the Google analytics information, this will tell us various things about the average viewer of this site such as where in the world he/she is living, what web browser he/she was using when viewing it and also who stuck around and was a recurring viewer as opposed to who only viewed it once.

Since its creation my blog has been viewed 674 times as of today. A lot of these views may have been myself as I refreshed the page to see the changes I've made. Google analytics has also given me the page view count of today, yesterday and last week.

Next we can see the blog posts in order of highest view count.

An interesting statistic was the page views by country. As you would expect the country with the most visitors was Ireland with 458, next was the United States with 108 and after was Germany with 53, I found this interesting as I don't know anyone from the US or Germany and yet so many views came from those countries. I have a suspicion that those visitors were not legit.
I liked this next analysis because of the clean pie-chart that was made including the information, this is page views by operating system. By which it means which operating system had the most people view my blog from. Windows was first with 578 users as I would have expected next is from Macintosh with 34 viewers and after comes Linux with 25 viewers, personally I didn't think that the Windows users would massively overshadow the Linux and Macintosh viewers.

Finally we will look at how each visitor was redirected to my site, whether they linked from another page or if they searched keywords from Google, Colin Manning's site redirected most of my traffic due to there being  a list of all students in our year and their blogs on his site. The following sites that I received traffic from were those of my classmate's blogs.

Week 11

This is the last of this semester's required blog post. This week we are required to make a post including the analytics of our blog since its creation.

In the lectures this week we looked further into Google analytics and the various tools that can be used to find out more about the people who view your content. Colin also went through his blog and the information analyzed by Google.

I'm not sure whether I will keep this blog going or not, It's leaning towards the latter for the moment as I'm looking forward to summer but there may be a time that I return to this and pick up from where I left off.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Week 10

Colin had to attend a meeting that was scheduled at the same time as our second lecture so we only had one lecture for week 10.

In our lecture this week we went over Web Servers and the logs that it keeps, these logs typically include the IP address, time, file requested and the result. Logs are organized in such a way that reading them as is becomes very difficult.

This is where Google analytics comes into play. Google analytics is a website that interprets and displays the information on the logs in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, It also gathers information that is not shown in the logs that Google have from the user's IP address, this could include the user's general age range, his interests etc. Google does not have access to the web servers logs unless it is a Google server. In order to use Google analytics, a piece of code must be added into the webpage.

Our Image Compression assignment was due on the Thursday, however I did not attend college that day as I was finishing up my assignment to make the noon deadline. I found the assignment interesting and it was fun to work with Photoshop as I have never used it before.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Week 9

In the lectures for this week we went over Video Encoding and Podcasts.

We learned about video and how it is just images that are displayed quickly in succession, due to this the file size is often very large and requires compression. Colin gave us an example of a video pre-compression, If a video was 640x480 resolution and it was played at 24 frame per second with 24 bits per pixel. The file size of these specifications would create a file that would be 21 megabytes per second of video. Any video with a relatively long play time would amount to a massive file size, this is why compression is unnecessary.

We were introduced to 2 forms of video compression; Inter-frame compression and Intra-frame compression. Intra-frame compression works by compressing a single frame of video and Inter-frame works on compressing a group of frames together.

We then looked at podcasting in our second lecture. I'm quite familiar with podcasts as I've listened to various podcasts in the past. I've mainly stuck to audio podcasts as I listen to them on my iPod and streaming a video podcast would be too battery intensive. We discussed the origin of podcasts and we looked at all the genres of podcasts.

In the lab we worked on our blogs and our assignment 3 essays.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Assignment 2 - My results and thoughts

In conclusion to this I find that JPEG overall is the best format to use as the quality is very high and almost indistinguishable at quality option 9 than it is at quality option 12. This allows the user to keep the file size of the image low while have a decent image.

As you can see the graph of the quality option scale stays constant and having quality option 9 enabled rather than quality option 12 reduces the image file size by almost half of what it would be if reformatted to quality option 12.

I have found that when you must upload a GIF image, it is best that you enable dithering as it will increase the quality of the image while only increasing file size slightly. This is always the best option unless the image is a small logo with very few colours.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Assignment 2 - Image 3 report

American Football Nesting Dolls - PNG - 444kb
The third and final image of my assignment is of a collection of American Football themed Russian nesting dolls. This image is good due to the wide arrange of colours side by side. The original size of the PNG image I was given is 444kb. I will be reformatting the image into both GIF and JPEG formats in order to find the trade-off between size and the quality of the image.

JPEG Format Process

I first reformatted the image above to the highest quality (12) JPEG image I could, This alone dropped the file size from 444kb as PNG to 323kb as JPEG. The highest quality image is also the highest in size as show below

As you can see on the Y-axis, it shows the size in kb and on the X-axis, it shows each of the different quality options for JPEG reformatting on Photoshop CS6. You will notice that after quality option 9 that  the size of the image rises much more drastically than it did from quality option 1 to 3. This is the trade-off between quality and size.

First I will show you the differences on the smaller end of the scale:

Quality option 1 - 50kb

Quality option 3 - 64kb
You can actually see the pixels on the screen in the first image of quality 1, the image looks "grainy". When compared to the image of quality 3, you can no longer see pixels on the screen, the quality has improved overall and the size of the image has increased by 14kb.

