Image Preparation Guide
#1 - Introduction
Digital images are created one of three ways:
-Using a digital camera (photos)
-Using a scanner on printed images (photos, logos, clipart)
-Using a computer 'drawing' program (logos, clipart)
Images that come directly from a scanner or digital camera usually need a bit of work before they can be used on web pages. You may want to resize them or crop your photos to improve them or get rid of unwanted elements.
#2 - Format
When you upload a photo, this website automatically converts your image to JPEG format so that it can be displayed in a wide variety of browsers. You can upload images in the following formats: JPG (JPEG), GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PICT, JP2, SGI, QTIF, TGA, PDF or PSD.
#3 - Resizing
Our website has restrictions on the dimensions of images. If there were no restrictions, people would post very large images that might be larger than other user's monitors - forcing those users to use scrollbars. And it might cause very long loading times for users with slow modem connections. It makes good design sense to have restrictions on the dimensions.
This website can automatically resize and/or rotate your images!
#4 - Image Sharpness
If you have a 'Premium' website, your original photos are never processed in any way. No matter what kind of website you have, when you post a photo the MyTripJournal system produces a 72 dpi JPEG to display to your visitors. Most of the time this involves changing the dpi to 72 and scaling the image so that it is within our size limits.
Any time an image is scaled (by the MyTripJournal system, Photoshop, or any other program) it loses a bit of sharpness. There are many methods to scale an image. The best method depends on the details of the particular photo. Our automated system uses the best system for typical photos, but SOME of your photos may not be as sharp as you would like. We are always working on improving our automated system, and plan to offer a choice of scaling methods, and a 'sharpen' tool in the future.
If you have access to an Image Processing program (see below), you can get the best image sharpness by pre-optimizing your photos so they are 72 dpi and within our size limits (720 wide by 400 tall). Also, most Image Processing programs have an option to 'sharpen' a scaled image. If our system receives a JPEG that is already 72 dpi and within our size limits, it does not have to process it at all, therefore it will be displayed exactly as you uploaded.
#5 - File size
Images that come directly from a scanner or digital camera often contain enough quality (information) to produce a good printed photograph. However, that much picture information can't be displayed on a computer screen. If your images contain this extra information, your visitors will wait an unnecessarily long time to view them. This website automatically optimizes the image you upload.
f you have a very slow internet connection and your original images come directly from a camera or scanner, it will take a long time to upload the image to our site. You can avoid this long upload time by 'pre-optimizing' your images BEFORE uploading them to this website. You will need an image processing program installed on your local computer. If you already have a program that can process JPEGs, you can use it. Or load one of the Image Processing programs listed below.
To pre-optimize an image, use the image processing program to rotate the image (if necessary), then scale it to be within our allowable dimensions, then save it as a JPEG (or GIF for line drawings or clip art). When you save a JPG, most programs ask you to choose a '%'. The smaller the number, the smaller the image file and the faster it will load for the users - but the quality of the photo also decreases. How far down you can go without distorting the image depends on the details of the picture itself. Some programs will let you see samples of 90%, 80%, 70%, etc and let you decide. We usually find that 80% is a good number for MOST photos.
If you have a very slow internet connection and your original images come directly from a camera or scanner, and you'll be posting images often, it is worth the time to learn how to 'pre-optimize' them. It's not hard if you have the right software and understand what needs to be done to an image to make it ready for the web. But if you don't want to be bothered scaling, rotating and optimizing, just let this website do it for you.
Image Processing Software
The expensive 'industrial' programs such as Photoshop and DeBabelizer can do the job (and much more) if you happen to have those. However, often the software than came with your scanner or camera has features that will crop and scale, so check those first. If you don't already have such a program, you could download a program (for trial or small shareware cost) from the internet. We recommend: