For the love of all that you hold dear, compress those bitches! It's not just for us poor souls still on dial-up ... it also helps Chris out tremendously with the bandwidth usage. He's already had to ban the use of the Image File Hosting for remote pics (ie: pics you use on other forums) ... I'd hate to see him have to ban sig pics all together because you people don't compress them.
Jeremy, I'm not picking on you, just using your sig pic as an example.
Original @ over 100k
70% Compression @ under 40k
50% Compression (Used "Save For Web" feature) @ under 20k
It's amazing, isn't it? Without close inspection they look identical. Even with close inspection they look almost identical.
Not every sig pic will have the same results ... for instance ones that use a lot of red colors, as red tends to get blocky under compression. All images get blocky under compression, but red seems to go to a higher extreme, and at less compression.
BAD: Compression of 10 - 12 (12 was added with Photoshop 6 and higher, used to max at 10). There's no need for this level of compression unless you're archiving images ... and you shouldn't be archiving images in Jpeg format in the first place.
BETTER: Compression of 6 or 7. This is adequate for most cases. Red's also don't look terrible at this compression level (70%)
BEST: File > Save For Web, Compression Medium (30% normally, raised to 50% to clear blockiness) (Photoshop 5.1 introduced this handy feature, and all versions after also have it ... SO USE IT!). This tool pulls up 1 to 3 windows, in addition to a window with the original image in it. It allows you to play with different compression settings, while being able to see the final results in real time. So you can compress the holy fuck out of something, and compare it to the original image... if it's suitable, save it and post. If it's too compressed (blocky), then fuck with it some more until you get something that's both acceptable to you, and as small as you can get it.
(The screen caps were reduced in physical dimension to 75% of their original size. This image was also saved using "Save For Web", at High compression (or 60%), to keep the reds from fucking up. Dimensionally, it's about 6 or 7 times the size of the sig pic ... and it's still
smaller in file size than the original sig pic above... )
When you can compress an image down to less than 1/5 of it's original size, and not fuck up the image quality ... there's no reason not to.