• Basic picture resizing and creation of multiple views

    I would like to present a basic step-by-step guide to 1)resizing pictures and 2)creating panoramic views. To do this I will look at two programms you can use for this purpose. The first is Irfanview. In short Irfanview is a picture viewer on steroids and it is free so anyone can use it. You can download it from http://www.irfanview.com. The second programm I want to present is Adobe Photoshop, very expensive but simply the best graphic editing software out there. With Photoshop everything is a bit more complex compared to Irfanview but on the other hand PS is much more powerfull and offers advanced features (which I am not going to detail ).Before I start I want to add that my methods are not the only ones and probably not the best but they work and I think are easy enough to comprehend
    I also want to note that English is not my native language so feel free to keep any grammar mistakes or typos
    Resizing pictures with Irfanview:
    1. Open the picture with Irfanview, then use the mouse to make a selection of the miniature (simply press the mouse button and drag a rectangle around the part you want to select, see screenshot below). If your picture is too big to see the whole miniature zoom out a bit. The current zoom factor is displayed at the bottom.
    Personally I prefer pictures where just the miniature is shown since this is what the picture is all about. Also you can create smaller pictures sizewise by eliminating unnecessary background.

    2. Select Edit->Copy or just press ctrl+c to copy the selection to the clipboard.
    3. Select Image->Create new (empty) image to create a blank image. Just click OK in the pop up dialogue (alternatively you can open a new instance of Irfanview without a picture to display).
    4. Select Edit->Paste or press ctrl+v and the selection will be copied into the blank picture.
    5. Now that we have only the miniature it is time for the actual resizing. Select Image->Resize/Resample or press ctrl+r. In the pop up dialogue enter the new height of the picture. Make sure that 'preserve aspect ratio' is checked, otherwise your picture will be distorted. The new height will then automatically be recalculated. Press OK and your picture is ready. Select File->Save As and save as .jpg. The default settings for compression are ok and usable.


    IMPORTANT: When resizing pictures make sure to never enlarge them. Enlarging pictures makes them blurry. Reducing pictures in size is never a problem since no sharpness is lost but do not enlarge or risk loosing sharpness.
    [pagebreak]
    Resizing pictures with Photoshop:
    I hope this is will be understandable since I have the german language version of the programm so my english designations for tools and menu items may not be 100% accurate.
    1. Open the picture with Photoshop, then use the tool I marked in the first screenshot below (I *think* it is the crop tool) to make a selection of the miniature (simply press the mouse button and drag a rectangle around the part you want to select) and press Enter. If your picture is too big to see the whole miniature zoom out a bit. The current zoom factor is displayed at the bottom or in the titel bar next to the picture name.
    Personally I prefer pictures where just the miniature is shown since this is what the picture is all about. Also you can create smaller pictures sizewise by eliminating unnecessary background.

    2. Now that you only have the selction left you made in the previous step it tis time for the actual resizing. Select Image->Image size and enter the desired height in the appropriate field in the pop up dialog. Make sure that 'keep proportions' is checked. The new height will then automatically be recalculated. Press OK and your picture is ready. Select File->Save for web and save as .jpg. The settings here are more advance than what Irfanview has to offer but to keep it short, setting the quality somewhere between 70% to 80% should be good (check the image size and make sure to keep it below 100k if you want to submit it to CMON).

    IMPORTANT: When resizing pictures make sure to never enlarge them. Enlarging pictures makes them blurry. Reducing pictures in size is never a problem since no sharpness is lost but do not enlarge or risk loosing sharpness.
    [pagebreak]
    Creating panoramic views with Irfanview:
    In order to do this you first have to prepare the different views of your miniature like shown above (create selection and resize).
    1. Open Irfanview and select Image->Create Panorama view. In the pop up dialog you only have to select the images you want in the Panorama view with the 'Add Image' function. You can create both horizontal and vertical panoramas but with an eye towards size restrictions on CMON (no more than 600px wide) I would recommend horizontal for two different views but vertical for more. Now just click create and your image is ready. Again chose File->Save as and save as .jpg.
    Now that was easy, wasn't it?

    [pagebreak]
    Creating panoramic views with Photoshop:
    Again you need to have all views you want to use in the panorama ready (create selection and resize as shown above). With Photoshop creating panorama views is a bit more complex but also far more advanced and powerful and easier if you want to create panoramic images extending both horizontal and vertical or having thumbnails or detail views included.
    1. Open all images you want to use in Photoshop. Select File->New to create a new image. Enter height and width if you know the exact dimension your image is going to have otherwise select big values, you can trim the image easily later. Also select 'transparent' as content for the new picture.
    2. Use the tool I marked in the screenshot below to drag the individual images into the new image you created in the step before. With this arrow tool you can move the images around (just press the mouse button and drag). Repeat this until all individual images have been added to the new one.
    Photoshop uses layers, so each image is in a seperate layer. Layers are hierarchical. If you want to change positioning make sure to first select the layer you want to move. With the help of the layer structure you can have the pictures overlap each other to a small extend to reduce the overall width or height or to place detail views 'inside' another view (layers will be hidden by layers above them ... hope you get my meaning on times like these I curse my lousy english ).

    3. The last step is to crop the image so it is only the combined size of the individual images. Select Image->Crop and in the pop up dialog select transparent pixels. Now select File->Save for web and save your panorama as .jpg (remember to keep the size below 100k if you want to upload to CMON). (ignore the fact that I used 3 views horizontally, for CMON submissions I advice using not more than two views horizontally because of size restrictions (no more than 600px wide), but this image was created for a gallery with vertical size restriction and I was too lazy to make a new screenshot )
    NOTE: If you did not chose transparent for content in step 1 when creating the new image you have to delete the layer titled 'background' before using Image->Crop. Simply drag the layer on the trash can (see screenshot below).

    Now I hope you find some of this stuff helpfull.
    With Irfanview you have a very easy to use and for a viewer very powerful tool to resize your images for web presentation and it is free so anybody can use it. Photoshop is (of course) even more powerful but also more difficult to use and very expensive.
    For basic resizing and creation of panoramic views Irfanview is more than enough so use it (I never again want to hear excuses like 'I have only MS Paint and can not resize/crop my pics' ).
    If you have any questions feel free to fire away. Also suggestions or additions are welcome. Most likely I have missed a thing or two and I am definatly not perfect
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