Tutorials

Preparing your digital images.

Preparing your images for the Club's Website
Congratulations! Your picture has been a Winner or earned a Merit Award in one of the Club Competitions, it deserves a place on the Club Website for the world to admire the quality of our work There are certain constraints imposed by the Internet and for our site the images have to be a maximum of 600 pixels wide; they have to be formatted as jpeg files and should not be much more than about 160kB in size. If they are much larger than this Clikpic applies a compression to the image. Any image on the web will be in sRGB colour and so please convert to sRGB if you have been using aRGB or other colour space.
When you have prepared your files email them to the the Internal Comp Secretary or Webmaster.



Save for Web, Photoshop v6 or higher or Elements v4 or higher:
Your picture, whether from a digital camera or scanned from a slide, has been perfected but it is almost certainly too large to be published on the Web and it may still be a 16 bit file, have several layers or be a *.psd, or a *.tif format but you may well want to print it again - so it is a precious file. A council of perfection will be to duplicate the image [Pshop: Image > Duplicate] {Elements: File > Duplicate].

This will create YourImage.copy, you can now close the original YourImage file so that it can't be altered. Now, if your copy image has active layers in your Layers Menu select Flatten Image. If your camera or scanner allows you to work and save 16 bit images (you should if you can) you can now reduce them to 8 bit to halve their size. [Image > Mode > 8 bit].

If your camera or your Raw Converter had the option to save your images in the Adobe RGB colour space you will probably have done so for there are advantages in printing your pictures that way. However, the internet works in sRGB and so you may well see benefits in now converting your merit to sRGB. In Photoshop, go Image Menu > Convert to Profile (Edit Menu in CS2 and later) and set sRGB as the Destination Space. In Conversion Options make sure the Engine is set to Adobe ACE and personally I would set the Intent to "Perceptual" and tick the Black Point Compensation box and the "ICC profile" box too. Don't worry if that is all gobble-de-gook; colour management is quite difficult to grapple with so we have written these guidelines which can be revised if necessary as we all gain experience. Now we need to reduce the size of the file. There are several ways to do this but this is one of the easiest. Go to File Menu > Save for Web.

You will now get a page with two versions of your image {Elements} and either 2 or 4 versions {Photoshop] I personally use the 2 version option. The one on the left is your original and on the right will be the saved for web version.

Over on the right are various options, Select Image Size, this will show original size in pixels and in the New Size box make sure Constrain Proportions is ticked then select 600 pixels for the width, check that the height does not exceed 500, (enter height 500 if it does) then I suggest you select Quality > Bicubic Sharper and > Apply. The right hand image will now reflect those changes. You can check if it looks over-sharpened, if so, try Quality > Bicubic > Apply and see if that looks better.

Now, look up on the right and select "jpeg", tick "Progressive" and "ICC Profile" then adjust the Quality so that your file size is not much more than 100kB (you will see the size listed just under the right hand image) but don't reduce quality below 85%. Finally go to the top of the page > OK and you have the option to Save your file and decide where it should be saved. At this point you can name it and it would be helpful to give it the same name that you used for the competition. That's it, now either burn it to a CD or email it to the Club Webmaster.

If you made the copy file you can now delete it, it has served its purpose. If, on the other hand, you have been working with your original you can close it but when it asks if you should save the changes, remember to say NO! You may want to be able to print from it again.


Preparing your images for Digital Projection
First follow very much the same idea as I have shown above for the Website but there are a few differences and the biggest difference is that our super-dooper projector can handle much higher resolutions than the internet so the pixel sizes are now a maximum 1920 pixel width and 1200 height but you cannot swap those figures to make it 1920 high- we would have to turn the projector on it's side to do that! Your image can be any size you like provided that you do not exceed the 1920 x 1200. Think of those sizes as your picture frame and you can use as much of that space as you wish.

