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Old 09-20-2013, 12:37 AM   #1
GrannyGrump
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Sony Reader for PC -- not rendering 16-color png

I know this subforum is primarily for the Sony devices, but I have questions about the Sony Reader software for PC. (My reader is dead, and not replaced yet.)

I have converted some grey-scale illustrations to 16-color png. They look fine in Sigil, in Calibre Reader (so QT-web is apparently all right with those). They look fine in ADE (Adobe Digital Editions) for desktop.

In the Sony Reader software, they look like they are rendering as maybe only four colors. Possibly eight. It's hard to tell.

On the other hand, 256-color greyscale renders fine. Also 16-million color.

(I thought Sony reader is based on ADE, so I am doubly confused.)

This is the first time I have used 16-color, always used 256-color previously. Since this public domain book has over 300 illustrations, I want to make sure the images will display correctly for other users before I upload to the library.

Does anyone have advice?

Or, barring advice, could a few kind souls test the attachment, and see if their reader shows the sample illustrations decently?
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Last edited by GrannyGrump; 09-20-2013 at 02:15 AM. Reason: add screenshots
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:25 AM   #2
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I've downloaded the files and will test them this evening - so you probably won't see this or my response till tomorrow. How will I know whether it 'works'?
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:47 AM   #3
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Well, if the epub pics look like the second attached screen-shot "SonyReader test 16color png" then I will probably have to change my illustrations to 256 shades of gray. That would imply that Sony devices can't handle 16-shade pngs properly.

If the epub looks more like the ADE screen shots, then I can assume that it is the ReaderSoftware that has a rendering bug, and press on with my 16-shade pngs.

Thanks for checking for me.
:-)

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Old 09-20-2013, 05:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by grannyGrumpy View Post
Well, if the epub pics look like the second attached screen-shot "SonyReader test 16color png" then I will probably have to change my illustrations to 256 shades of gray. That would imply that Sony devices can't handle 16-shade pngs properly.

If the epub looks more like the ADE screen shots, then I can assume that it is the ReaderSoftware that has a rendering bug, and press on with my 16-shade pngs.

Thanks for checking for me.
:-)
Here is what I've found, though I've no idea why.

First let me say that I randomly selected an image from The Innocents Abroad - Blucher coming off his donkey - and found that that image rated 5 out of 5 on both Sony T1 and T2.

Then I checked your two images as below, with 5 being perfectly acceptable, 3 not acceptable, and 1 (if I'd seen a 1) being so poor I couldn't make out what the image was.

iPad/iBooks: 5+
Sony T2: 5
Sony T1: 3 - too fuzzy and speckled to be acceptable.
Kobo Touch: 3 - as above
Kindle Keyboard: 4.5 - I'd have used it, but it did not look as not as good as on the the Sony T2.

I have no idea why the appearance on the T1 was markedly poorer than on the T2. The T1 is older of course, but Blucher looked just as good on the T1 as on the T2.

If we were to collaborate again I'd prefer you sent greyscale jpgs, not images done the same way as these two.

I don't think I've seen a posting before in which the same images have been viewed on several different readers. Do you think this thread might fit better in the Workshop forum? It's not just a Sony problem.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:42 AM   #5
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Thank you for testing the images on different devices. I had thought it was only a problem with Sony Reader for PC, but it looks like a much more widespread difficulty.

As I said in the first post, I never used 16-shade greyscale before, but I had seen several member post here that they use that for illustrations, and I experimented. Makes nice small png files, and they look great on computer screen in ADE and in my graphics editor, but they are not too useful if they aren't reliable on ereaders, and other software. So, yeah, back to 256-color for this project, or I will never get it uploaded!!!

Your thought to move this to the workshop is very canny. I will ask the mods to move me.

Thank you again for taking the time and trouble to investigate.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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well, as I hope some members will note, Alex tested some of my 16-shades-of-gray PNGS on several readers, and got mixed results.

I had always been under the impression that if a reader could render 256-colors, it certainly should be able to render 16-colors.

