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Old 10-08-2007, 04:00 PM   #1
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Images in MobiPocket

I have noticed that images in .prc ebooks are almost always smaller than in other formats (e.g. .lit). In principle, MobiPocket has relatively good support for images see: Image support and display. This page only mentions GIFs, but BMPs, PNGs and (recently) JPGs are also supported. The problem seems to be:
Quote:
Please also notice that there is a 64KB internal limitation for images (this is a restriction of the Mobipocket .PRC format). GIFs have to be smaller than 64KB.
The limit is actually a bit less than 64KB, but in any case this file size is reached by relatively smalls GIFs.

My favorite test book is Ring of Fire by Eric Flint from the Baen Free Library. I enclose screenshots from the .lit and .prc versions using FBReader under Windows (.prc under MobiPocket Reader looks similar to FBReader). The cover image is much smaller in the .prc file (a 40 KB 164x240 BMP) than the .lit file (a 65 KB 510x680 JPG). The last chapter includes a map, and it is again much smaller in the .prc (49 KB 293x159 BMP) than the .lit (56 KB 576x312 JPG). Note that the full size JPG map is less than 64KB, but JPG support is new in MobiPocket and I'm not sure how many publishers are using it (for backward compatibility).

I understand that .prc puts MobiPocket in a bit of a box with its record size limit, but Plucker can support large images in .pdb files. The mobigen command line converter automatically shrinks images, but that is why .prc ends up with smaller images. It does now have a -jpeg option, which helps if publishers are willing to drop support for old reader software.

The small image size might be ok if the MobiPocket Reader (and FBReader) autoscaled to larger sizes. There would be no new information in the larger image, but it would be easier to see.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:34 PM   #2
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MobiPocket does have this limit but using BMP files to show the limit is not reasonable as BMP is terrible in its use of space. Reasonable sized images can be obtained in gif, png, and jpeg using a 64K limit. One reason that images are sometimes small in mobipocket is that publishers and authors don't use the tool to its full advantage. You can actually embed 3 different image sizes for different devices but if you don't it will have to assume a small image to work with all of the devices.

When Mobi-pocket began they were on 160x160 devices that did not have the horsepower to reduce images on the fly. MS reader is targeted at at 240x320 devices with enough horsepower to reduce images (the latest version of the reader even have a view image command that can zoom the image). But even so, small devices tend to dictate limitations in both formats. 240x240 in phones for example.

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Old 10-08-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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How do we create mobi format files with proper image sizes for things like the iLiad and Gen3?
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
How do we create mobi format files with proper image sizes for things like the iLiad and Gen3?

That's a good question. I know I've managed to do it, using BD, on a few of the ebooks I've converted to .prc, but I'm not sure I remember what I did. I'll go back and look through the files.

Derek
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:46 PM   #5
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:51 AM   #6
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I've never managed to do it with BD. Images always seem to come out small, not matter what options I select.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
MobiPocket does have this limit but using BMP files to show the limit is not reasonable as BMP is terrible in its use of space. Reasonable sized images can be obtained in gif, png, and jpeg using a 64K limit. One reason that images are sometimes small in mobipocket is that publishers and authors don't use the tool to its full advantage. You can actually embed 3 different image sizes for different devices but if you don't it will have to assume a small image to work with all of the devices.

When Mobi-pocket began they were on 160x160 devices that did not have the horsepower to reduce images on the fly. MS reader is targeted at at 240x320 devices with enough horsepower to reduce images (the latest version of the reader even have a view image command that can zoom the image). But even so, small devices tend to dictate limitations in both formats. 240x240 in phones for example.
I agree that part of this is "legacy" from MobiPocket's targeting of small screens. My original take on the small images was that publishers were not using MobiPocket's ability to embed three image sizes - I have yet to find an example that does this. However, if you use mobigen to convert the .lit (exploded to OEB) version of ROF to .prc you get .gif images that take ~60KB each and the image size in pixels appears to be whatever fits in ~60KB (all small, but each one reduced by a different scale factor). It is possible to get "optimized" GIFs from 3rd party packages, but standard GIFs are far from optimized for file size. Using the new -jpeg option to mobigen fixes this, at least if the input is JPG.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:57 PM   #8
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So is there any solution to overcome the graphic issue? If not, it makes it rather annoying to purchase mobi books that contain graphics such as a biography (for example).
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
So is there any solution to overcome the graphic issue? If not, it makes it rather annoying to purchase mobi books that contain graphics such as a biography (for example).
What I've noticed is that the jpegs I've embedded in my BD prc files that show up in a larger size are the ones which are 640x480 or smaller. I've found the 320x480 works well. I've taken to using GIMP or PS CS3 to 'clean' and 'gussy' the cover images then I reduce them to 640x480 or thereabouts.