Now onto the higher end of the scale:

Quality option 9 - 131kb
Quality option 11 - 221kb
To me there is almost no difference in quality between these 2 images although there is 90kb size difference between them. This size difference comes from there being more pixels in the image, to the naked eye, you cannot make out any distinct difference.

Therefore my recommendation for posting this JPEG image online would be to use the quality option 9 when reformatting it. This has the highest quality image while keeping the image size down. This is perfect for online use.

Quality option 9 has the best value quality setting whereas quality option 3 seems to be good enough quality, I would say quality option 3 is the lowest acceptable quality setting for this image

GIF Format Process

For reformatting the image to GIF, I must use the same process as I did for reformatting to JPEG however just changing the drop down menu. When I converted the PNG image to the highest quality GIF the file size went from 444kb to 134kb (without dithering) and 163kb (with dithering)

Dithering is a process by which you are able to simulate colours by arranging 2 colours in a checkered pattern to give the illusion that it is a different colour. It is useful in lower quality images where you can improve the quality of the image and keep the image size low.

Dithering Graph
As you can see, the Y-axis represents colour and the X-axis represents the amount of colours in the image at that level. There is a massive difference between 3 colours in an image and 32 colours, dithering or not. As you can see the quality changes over each image when the colours are increased are not as extreme as they are in terms of file size increase like JPEG is. The increase in file size is much more gradual from 32 colours up, There is no point where the quality starts to increase rapidly along with file size.

3 Colours - Not Dithering - 11kb

32 Colours - Not Dithering - 69 kb

As you can see there are only the colours black, grey and white in the first image whereas there are much more colours to choose from in the 2nd image. You can see by the floor in the backround of the 2nd image how the colours are dispersed, the more colours in the image the more real it will look to us.

256 Colours - Dithering -  163kb

256 Colours - Not Dithering - 134kb

As you can see in the difference between these 2 images, dithering increases the quality of the image a lot. If you were to compare the floor in both images you would see that with dithering, the floor looks clear and life-like, if you look at the image without dithering you see that the floor is pixelated and you can't make out each individual wood colour as you can in image 1.

 128 colours provides the best value to colours of this image, 64 colours would be the lowest acceptable quality setting. 3 colours just isn't acceptable to post to the web, dithering or not.

Assignment 2 - Image 2 report

Magazine Collage (598kb)
My 2nd image is a picture of a collage of magazine cutouts, The original image format is PNG and the size of the image is 598kb.

JPEG Format Process

I will firstly be formatting this into JPEG and then adjusting the quality of the image. The quality option of photoshop can also be translated into %. There are 12 quality options therefore each quality option is worth ~8% (8.333...%). If I was to reformat this image into quality 7 it would be the equivalent of ~58%

With this diagram we see that after quality 9 the image size begins to increase exponentially. I recommend the quality 11 option when posting images online in JPEG format, for this case the image size is 344kb at quality 11.

The graph above gives us a range for how much the image can be edited, The original PNG format image is 598kb, the quality 1 JPEG image is 78kb.

JPEG Quality 1 - 78kb

JPEG Quality 12 - 463kb

Here this difference is quite great so it would not be wise to use the low end of the quality spectrum when uploading GIF images to the web. The quality gap is too high. If we were to concentrate on the face of the man in the top right corner and tab between the 2 images, we would see that while the quality 12 image is quite crisp and clear the quality 1 image is very pixelated and bad quality. This is however to be expected when you reduce the image size by 385kb.

Quality option 9 has the best value quality setting whereas quality option 5 seems to be good enough quality, I would say quality option 5 is the lowest acceptable quality setting for this image

Quality 1 option JPEG is 78kb -The image is somewhat blurry at parts, I would not recommend uploading to the web.
Quality 3 option JPEG is 113kb  - Although it's a big improvement from quality 1, I still feel that it's not suitable for the web
Quality 5 option JPEG is  131kb - This quality option is much more clear than it's previous quality options, I would have no problem uploading this to the web

Quality 9 option JPEG is 221kb - Suitable for web
Quality 12 option JPEG is 463kb - Suitable for web

GIF Format Process

GIF file sizes are much more closely knit, The illusion of lower quality pictures having more colours is due to Dithering. Dithering the image involves simulating the appearance of colours not in the palette by arranging 2 colours in a checkered pattern in order to give the impression that there are more colours in the image. What this is similar to is mixing green and blue paint to create purple because you don't have purple paint to begin with.

128 Colour Image - Not Dithering

256 Colour Image - Not Dithering
If you look at the purple band in each image you can see that while the 256 colour image is easily supporting the shades of purple the 128 colour image has split the 2 shades and it is easily identified.
256 Colour Image - Dithering
128 Colour Image - Dithering
Once both images are dithered it becomes more difficult to know which image is which, Both of these images are usable for the web

64 Colour Image - Dithering
I would also be happy to post this on the web as the quality after dithering is good.

3 Colour Image - Dithering

3 Colour Image - No Dithering

 128 colours provides the best value to colours of this image, 64 colours would be the lowest acceptable quality setting. 3 colours is just not acceptable to post to the web, dithering or not.