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New algorithm optimizes photo portfolios for the viewer’s screen and even CPU

Online photography portfolios are often a dance between quality and download times, but a new algorithm developed by Wix, the website-building platform, is turning that dance into something more sophisticated than a basic two-step. The new Pro Gallery allows photographers to choose the quality and sharpness while the software determines the viewer’s browser and screen to optimize for the best view.

Recently released globally, the Wix Pro Gallery plug-in lets photographers choose the quality (much as Photoshop prompts a quality level after saving a JPEG) as well as the level of sharpness after the upload. Quality is selected on a scale of 100, though Wix suggests keeping quality at 90 or lower, since the highest options create much bigger files without a significant change for the viewer.

Using that information, the algorithm then identifies the viewer’s browser, screen size, and server and adjusts the image to achieve the selected quality for that particular viewer. That allows the platform to speed up the webpage’s load time for a mobile viewer while giving someone with a 4K screen the best look.

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“The new Wix Pro Gallery is now the only gallery in the industry that allows users to have complete control over the quality of their images online on serve time and not just on upload time,” said Ronny Elkayam, the head of Wix’s photography division. “Changing image quality and sharpening on upload time or on the cloud is easy. Doing so after the image is processed for serving on different sizes and providing great performance is groundbreaking.”

The amount of time it takes for a webpage to load is directly affected by the number and quality of photos on that page, which is why many photographers resize their images for the web. While resizing will still shorten uploads on the photographer’s end, the new algorithm optimizes photos for the best view on the visitor’s end. The algorithm will even detect the user’s CPU and memory to maximize the use of speedy hardware.

“Photographers now have complete control over images when they are optimized per-browser, as well as when they are initially uploaded to the website,” Elkayam said. “This is an important distinction because when images are resized to fit different dimensions of browsers, they lose their quality. The gallery allows the photographer complete control over the quality and filter of the image at all stages of presentation online.”

The Pro Gallery’s optimization is also compatible with video files, transcoding each one to different formats and bandwidth variations so it’s ready to go with a version that best fits the viewer’s device.

Along with the optimization algorithm, the Wix Pro Gallery allows photographers to customize with different layouts, cursor hoover behaviors, and social sharing buttons. Those optimized images are also a bit safer with the option to turn off right-click downloads, so images aren’t as easy to steal.

Along with the introduction of the new Pro Gallery plugin, Wix announced a contest where three winning photographers will get to shoot the cover of Brides or Condé Nast Traveler magazines, or assist on a Vanity Fair cover shoot. Applications, created through a free (or paid original URL option) Wix portfolio, are due by August 9.