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P: Inconsistent JPEG quality with 1-7 slider in Export As

Explorer ,
Feb 20, 2022 Feb 20, 2022

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Today I update Photoshop to the latest (23.2) and now the Export As dialog does a miserable job on export quality. Even at the highest setting of 7, the pictures saved to web as JPG are _signiciantly_ bad. Just a day before—before I updated—the quality was no problem and the norm of what I had expected for the last few years.

 

Now, it’s so bad I have to figure out a workaround. This is not good with a week of critical photo work to bang out.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Employee , Apr 19, 2022 Apr 19, 2022

Thanks for the additional details. I now see what you are talking about. Looks like the values are incorrectly mapped. We'll investigate what is going on. 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 26, 2022 Apr 26, 2022

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@clifton_santiago 

 

Have you downloded my test PSD:

 

https://shared-assets.adobe.com/link/083fa644-e59d-4bd8-52ad-ca0eaa473e50

 

Turn visibility off or remove all layers except the bottom lossless version:

 

raw-orig.psd

 

And export/save out various highest quality versions to compare what I am getting on the Mac in 2021 and 2022 versions?

 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 26, 2022 Apr 26, 2022

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@clifton_santiago 

 

There must be something funky going on with your install.

 

I just tested with 2021 and 2022 in Windows. I even looked at version 2020 and compared an Export As 100% vs a 2022 level 7 Export and they are visually the same.

 

Again, I would ask that another user to test on their system with the same test file that I provided.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 26, 2022 Apr 26, 2022

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Look, when I brought up this bug, I thought it was a simple thing.

I'm sorry, what bug? 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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Hi Stephen. Yes, I see no difference in the layers on your PSD.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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quote

Hi Stephen. Yes, I see no difference in the layers on your PSD.

 

OK, but I asked if you could use the bottom layer (no lossy compression in this psd layer) to provide examples of what happens when you export.

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New Here ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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Hi Stephen. Okay, I am posting my issue again, and I think I can demonstrate the problem more clearly this time because I am not working on other things at the same time. 

 

Let's forget about legacy Export As. Its not broken, and I was just using to demonstrate that Quick Export is, after version 23.3.

 

Instead, today, I installed PS version 23.2 and used the Quick Export maximum settings there, then re-installed 23.3.1, and used the Quick Export maximum setting there. Below are the results.

 

clifton_santiago_1-1651051732855.png

And here is the exif of each one:

clifton_santiago_2-1651051855854.png

clifton_santiago_3-1651052067151.png

Also, here are the settings used. First 23.2 at maximum (100), second 23.3.1 at maximum (7):

clifton_santiago_6-1651052430323.pngclifton_santiago_7-1651052440975.png

 

Okay, and the visual evidence. First, PS23.2 version, Quick Export 100 (maximum):

clifton_santiago_4-1651052152894.png

Second, PS23.3.1 version, Quick Export 7 (maximum):

clifton_santiago_5-1651052200570.png

Its obvious that the second is much more lossy than the first, as one would expect from a file so much smaller than the first.

Here is a close-up if these are not obvious enough. As you can see from the layer name, the left is Quick Export 23.2 maximum, the right is Quick Export 23.3.1 maximum.

clifton_santiago_9-1651053012080.png

In summary, I propose that Quick Export maximum settings in PS 23.2 should look exactly the same as in PS 23.3.1. Instead, Quick Export in 23.3 and later, is much lossier at maximum than previously, as also indicated in the much smaller file size. I figure this must be unintentional, which is why I suggested it was a bug.

 

Of course, the work around is to use Export As legacy, at 100% to achieve the same quality as Quick Export 100% in previous versions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Here ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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See my reply to Stephen. I am suggesting it is a bug because the Export As maximum settings quality is much reduced now, compared to how it was in PS 23.2. I figured this was unintentional. If the developers deliberately want Export As maxiumum to be smaller and lossier than it was previously, then perhaps its not a bug.

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New Here ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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Sorry, this is why I am sowing confusion. I mislabeled the file names as Quick Save. They are Quick Export, which is what I intended. See below.

clifton_santiago_0-1651054003950.png

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 27, 2022 Apr 27, 2022

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A few weeks back, I started noticing that quick-exported JPEGs I was making were much lower quality than I expected. It used to be that "Quality 7" meant that the file would be about the same filesize and compression level as "10 out of 12" on the "Save As" JPEG settings, which is just what I wanted. But now Quality 7 means "very small filesize, and extremely heavily compressed", and I can't choose anything higher.

 

I learned through reading other posts about Quick Export on this forum that the problem is likely due to the recently change in how the UI interprets that "Quality 7" number. The new system works fine for the normal Export mode, because it interprets "7", the highest number you can set, as "100% quality". But *Legacy* Export is now completely broken, as the max value of "7" seems to be getting treated as "7% quality", which is VERY heavily compressed. And even with the Legacy mode checkbox checked, you can't choose a value higher than 7.

 

Could you please fix this? It's completely screwed up my workflow, as I now have to save every JPEG as a Copy, so that I can access the non-broken quality slider.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Just took a test image from 16-bit converted to sRGB, then to 8-bit per color. 

Save As... I picked JPEG, set the quality to 12

Quick Export, save the setting (quality 7)

Export As (Jpeg) save the setting (quality 7)

The three are pixel for pixel identical as seen in Calculation>Subtract one from each other. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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clifton, there is something wrong with your settings somewhere. I'd recommend a preferences reset.

