Images with Chapter Headings -- eBook

I found a really good looking image to use on my Chapter Headings. I am publishing as both an eBook and paperback. Since eReaders can have white, sepia, or black backgrounds, I figured that I should export the image as either a GIF or JPEG format. When I tested this PDF looked great with any format. The eReaders either ignored the format or messed it up. With JPEG they displayed it but it was ugly with anything but a white background.

Has anyone found a reliable way to use images in eBooks that takes the background color options into considerations?

Have you tried PNG 24-bit with a transparent background? GIF is all right, but only if the edges of the graphic are not smooth. Square shapes are good, but you get jaggies with curves.

I tried PNG-24 with transparency. In an EPUB it looks correct with iBook and Calibre readers on my Mac. On MOBI the transparency appears black and the image inverted color wise on both Calibre and Kindle on my Mac and also on my IOS device.

I am betting that someone in the food chain Scrivener, KindleGen … is messing with the image before it gets to the device.

I added a screen-shot and the actual image.
Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.35.40 AM.png

Hmm, yes, I’m getting what appears to be a flattened image when running the source material through KindleGen. You can check what Scrivener is doing by ticking the source file option in the KindleGen pane and then examining the image files on the disk. You’ll find they are proper 24-bit PNG with transparency, but I do get the same result on Kindle for Mac—it looks fine on white, but if you change the background it’s obviously a white matte.

Looks like it’s a well known issue, even though this thread is a bit old, here is some technical discussion on it.

Have you tried SVG yet?

I just tried converting the PNG to an SVG using Inkscape. Amazon Kindle doesn’t like transparency in any format. My SVG image looked just like the PNG one. As far as I am concerned this really makes using fancy chapter headings and scene separators pointless if they will look crappy on sepia or black backgrounds.

UPDATE: I just looked inside the SVG file and all Inkscape did was embed the PNG. After beating Inkscape over the head several times, I got it to convert the bitmap of my 95KB PNG into a .5MB SVG file. However, it still looks the same after going thru KindleGen and being viewed in Calibre or Kindle on my Mac.

The Vellum app includes images with chapter headings. You could try it to see how it does it. It’s free for download and playing around with.