Here is a brief tutorial on (free) optimizing and resizing images for posting at Pizzamaking.com.
When you prepare an image for posting, there are four main considerations:
1. File size – Pizzamaking.com limits the individual file size to 128K (use 127K as your max to be safe)
2. Image size – bigger is better when it comes to being able to see detail. Pizzamaking.com limits the width of images to 800 pixels. It will automatically shrink images that are bigger than 800px to 800px, but in most cases, if the image is too big, the file size is also too large. It’s better to upload properly resized images.
3. Image Quality – this is a number between 0 and 100 that represents the level of compression applied to the image. The lower the quality, the smaller the file size. Typically you won’t notice much loss of quality visually until you drop below 50.
4. Cropping – make the most of your image size restrictions by trimming off the unnecessary part of the picture.
The basic process of getting an image ready to post is:
1. Crop the image to just the part you want to post. Cropping is key to optimizing your image as it lets you get the important elements in your picture as large as possible without making the file size larger than necessary. Notwithstanding, cropping might not be necessary. For example, if you took a tight image with your camera zoom, you might not need to crop it.
2. Re-size of the cropped image. Your typical camera resolution is much higher than 800px wide (the Pizzamaking.com max), so unless you really crop to a small area in the picture, the image is probably still too big and will need to be re-sized.
3. Set an appropriate picture quality level – a balance between sharpness and file size.
4. Save the image that is now ready to upload to pizzamaking.com
I looked at a dozen or so on-line image resizers, and this one >>> http://www.drpic.com/
seemed to be the best because it lest you do all of the process outlined above. Most on-line resizers wont. If you simply want to resize an entire image without making any optimizing decisions, there are simpler solutions. Google “image resizer” and you will find plenty to choose from. I believe several members use this one and like it >>> http://www.imageoptimizer.net/Pages/Home.aspx
but as I noted, it is much more limited and cannot do what I’m going to show you below.
If you would rather download software to optimize and resize directly on your computer (as opposed to the on-line programs), this one seems to work well and has the same important functionality: http://download.cnet.com/Free-Picture-Resize-Starter/3000-12511_4-10297789.html
Let me know if you go this route and have any questions on how to use it.
To get started, open http://www.drpic.com/
and click “Load a picture” in the upper left corner of the screen. This will open a small dialogue box. Click the “Choose File” button in the middle of the box. This will open up your computer directory. Go to wherever you store your pictures, double click on the one you want to resize (or click on the file and then click “Open”). You will notice a check box at the bottom of the dialogue box that says “Automatically resize to fit screen”. Unless you want to crop down to something pretty small in the picture, I’d leave this box checked. If you uncheck it, the image that comes up will be full size and more difficult to work with because you will have to scroll around a lot to see it all and crop it unless you have a really big screen. In my case, leaving it checked reduced the image width from 3024px to 1280px. When you’ve made your selection, press “Load Picture”.
After the picture loads, you will see it in the window. You are now ready to crop. Again, cropping is optional, but cropping will let you make the important part of your picture bigger while making the file size smaller. My camera will generally not zoom in tight enough that I don’t need to crop, so I crop almost all of my pictures. Also, don’t use the digital zoom on your camera (if it has one). The sharpness of your final will be better if you zoom only to the extent of the optical zoom and then crop.
To crop, click the “Crop” button on the tool bar on the left side of the screen. Click “OK” to close the dialog box that opens, then hold down the mouse button and drag the pointer on your picture and the red crop box will appear. Drag the handles to put the crop box around the part of the picture you want to keep. If you have a small screen like I do, you won’t see the entire image, and you may need to scroll around to select the entire part of the picture you want to crop. (Image1 below) At the top right part of the screen, you will see three sets of numbers – “Selection” tell you the side of the crop box , “Size” tells you the size of the uncropped image, and “Position” tells you the location of the pointer – all measured in pixels.
Click inside the crop box and drag to move the entire crop box. Double-click inside the crop box to crop the image. Click outside the crop box to deselect and start over. If your cropped image is smaller than you want for your final resized image (you can see the image size in the top left part of the screen), you will need to reload the original image with the “Automatically resize to fit screen” box unchecked and then re-crop. I doubt this will happen often, so I would suggest leaving the box checked as noted above.
Once you have cropped (or if you don’t want to crop the image), you are ready to re-size. Click the re-size button on the tool bar on the left side of the screen. This will bring up the resize toolbox window. Simply enter the width (in pixels) you want the re-sized picture to be and select “Pixels” in the drop-down box next to the width box. Remember that Pizzamaking.com limits you to 800 pixels wide. I use 740 (no particular reason why – but I always use the same width to keep things professional looking). Use whatever you like. The software will automatically adjust the height for you to maintain the original aspect ratio. If you want to skew the image for some reason, uncheck “Lock aspect ratio” and enter both width and height. When you’ve entered your width, click on “apply”. (Image2 below) After the picture shrinks to the new size, click the X at the top of the Resize dialogue box to close.
All that is left to do is save the re-sized picture. On the left side of the screen, you will see a drop down box that says “Choose Format”. Leave it at JPG or if it says something else, set it to JPG. Under that box, click on “Quality…” This will bring up four options – 25, 50, 75, and 100. It will also tell you the file size at each of these quality levels. If there is any complaint that I have about this program it is that it only gives you these four options (Image3 below). 50 is generally good enough, but if 75 is not too large (<100K) go with 75. (Remember the max for Pizzamaking.com is 128K). After you have made your quality choice, click “Back to image” at the bottom of the page then click “Save to disk” on the left side of the screen.
Internet Explorer will give you the option of naming it whatever you like and telling it where to save the picture. I don’t know how Chrome decides where to save the picture, and I don’t think it will let you name it. On my computer, Chrome saves the image to the “Download” folder. IE may be a better choice for this program because it lets you name the image and save it where you want. (Image4 below)
There are a couple other handy buttons on the tool bar at the left of the screen. If your picture is over or underexposed (too light or too dark) you can use the “Brightness Contrast” tool to help correct it. Likewise, if it is a little blurry, the “Sharpen” tool might help. Sometimes its best to sharpen before you resize and sometimes it’s best after. You might need to experiment. At any point in the process described above, you can use the “Undo” button on the top toolbar to step your actions backwards, or you can use the “Revert to original” tool on the same toolbar to start over with the original image.
Post any questions and I’ll try to answer them.