Jump to content

Using Photoshop (or other package) to make web ready pixs


awong
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm not sure if this has been asked before. If so, could someone point me to the thread...

 

When bringing a digital photo into a package (lets use PS as that's what I've got on hand), is there a prefered or proper flow for processing an image so that

 

1) the end result is a web ready (150-200 KB) image and

2) that has lost minimal info?

 

I'm starting with images that are approx. 2200 KB, with a lot of spare room for cropping...which brings up another point...my Macro works best when I've got the mini standing a little over 1/2 the overall height of the image (and I'm shooting horizontally).

 

a)Should I be tilting the camera and shoot vertical (most of my minis are standing figs) to better use the imageplane and minimize cropping?

 

Once in the package should I crop first? color correct? auto balance? I never seem to do any of these steps in the same order twice. Will the order I do these steps effect the outcome? if so, I'd sure appreciate a step by step that I can print out for future reference.

 

Am I even asking the right questions?

 

Please help the photo knucklehead.

 

Thanks

-AW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Photoshop's autocolor adjustment reads in the highest, mid and darkest colors and extrapolates the corrections from there. So if you crop out parts of the image that are brighter or darker than the highlights and shadows of the mini before you apply the autocolor, it will affect things. Whether or not this is desired depends on what you cropped out.

 

If you want standard autcolor adjustments applied to all of your photos, place them against the same background, use the same lighting at the same distance for each photo and to the side include a card with pure black, pure white and neutral gray squares. You want this card in a spot that gets the same lighting as the mini as possible but still in a place you can crop out once the corrections have been made.

 

Take the photo and then import into PS. Apply the autocolor process. Make sure you have the Info palette open. (you can open it from the Window menu) Put your pointer over each of the black, white and grey squares in the photo. Black should read as 0, 0, 0 in the RGB values of the Info palette. White will be 255, 255, 255 and grey will read as 128, 128, 128. If it's off you can then play with individual values either under Color Balance or Curves (I prefer curves). This can get tricky so if your values are at least close to the above numbers you should be ok.

 

Go ahead and crop the card out of the image. You can now adjust the image size under the Image menu. Now Save for Web as a JPEG. Save for Web doesn't save a preview file with the image to minimize file size so it's better than plain old Save for our purposes. Usually a JPEG setting of 10 is the best balance between image quality and file size.

 

That's a lot of work but if you want to get picky about adjusting colors, that's how I would do it. If you have a mini on a neutral background and the colors include a dark dark and a bright highlight and want you to do it quick and dirty, go ahead and crop first then apply autocolor.

 

There's also the eyedroppers in levels and curves... but I can save that for another post if you want to know more.

 

Hope that helps, let me know if you have questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't answer all your questions specifically, but I can give you some insights that may help.

 

Most camera's store their images as jpg files. The problem with that is that jpg is a lossy format - everytime you save a file, even if you don't make changes, you lose some image data. So the first and foremost rule is - don't tamper with your original image files. Move them on to your PCs, then make copies of them before you do anything to the file (easy enough to do - save as a different file name). This way, if you screw up an image, the 'master' image is still available to start over.

 

Second - I usually also make a png copy of the master file and do all my changes on the png file, then convert back to jpg (if nec) once I've got my final image. Because png is a lossless format, I can save it as often as I want without losing any image data. (so the theory is, anyway). Often the native formats of the paint programs are lossless as well, so you can save in those formats, too. This can vary from program to program - I know Corel PhotoPaint's native format is lossless, I can't speak for Photoshop's (although I would guess it is). However, I've found the native file formats for the paint programs often result in huge file sizes, which is why I use png.

 

It sounds like you've already solved one of the hardest parts - figuring out where your camera gives you the best macro image. Even if you manage to figure out how to get the image bigger, you're probably just going to wind up having to reduce the file size anyway by resampling it. Might as well trim it with cropping and keep the best image you can. Remember that cropping an image to get the desired file size shouldn't affect the image at all, where as resampleing the image to get a smaller file size will result in the loss of detail that could potentially change the image.

 

The order I usually do my operations in:

 

1. Import image from camera to PC.

2. Make back up of original image to work on.

3. Crop to desired size (I crop first, because I want any image enhancements I make to take only the final image into consideration, not extraneous stuff that will be cropped out later anyway.)

4. Any image adjustments I feel are nec, such as color balance, etc.

 

I'm not a pro, that's just the way I do things. If I'm wrong, I'm sure one of the more knowledgeable people will be along in a while to stomp me down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I crop first, then select the mini with the magic wand tool and adjust the color levels on just the mini. After that, I drop in my lovely blue background.

 

 

There's a thread over on the Wyrd Games site which pretty much goes through the process I use here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can crop first, or color correct first, it doesn't really make a big difference. I shoot my minis against an 18% gray background, so when I use auto color PS sees the huge amount of grey and balances mostly to get that neutral, which makes all the other colors fall into place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the most important part is done BEFORE bringing it into photoshop. That would be your lighting when you take the picture in the first place. I have gone thru 15 different methods, trying various ones posted or suggested by other members here or on other boards over the past couple of years. There are a bunch of good suggestions and I wont discount any of them.