I would surely appreciate if some more folks could do some testing, both with the epub I attached to the first post, and with some other 16-shades-grey pngs. Maybe my graphics editor does something weird to that particular combination (PaintShop Pro, v 9)

I hope to hear from some of you, and try to track down where the problem is centered.

Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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There is a known bug in the Adobe engine with PNGs with less than 8 bits per pixel. See the reader test for example:

PNG Support: 2-bit and 4-bit PNGs have problems, they show spurious hatching in gray areas.
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:41 AM   #8
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There is a known bug in the Adobe engine with PNGs with less than 8 bits per pixel. See the reader test for example:

PNG Support: 2-bit and 4-bit PNGs have problems, they show spurious hatching in gray areas.
Thanks so much, Jellby. I missed the test file completely when it came out, and look forward to running it on my ereaders. Would you be willing to take suggestions to add other features from time to time?

So far as I know Kobo ereaders don't use ADE, but Sony T1 and T2 do. So I still don't understand why there is a difference between the T1 and the T2, or (to put it another way) why the display on the Kobo is very similar to the display on the T1, and both are different from the display on the T2. My wife is away from home at the moment, and has taken the family camera with her. When she gets back at the end of the week I'll try to upload some photographs of the displays.

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Old 09-22-2013, 03:11 PM   #9
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@ grannyGrumpy

You may reduce the number of colors to 16 and then increase them to 256 again and save the picture as png. So you get a 8 bit color file (256 colors) but it still has only 16 colors and the small file size.
BTW: I work with Paint Shop Pro 5.

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Old 09-23-2013, 01:32 AM   #10
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@Jellby, thank you for that info. Now I know not to beat my head against that brick wall.

@ GMcG -- that is very clever, thank you so much for the tip! I know what I will be doing tonight. (Are you as addicted to PSP as I am? I have been using it ever since it was a shareware on some demo CDs offered back in the mid-1990's.)

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Old 09-29-2013, 05:44 AM   #11
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@grannyGrumpy

When I played with the picture file, I've got a difference of 5 % in the file size, compared to the original picture with 16 colors (instead of 10-25% like you).
But why don't you save them as jpegs? I know that most MR members prefer the png format, because it is lossless. But you have greyscale drawings with only 16 colors. You don't loose more quality, if you save them as jpegs.
I have done the same procedure with a jpeg drawing as with the png drawing and then I have saved it with a compession rate of 0%, 50%, 70%. I must say that I don't see any difference, even when zooming in the picture (bad eyes?). But the file size is remarkably small.
See the palettes below. One is 256 colors, the other is 16 of 256 colors. Because the colors are 241 times black, it makes no difference in the quality when compressed (my understanding).

(I got PSP like you as shareware in the 90's and I am so used to it that I prefer it even to newer versions of PSP. You should try also IrfanView, which is free, small and very useful. I use it especially for optimizing files in jpeg format (plug in with good results). IrfanView also offers batch conversions of any kind, like renaming, file format, color depth, quality, cropping, resizing and so on. Think about it, if you have hundreds of pictures to deal with.)

George
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:12 PM   #12
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@GMcG
Thanks for the additional testing. I will experiment with a larger test-base to see if my percentages come down---I only checked with 5 images.

I do usually use png, because jpeg seems to spit and spray a lot of pixels around, so there is often a faint halo of "outliers" around the edges and lines of line drawings. In this case though, I went with jpeg with a compression rate of 30%, and because the dimensions of the images are so small, the halos are not noticeable.

Thanks for the recommendation for IrfanView. I have it on my drive, but have mostly only used it for viewing -- the thumbnail view is useful. I am chicken about batch-processing. I will get brave when I get ready to finalize my current batch of 330 images!
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #13
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If you specifically save a jpg as a gray scale image (256 levels of gray) it is a lossless format.

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Old 09-30-2013, 10:22 PM   #14
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@DaleDe -- thank you for that tidbit of info --- I had not known that before.

Another useful thing that I did see 256-greyscale do, is shave a little size off the jpeg, compared to just using 256-color in "100% desaturated" mode.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:29 AM   #15
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If you specifically save a jpg as a gray scale image (256 levels of gray) it is a lossless format.
Have any proof/papers/books/details on this topic?
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