Thank you Michael . . .(tech 2)

It is so lovely to get feedback from readers of my blog, which I do quite often. However this week I got a really great constructive and questioning comment. So Thanks for that Michael.

And for everyone else, Michael feelings were, while he found the pixel information a useful insight into print and resolution, things are kind of how I had said, almost the other way around now . . . .

whereby digital cameras are taking images so large that the problem lies in getting the files small enough for speedy upload to the internet, which only needs the minimum 72 pixels for every inch.

Now as a mainly print designer, I am not going to pretend to be as knowledgeable with web technicalities as my friends and associates Dennis and Bina at  DBN web design,

But, I have learned enough over the years, and a heck of a lot lately, whilst re-designing my own website, and Facebook pages etc to know what Michael means and to start getting to grips with it myself.

The web needs either jpg, png or gif files, and in my experience, and my own personal preference the best type of files for the web are .png (portable network graphics). These files can be saved with a transparent background (as can gif files – graphics interchange format, but not jpeg – joint photographics expert group) which is brilliant for placing your image over the top of anything else.

Cut out logos with shadows and a transparent ground can then be placed anywhere on the web over the top of any other coloured background, and just having one file. Where as your jpg image will always have to be full rectangular (boxy) image opaquely filled all over, in some colour or another.

Now you will need some kind of photo editing software to re-save your files or export them, and if you can get hold of a copy of adobe photoshop, then great.

But there is a pretty good alternative that some professionals use (another web coder I do some work for only ever uses this)- which is completely Free – its called Gimp and can be downloaded from various sites all over the web – this is the link to the official site of the GNU Image Manipulation Program-

I have downloaded my version for macintosh at:
I have had a little play around with Gimp, and it is certainly a great tool to have for free, so it is worth investigating . . . . .

With gimp you need to use the menu header ‘File’, then ‘export to’, to save as any other format except native gimp files – and the downloadable gimp manual is very detailed in the information it gives to assist on what all the options are, with each file format.

I already have (and know) Photoshop as the professional standard so that is what I use and it is really easy to save my web files – as there is a option to “save for web” that just does a lot of the hard work for you.

You then get a list of preset options of file type, to choose from, with a preview window showing file size information and options to alter pixel dimensions.

A bit of trial and error, as ever with most things in life, will help you to see what you are achieving with each option, until you find something that works for each particular file.

There is even a pop up menu to optimise your image to an actual file size . . . . so you can type in the file size you need and see what that gives you. – this option seems to only be available with GIF file format, and in my tests I did lose sharpness on the edges of my octagonal transparent image.

When you need to upload an image for the web, the first thing to do is find out what pixel dimensions you need.

If you are uploading to Facebook or twitter etc then there are sites to help you with the pixel dimensions you need, its easy to find them by searching “Facebook banner size” on google.

Photographic images from your camera will normally always be at 72dpi anyway and then you will need to change the pixel dimensions to what you need.

Reducing the pixels will make the file smaller. Saving as different file formats, and trial and error with different options to see what gives the best compromise on file size and quality – png and gif are best for small web files.

If the proportion of the original image is different to your required size you will have to actually crop your image too, but do the cropping afterwards – and mostly when you upload your file there is an option to re-position meaning that cropping is not necessary.

I am still doing a bit of learning myself on this too but I hope I have put you in the right direction.
And definitely have a look at Gimp.

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