You can add fancy borders to your image if you wish but be wary of wide white borders, they can be so bright they detract from your picture. If your image is less than the full frame (1920*1200) and has a black background then a pencil thin (2px) border defines the extent of your image. Adding a black background outside your intended image makes no difference to the way the image is displayed on the club projector, i.e. the 'excess' beyond your image is default black. The result of adding a black background is that you image will display with black around the image on the website. Our projector works in sRGB just like the Internet so the comments above about converting to sRGB are just as valid. If your camera only offers you sRGB then, of course, you can ignore all that!

As above you can use "Save for Web" to reduce your image size and convert to jpeg using the same methods. Your file size will be much larger than for the web site of course, probably about 500kb depending upon content and compression. If your image is smaller than 1920 x 1200 we will automatically apply a black background to the fill the screen, you can, of course, add a background of your own up to the 1920 x 1200 limit. The "canvas size" option in Photoshop or Elements is a convenient way to do this.


The software used by the club needs a fixed format of file name.
Naming of your files for digital competition is important because the projection programme expects a specific format which is in three parts, the number, the title and your name each separated by an underscore (shift and hyphen on your keyboard). thus: 1 (or 2 or 3)_my title_my name.jpg
Please keep the title reasonably brief, enough to identify the picture and you must identify your 1, 2 or 3 entry so that in the even of too many entries for the judge to consider fairly we can drop off the number 3 which you will be able to enter another time. Your images must be as jpegs .
Thus:
1_my picture_my name.jpg 2_another picture_my name.jpg 3_yet another picture_my name.jpg

Please Note: Only the number, the title and your name are separated by the underscore, no other underscores are allowed and there must be only one "jpg" at the end.
Now when you have prepared your entries email them to entries@fordingbridgecameraclub.org.uk so that they get there the weekend before the competition.
Please note that if you wish your Image Title, Your name and any awards to appear correctly on the website then they must be correct on any digital image you provide for either PDI competitions or for inclusion on the website. The process of feeding them into the website uses the title as provided, unfortunately correcting the titles, names or awards is not possible.


Preparing Two-Related Images
We have long had a competition of two related slides where two projectors are used to show two simultaneous images on two screens side by side. The competition is now being extended to include digital images so some fresh thinking is required. Like most things in digital imaging there is more than one way of doing it, here is a suggestion that is valid in Photoshop or Elements and there will be a similar way in other imaging programmes too. The advice, above, to prepare images for projection applies, of course, but this time we must fit two images on screen. Remember to think in "pixels" - inches, centimetres and DPI are irrelevant and the maximum size of our screen is 1920 px wide and 1200 px high. That means both of your images and any borders must fit in that space. It is your choice where they fit on the screen, they might be two 'letter boxes' one above the other, two side-by-side even one portrait and one landscape or, if you wish, they could overlap!



So having chosen your two images you must decided the maximum size each image can be. If the two landscapes above were made 1870 x 575 say, we would have just 50 pixels in width and height left to form a background. The portraits above might be made 935 px wide by 1150 tall to leave a border and separation between the images.

When we have sized our images, converted them to sRGB and into jpegs just click on the title bar and drag each one out of the way for the moment and now let's think about the back ground (though you could do your background first if you wished).

Any colour but white would be the general advice because white can be so glaring that it detracts from your pictures. Black is safe but you might wish a colour that is harmonious to your pictures. Make that colour your selected background colour before we go any further. Now on the menu go File > New and in the Dialog box set the size units to pixels and the width to 1920, the height to 1200, the colour mode to "RGB colour", "select 8 bit" and the Background contents to "Background colour". Ignore the other options and click OK; you have now created your background so now click on each of your images in turn to make them active and select the move tool. Drag each image on to your background and release it near to where you want it.

You will notice in the layers palette that each image has become a layer to the background and by selecting each layer in turn and then the move tool you can accurately position them using the arrow keys. When you are satisfied, flatten the image - nothing to it! Save it as a jpg and give it a title.

(Originally written by John Mahany, subsequently updated by Rex Waygood)