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Just for fun - I have a very strange concept of fun - I opened the default HW horse coat texture (CWRW_HWBay.jpg) in IrfanView and saved as PNG with various compression levels. The texture is 6000 x 6000, so your mileage will vary if your MR textures are smaller, but the results tend to bear out the file sizes you're seeing. If anything they might be larger than a 'pure' file - I'm assuming that any JPEG artifacts in the source file will be seen as additional detail which will be slightly harder to compress.
The original JPG is 2.89MB
PNG at level 6 (IrfanView's default) is 31.7MB
PNG at level 9 is 31.6MB - hardly any improvement
PNG at level 0 is a whopping 103MB!
I didn't try to time it, but there didn't seem to be any great difference in saving times between the different levels. A larger file will take longer to write to disk, which will tend to counteract the time saved by not compressing it as much. My recommendation would be to save as PNG at level 9. You won't lose any quality, and your file sizes will be as small as they can be.
Whatever method you use to set the compression level of your PNGs, bear in mind that since the compression is lossless, you won't lose any quality even if you use the highest level (= smallest file size). The downside will be that the highest compression will take a little longer to save and load, but it shouldn't be too bas even so.
Method... well the method Faery_Light found with a google search is a way of changing the PNG image from 'true color' to a 'paletized' image, although it's called 'posterize'. All these things can be done with photoshop, or paintshop. Try that.. i.e. reduce the color from true color to say, even a 32k color pallete. The difference is striking. Try a 256 bit pallete, unacceptable.
Here's a curious thing. In the Poser manual it says that a png export is saved with an 'alpha channel'. I do what Faery_Light and Miss B do and save renders in layers. Only so I can get lots of characters in the scene in stages. Anyway, when I load those images in Paint Shop it tells me there is no alpha channel, instead 32bit pixels. i.e. RGBA. Even if there is a semi-transparent 'background' IN the scene.
When working with Poser I've learned to speak Poseish. Muddles my head.
Well I worked that out. No thanks to contradictions in the Paint Shop documentation. One would think if there are 32bits there must be an 'alpha channel'. Finally determined that the Paint Shop references to 'alpha channel' are only for the .psp files. What I was trying out is if you open the .png from a poser render, and supposing it has no tranparent areas, like a texture, then could the file be reduced by disposing of the alpha channel. Now just 24bit color. But there's not enough difference in file size. Better get back to my props, but these things facinate me.
..and it depends on your eyesight !
And your monitor or your printer or the ink.
Probably the only person to actually stare at your render is you, the producer.
Most of the time a quick gaze is all you'll get and most folk won't really be able to tell the difference.
Like a good tale perhaps.
Who cares if the hand writing is crisp and fancy. The story is the main thing.
Another thing to keep in mind about PNG size: compression is one thing, another is the amount of data that is saved in your file. For example, if you don't need transparency, you can drop that channel and the file will be smaller. In Photoshop it's the little "transparency" tick box upon export. Other applications may have an option such as "RGB" vs "RGBA" (the latter saving the alpha channel).