Batch Processing your JPEGs with jpegtran

Posted by Mike Brittain on January 27, 2010

UPDATE: Please read my post about a new version of this image processing script.

Stoyan Stefanov wrote up a nice post last year about installing jpegtran on a Mac or Unix/Linux system so that you can run optimizations on your JPEG files.  His conclusion on jpegtran is that you can save about 10% on your JPEG file sizes for “about a minute of work, or less.”

Sounds great!  I looked it over and, indeed, jpegtran cuts some of the junk out of the JPEG files I tested.  The only holdup, however, is that at CafeMom we have a few thousand JPEG files in our site code, and that number grows every week.  The only reasonable solution was to automate this process.

The following Perl script should work right out of the box for you, assuming you already have jpegtran installed on your server or shared hosting account.


# Lossless optimization for all JPEG files in a directory
# This script uses techniques described in this article about the use
# of jpegtran:

use strict;
use File::Find;
use File::Copy;

# Read image dir from input
if (!$ARGV[0]) {
    print "Usage: $0 path_to_images\n";
    exit 1;
my @search_paths;
my $images_path = $ARGV[0];
if (!-e $images_path) {
    print "Invalid path specified.\n";
    exit 1;
} else {
    push @search_paths, $ARGV[0];

# Compress JPEGs
my $count_jpegs = 0;
my $count_modified = 0;
my $count_optimize = 0;
my $count_progressive = 0;
my $bytes_saved = 0;
my $bytes_orig = 0;

find(\&jpegCompress, @search_paths);

# Write summary
print "\n\n";
print "----------------------------\n";
print "  Sumary\n";
print "----------------------------\n";
print "\n";
print "  Inspected $count_jpegs JPEG files.\n";
print "  Modified $count_modified files.\n";
print "  Huffman table optimizations: $count_optimize\n";
print "  Progressive JPEG optimizations: $count_progressive\n";
print "  Total bytes saved: $bytes_saved (orig $bytes_orig, saved "
       . (int($bytes_saved/$bytes_orig*10000) / 100) . "%)\n";
print "\n";

sub jpegCompress()
    if (m/\.jpg$/i) {

        my $orig_size = -s $_;
        my $saved = 0;

        my $fullname = $File::Find::dir . '/' . $_;

        print "Inspecting $fullname\n";

        # Run Progressive JPEG and Huffman table optimizations, then inspect
		# which was best.
        `/usr/bin/jpegtran -copy none -optimize $_ > $_.opt`;
        my $opt_size = -s "$_.opt";

        `/usr/bin/jpegtran -copy none -progressive $_ > $_.prog`;
        my $prog_size = -s "$_.prog";

        if ($opt_size && $opt_size < $orig_size && $opt_size <= $prog_size) {
            move("$_.opt", "$_");
            $saved = $orig_size - $opt_size;
            $bytes_saved += $saved;
            $bytes_orig += $orig_size;

            print " -- Huffman table optimization: "
				. "saved $saved bytes (orig $orig_size)\n";

        } elsif ($prog_size && $prog_size < $orig_size) {
            move("$_.prog", "$_");
            $saved = $orig_size - $prog_size;
            $bytes_saved += $saved;
            $bytes_orig += $orig_size;

            print " -- Progressive JPEG optimization: "
				. "saved $saved bytes (orig $orig_size)\n";

        # Cleanup temp files
        if (-e "$_.prog") {
        if (-e "$_.opt") {

How to use this script

For starters, copy this script into a text file (such as and set it to be executable (chmod 755

After the script is setup, pull the trigger…

$ ./  /path/to/your/images/dir

That’s it.  The output should look something like this:

Inspecting ./phpXkWlcW.jpg
 -- Progressive JPEG optimization: saved 1089 bytes (orig 13464)
Inspecting ./phpCnBRri.jpg
 -- Progressive JPEG optimization: saved 1155 bytes (orig 34790)
Inspecting ./phpx6G3lD.jpg
 -- Progressive JPEG optimization: saved 742 bytes (orig 11493)



  Inspected 21 JPEG files.
  Modified 21 files.
  Huffman table optimizations: 0
  Progressive JPEG optimizations: 21
  Total bytes saved: 63918

Wrap up

Many thanks to Stoyan for his post on jpegtran, and all of the other performance ideas he has been sharing on his blog.  This script was easy to write, knowing the right techniques to be running on our images. took about a minute or so to run on our thousands of images and shaved a few megabytes from all of those files combined.  This will be a great savings for us.

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