I'll try to pull some screenshots of several different image sizes later today.

Derek
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:33 PM   #10
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I recently purchased Live from Cape Canaveral, which has extensive photos throughout. The photos vary in size - the widest I would estimate at 1/2 the width of the Iliad screen, the tallest I'd estimate at about 1/4. Some clearly seem to be larger than what would fit on a Palm screen, although it could be at about the maximum screen size. The e-book is from e-Harper, so if anyone has contacts at Harper Collins they might be able to provide some insight into what they did.

(BTW - the book is outstanding, about 1/3 of the way in so far)
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
How do we create mobi format files with proper image sizes for things like the iLiad and Gen3?
I have confirmed that several (DRM-free) .lit books that include JPEG images can be exploded using ConvertLIT to an OEB book and then converted to .mobi using the command:
Code:
mobigen ebook.opf -c1 -s0 -jpeg
The resulting ebook.mobi file is readable using the iLiad MobiPocket Reader, and it includes large images. It also includes a formal TOC if the .opf has one. In some cases, the cover is reachable on the Windows MobiPocket Reader using the "Cover Page" link under contents - but not reachable on the iLiad. The file is not readable with FBReader, but I have filed a bug report to get this fixed (and the OEB version is obviously FBReader compatible).

So one possibility for making a .mobi with BD might be to instead make a .lit version. Then run it through ConvertLIT and mobigen. I can't test this because BD won't write .lit files on my PC (does it need MS Word to do this?). A better long term solution would be an improved .mobi capability for BD (or perhaps ePub will soon be a viable alternative, for BD and for MobiPocket reader - but don't hold your breath).
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
So one possibility for making a .mobi with BD might be to instead make a .lit version. Then run it through ConvertLIT and mobigen. I can't test this because BD won't write .lit files on my PC (does it need MS Word to do this?).
Yes, BD doesn't create LIT files itself - it uses Microsoft's "LIT Creator for Word" Add-in to do so.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:10 AM   #13
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There is another, free program to create a LIT ebook. It's called Reader Studio. I don't know if it requires MS Office, as I already have Office installed.

http://www.michisoft.com/programs/re...udio/index.htm
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:07 AM   #14
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I don't know how to link to the specific post but here is the post that started the 'Illustraations in Mobipocket' thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by andym View Post
I hope this is helpful. A couple of people recently have uploaded prc format books with illustrations. Unfortunately the illustrations are very small (at least on a 600x480 PDA - I guess on a low resolution device they'd be fine).

I don't know whether this is a quirk of BookDesigner (and maybe the illustrations look fine in BBeB), but there is a useful page in the mobipocket content development reference pages.

It's worth checking out the page itself, but the nub is that you can create links to 3 different versions of the image and mobipocket will pick the right one for the screen resolution of the user device. An example of the HTML to do this is:

Code:
<img hisrc="cover480x640.gif" src="cover220x300.gif" losrc="cover140x140.gif"/>
As I say - I hope this is useful.
You also need to convert graphics to gifs (IIRC there is support for jpegs in the desktop version).

If you want illustrations to show at the right size in mobipocket then I would suggest the workflow should be.

1. start with a decent html file
2. convert jpegs etc to gif
3. code the image tags in line with the mobi instructions (though I'd use higher resolutions than than those suggested by mobi - taking 600x480 or 800x600 as the standard screen resolution and 320x240 as the low resolution)
3. convert using Mobipocket Creator
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:27 AM   #15
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I don't know how to link to the specific post
Use the #NN link at the top right of the post.
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