 

But, I can say, I think the end goal for me was to find a method to where I would not have to do any color correcting at all. As it is now, I have finally found my method about 6-8 months ago. Only "correcting" I do is in the contrast levels sometimes. Cause sometimes I have models that might be hunched over and so the shadows might be a bit heavier on them or some such.

 

As far as cropping goes, again, since I do not color correct, it doesnt matter when I do it. I do tend to swap in a gradient background for my photo backdrop as they tend to look much better. So, cropping for that only means cropping for what looks good to the viewer for the figure and not the surrounding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone who've responded.

 

I've also started reading all the Shutterbug posts as well so hopefully I'll start internalizing some of these suggestions.

 

I think I need to spend more time with my camera!

 

Thanks

AWhang

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second - I usually also make a png copy of the master file and do all my changes on the png file, then convert back to jpg (if nec) once I've got my final image. Because png is a lossless format, I can save it as often as I want without losing any image data. (so the theory is, anyway).

 

You are partly correct here. PNG was meant as a replacement to GIF, with superior color depth and no worry about that silly Compuserve patent issue that flopped anyway. GIFs are lousy formats for photgraphs. That's what JPGs are for. Therefore, I wouldn't use PNG for photographs.

 

For years I have used TIFF for this. Years ago I ran a web company and we standardized on this as an intermediate format. I don't remember the details, but I know we did our research on this. PSDs are also good - we mandated that all PSDs be maintained so we had all the layer data and could make changes or new graphics easily and consistently.

 

I do have one question. IME, Photoshop is a $700+ USD program. It's great, but I have a hard time believing mini painters plunk down that much money for an image processing program.

 

It could be a case of widespread piracy, but I hope the mini community isn't promoting that. Is there a lower cost version of Photoshop that people are using?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Artists

I was probably doing something wrong, but when I tried one of the cheaper versions of PhotoShop, it didn't correct things the same way as when I tried the real deal. I had a friend take some of my photos and fix them up to look much better. She told me exactly what she did. I tried what she did in Paintshop, the program I was using at the time, and it turned the picture greenish. I downloaded the trial of one of the cheap versions of Photoshop, and it still didn't end up with the same result. Only once I downloaded the trial of the full version of Photoshop was I able to duplicate what she did. This seems odd to me as it was just simple stuff like Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are partly correct here. PNG was meant as a replacement to GIF, with superior color depth and no worry about that silly Compuserve patent issue that flopped anyway. GIFs are lousy formats for photgraphs. That's what JPGs are for. Therefore, I wouldn't use PNG for photographs.

 

PNG is a fine format for photographs if you are saving copies that you want to manipulate (and you're not interested in doing layers). You get some big files, but TIFF files are also very big. Of course, when you get to the point that you want to share photos, particularly on a web page, JPEG is a better format, but only after you're done with any manipulations (unless you have the image quality meter cranked to the maximum).

 

I'm rather partial to PNGs mainly because I use them all the time because they are lossless and very well suited for screen captures (which I need as an interaction designer & usability analyst).

 

My guess is that most people are using Photoshop Elements ($100) rather than the full Photoshop CS3 ($650).

 

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think college students also get discounts on Photoshop. The discount is enough to soften the blow.

 

I use a combination of GIMP and Paint Shop Pro. I, too, enjoy the PNG format when converting between the two. When not, I save in the application's native format. The file size gets even bigger, but I can trust that nothing goofy will happen to the layers. Especially in GIMP, where I can edit text layers later on.

 

For cleaning up a straight-up picture, layers are not as necessary. When combining several images into a montage - especially for galleries like CMON where you get one image to make an impression - layers become a nicer feature.

 

To the original poster: Most programs these days - GIMP especially - will let you tinker with your image quality to get an overall sense of what the final image will be like at a given file size. I would be surprised to the core if Photoshop does not offer a similar feature. Then after you resize the picture itself to a good web-friendly set of dimensions, you can get a real time estimate of your final file size at different compression rates. A lot of this is probably learning and doing it yourself, to get a feel for how the different steps effect your final image.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a full-blown version of Photoshop. I paid, with shipping, under $150 for it. It was still factory sealed, in the original packaging, completely unopened.

 

Sure, it's version 5.5, and I only purchased it about three years ago, but I got it for very cheap. I got it on Ebay, and yes, you have to be very careful with this kind of purchase, but I made certain about return policies and that the auction mentioned it was still factory sealed. Basically the person had gotten a bunch of these from a store that was getting rid of old stock and was trying to make some money off of their purchases. Sometimes you can get really good deals this way.

 

Now, with this older version, I can upgrade to the newest version just by purchasing the upgrade for $150 or so. This makes the program much more affordable. You just have to know how to work the system. You don't need the newest and biggest version to do what you want.

 

I also have Paint Shop Pro, and we have Poser 5 that my husband got for a special deal during a certain time, and I think we also have GIMP on one of the machines.

 

Luck helped us get the programs for decent prices, and some savvy web browsing helped with the rest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...