As you've probably noticed, SP-Studio only allows you to save your pictures as a .jpeg file when using the "Save" button on the site. This is unlikely to change due to coding restrictions, but fortunately it is a relatively simple matter to save your pictures as other file types, and here is a beginners' guide on how to do so.
Why should I bother? Jpeg seems alright to me.
Okay, fair enough. If you just want to save your picture quickly and with minimum fuss, saving it directly off the site works fine, and if you're happy with that then this guide isn't for you. But unfortunately if you care about preserving image quality, particularly if you want your picture to look the very best it can, then the .jpeg format doesn't cope with this very well. For example, here's a picture saved using the button on the site:
(Excuse the ugly colours, but this is most noticable with strong reds, greens and blues, so that's why I used them.) It doesn't look too bad, sure, but look closely (especially at the top of the hair). Notice the way the colours bleed together? Because .jpeg is a "lossy" file type, it loses more and more colour data each time it is saved. By comparison, here's what the picture looks like saved as a .png:
As you can see, the difference is pretty clear. And you could save and resave that picture over and over again - as long as it's a .png file, it's never going to look any worse than it does there. Whereas I opened the .jpeg file in Paint, saved it, and closed it again, ten times in a row, and now it looks like this:
Saving as .png is especially useful if you want to edit your picture with additional software, too, as it avoids messy pixellation. Here's the first picture modified using flood fills in MS Paint:
...and here's the same thing in .png:
There's also the fact that using the Save button on the site occasionally produces a glitch in the picture that can look like this (to varying degrees of severity):
No one's sure quite why this glitch happens, but it's worth keeping an eye out for and resaving if necessary. The chances of it happening at all are zero if you follow the steps below though.
Okay, so .png is obviously so much better. But isn't that cheating?
I prefer to think of it as merely preserving the way the picture looks when it was on the site in the first place. Janina has said before that it is OK to use a program like Paint to save your picture, so long as you don't make any other modifications while you're doing it. Since the site's save function is unlikely to ever support different filetypes, and since .png files are allowed in contests, might as well take advantage, eh?
EDIT: Janina has confirmed in this post that saving pictures in the manner described below is allowed in the contests.
So how do I go about it? I haven't got any fancy software like Photoshop.
MS Paint is all you need, so that's all I'll be talking about here. Everyone's got that. And I'm assuming people have only got slightly older versions here - a lot of what's written below can be eliminated with the "crop" tool that is featured in new versions. Here's the step-by-step process:
1) When you're happy with your picture, press the Print Screen key on your keyboard. This key moves around a bit depending on what keyboard you've got, but if it isn't labelled "Print Screen" then it'll say "Prt Sc" or something similar. If you're using a laptop or a smaller keyboard you may need to hold down the Fn key to get it to work.
2) Open MS Paint and press Ctrl+V to paste a picture of your screen. You can then use the select tool to draw a rectangle around the entire SP-Studio picture window, then press Ctrl+C to copy your selection.
3) Press Ctrl+V again and then click and drag your selection into the top left corner of the screen. Position it very carefully with the SP-Studio "window" directly in the corner, with no excess showing above or to the left, then press Ctrl+E to set the size of the picture.
4) If you positioned your picture with the black border visible onscreen, set the dimensions as 385 x 385 pixels. If you positioned the border just offscreen, as I do, then set it to 383 x 383 pixels.
5) Choose "Save as..." from the file menu and change the filetype from .jpg to .png in the dropdown menu beneath the filename. And then save it.
6) Aaaaaand you're done. Your picture is saved as shiny and spiffy-looking as it was when you first made it.