FeatureRequest: exemptions / alteration to background image upload

Please do not respond to this post without reading it fully.

I suggest alterations (either generally, or specifically) to help users work around an unfortunate (and I assume, unintentional) limitation when dealing with profile background images.
I’ll explain the situation first, then give my opinion on it.

Here’s the experience:

I could use my “me at my laptop, in my room surrounded by easter eggs from my stories” commission (which is quite suitable) for my profile background. I upload it (no idea what size or file type, let’s say 700kB .png) and it creates a 75kB uploaded and saved background image.
Decent quality.
Efficient use of memory and storage; 75kB.
Thumbs up.
Everything seems to be working well.

Now. Problem time.
The image is repeating head-to-foot, and it doesn’t repeat well. Why? It just so happens to be one that doesn’t. I’m sure users can also upload backgrounds that do repeat well, but this isn’t that kind of image; The floor is abruptly cut into by the roof and ‘I’ keep reappearing at my laptop, again and again as you scroll down, It looks dumb, and I look dumb, and the page looks dumb.

OK, so I open my editor and create an elongated version. Just an extra massive lump of single colour ceiling on the top and floor on the bottom (I went into a graphics editor and did this, I’ll post examples on discord).
My image is now 750 x 2200 pixels (extremely tall) and is basically the same image, except with a massively elongated blank floor to prevent the background from repeating and looking dumb.

I upload. Aha, snookered.
I’ve exceeded the 1200px longer side, and now my background is compressed down to a 30kB file, rather than the 75kB file it was previously, simply because of the metrics involved.

My background is now cropped well and it doesn’t repeat no matter how far down you scroll (unless you scroll far beyond my profile’s text and windows, and why would you?)

But now the image is horribly over-compressed to fit the unfair parameters for an image of its canvas shape, and for no good reason. The file is tiny anyways and besides it’s 40% smaller than it’s processor, and besides besides, even that was tiny anyways, and besides, besides, besides, the new elongated version was fairly small before upload anyways (I could easily make it a 150kB jpg with no grevious loss of quality, and I’m guessing it could easily make a sub-100kB.webp of acceptable quality too).

So my choice is unreasonable compression I can’t do anything about to avoid the repeating, or, background repeating I can’t do anything about to avoid the compression.

I suggest one of:

Filesize only based compression rather than longest-side based compression, for either background images specifically, or, images generally because this would be fine IMO; if the issue is file size, make the compression threshold file size, whaddya got against rectangles ova hee?

That, or,
Separate upload parameters for profile background images specifically, like how our avatars have specific upload parameters.

Either of them, or,
A minimum image file size in which images are converted (to webp) only but not rescaled, or, not converted or rescaled at all, or, either of those things but for background images only.

The problem is not so much the scaling or the compression, it’s the way background images work.

Unfortunately, the options I have are rather limited. I can only tell the browser to repeat it or to show it once only. I cannot tell it to put some space between the repeated backgrounds.

In your case, I guess the best option would be to put like 100px of background color at the top and the bottom of your image. Then the image would still be repeated, but with some spacing in between, which makes it look less strange.

This is better than any other option. If you send me the original image, I can do the change for you.

Looking at your image, I could also offer to scale the background image with a higher resolution at the y-axis, like 3000px. That would make it easier to make large scrolling background images.

That’s easy enough to do.

First of all, bam. No need. I can just do it myself once you make the change
(it’s really not a hard task :sweat_smile:)

And second of all, bam; problem completely solved.

Two bams in one.

I wonder if maybe we’re trying to solve the wrong problem here. It seems to me that the repeating is the big problem, so why not make repeating backgrounds optional? A single image at the top would probably look much better, especially if you vignette it so that it fades to transparent around the outsides.

Of course, some people may still want it to repeat (textures, collages, that sort of thing), so that should still be an option.

A third option is to have a background that stays still as you scroll. I have no clue how that’s done, but I’ve seen it on one or two sites. I suspect it would be something like how the header here is done, but then text scrolls over top of it.

These all strike me as better solutions than trying to futz with image types/sizes/compression ratios, since no matter what you do on that front, someone will always want something more/better.

A fixed background (non scrolling) is actually a very good idea!

Thanks Robin! I forgot that this is also a good option (even though I know how it’s done, actually ;))

1 Like

You began with “maybe we’re trying to solve the wrong problem here”, but then nothing you said after that clashes with being able to upload very rectangular images free from pointlessly excessive bit crushing.

Like, A, we are solving the right problem, if the problem we’re solving is the problem the topic is about.

and B, the rest of your post is just “good ideas anyways” of which, none compete with the fix.

I-and-the-request-topic are in it to solve the bitcrushing-of-very-rectangular-images, which is apparently now solved.
And now I’m about to go tinker with my profile, to see if I can turn that ‘apparently solved’ into a ‘demonstrably solved’.

Well, one of the original issues was that it doesn’t look too good if the background keeps repeating while scrolling down.

This is even more apparent on a mobile phone. Try it, I was a bit surprised how bad the background looks on a phone at first, as it keeps repeating over and over again (due to the fact that you have to scroll way more on a phone than on a desktop). I changed my own background to an image that doesn’t look that bad when it’s repeated, as in the end, I ran into the same problem as you, Spiders, that my original image just didn’t look good.

So Robin’s idea to pin the background so it doesn’t scroll at all but just stays put would solve your problem as well. It is, in fact, a very good idea.

It would be nice if you got out of hostile mode. I mean, you have done nothing since the changes but rag at Martin and now when I try to present alternatives because I think changing file formats and such is literally the wrong problem to be solving (and one that is generally a bad idea in terms of web standards), you start ragging on me too. At least that’s how your post came across to me. You’re not going to solve anything by constantly being hostile. Try listening instead of just bitching.

You have a legitimate gripe, and that’s fine, but it’s not always going to be your precise solution that will solve it. Sometimes, there’s a better way that doesn’t resemble your way at all.

I agree with the sentiment. I just disagree it fits this scenario.
Either way, I no longer have a horse in the race, and I’ve had my specific issue solved.