 

All four methods produce the same sizes at maximum quality (whatever that happens to be):

export-sizes.png

The only slight difference is Save As, which is slightly larger - perhaps due to metadata, which the other three strip. Note the original date is retained.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Ah, that may be it: With "legacy" checked (which I don't have), the new 7 may be treated as the old 7. Haven't tried that yet.

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Exactly. This bug is specific to Legacy Quick Export. Not the new one.

 

The reason I use Legacy is because I always want to export to the same folder as the file I'm editing, and the new Quick Export doesn't do that (it always defaults to the last folder you exported to). If you set up an option to make the New Quick Export always default to the current folder, that'd also work for me, as I could stop using Legacy.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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A value of 7 and 7% are simply vastly different. And to be expected. 

When I toggle on and off the Legacy option in preferences, and no need to restart, the differences are pretty clear:

Use LegacyUse Legacy

Use Legacy: scale in percentage up to 100%

NoLegacy.jpg

Do not use legacy, the scale isn't percentage and maxes out at 7

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Do not use legacy, the scale isn't percentage and maxes out at 7

 

That's the bug. Legacy Quick Export didn't do that until the latest version, which replaced the 100-point slider with a 7-point one.

 

Or are you claiming that it's intended behavior that Legacy Quick Export can't output at better than 7% quality? Because I sure hope that's not what you're saying.

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Here's three images that show off exactly what's wrong:

Original PNG:

kindpng_5643837.png

 

Normal Quick Export as JPG at Quality 7:

kindpng_5643837 Quick Export 7.jpg

 

Legacy Quick Export as JPG at Quality 7:

kindpng_5643837 Legacy Quick Export 7.jpg

(Notice the extreme JPEG artifacting along the edges of the green field areas, which doesn't exist in the other jpg)

 

The ONLY setting I changed between those two exports was checking the Use legacy "Export As" checkbox in the Export Preferences.

Screen Shot 2022-04-28 at 12.01.41 PM.png

It seems likely that the Legacy Export As system is using the 1-7 slider in the same way that it used to be using 0-100 slider. So when it sees "7" it's like "Wow, this guy really wants to heavily compress that jpeg!" instead of "Ah, this guy wants a full quality JPG!"

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Ah crud, the forum software heavily compressed the JPGs I just uploaded. To see the quality differences, you'll need to click on it to view the original in a lightbox, rather than looking at the image directly in the comment.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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I'm confused as to what is 'wrong' here. 

Again, when I set the max quality for a JPEG, with differing scales, the results are identical. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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I get the problem now. With legacy export on, the quality setting in Quick Export isn't correctly interpreted. It's treated as 7% or something, very low quality, and size correspondingly small:

export-sizes_2.png

Turn off legacy, and there's no problem.

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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The problem is that the results aren't identical, which is obvious if you just look at my example. The 1-7 slider does not scale to 100% quality when using Legacy Quick Export. It does do that when using the normal Quick Export, but not when using Legacy.

 

The maximum quality setting when using Legacy is 7, just like it is when using Normal. But "7" seems to mean something different to Legacy than it does to Normal. And since the UI won't let me set the value any higher than 7, even when using Legacy.

Screen Shot 2022-04-28 at 1.30.46 PM.png

Saving settings after checking "Use legacy" and then re-opening the settings dialog doesn't make that slider go any higher than 7. Closing and re-opening Photoshop doesn't make that slider go any higher than 7.  That is what makes this a bug.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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My results are identical. And not evaluated visually but by pixel by pixel comparison. The latest release, on latest Mac OS.

7, 12 and 100% are different scales indeed. Whatever I use that defines max quality, the only way to set such at test, produce identical JPEGs. I don't again see the problem.

 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Closing and re-opening Photoshop doesn't make that slider go any higher than 7.  That is what makes this a bug.

 

Higher than 7?

The bug is the value is not sticky. Agreed. Once set, all is the same. If you select 7 (max) and apply this to an image, it reverts to 6 not 7. It should.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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The bug is with legacy export checked.

 

With legacy export unchecked, there is no bug and no problem.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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The bug is with legacy export checked.

The value not being sticky?

 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2022 Apr 28, 2022

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Are you using Legacy Quick Export? I don't see how you can possibly be getting "identical" results by doing the same thing I'm doing. 

 

My exact workflow for saving a JPG with Legacy Quick Export is:

Set the Export Preferences just like they are in the screenshot from my previous post.

File -> Export -> Quick Export as JPG (or hit the hotkey I've set for that menu).

Photoshop prompts me for where to save the file, and I press Save.

 

That's it. There's no quality step where I can choose 1-12, like there is with the Save As dialog. There's no "1-100%" slider anywhere. The entire point of Quick Export is that it uses the pre-selected settings from the Expert Preferences, so you don't have to be prompted for them each time. 

 

The bug is the value is not sticky.

 

No. The bug is that when using Legacy Quick Export, "7" does not mean "max quality" and you can't choose anything higher! It does mean max when using Normal Quick Export, but not Legacy. There is no way AT ALL to save a 100% quality JPEG using Legacy Quick Export. As I already explained in my previous comments.

 

This has been an extremely frustrating support experience. It's like you're not even reading my posts, and just completely dismissing my detailed and thorough explanations for what's wrong.

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