Ophrys Photography

Wildlife photography by John Devries, Kent UK. Inspirational images from nature.
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Photoshop Tutorial - resizing of images for e-mail and web use

Have you received or sent huge images files which take ages to download or are far too big on the screen to view without scrolling around? It's bad enough for Broadband users, but for people with Dial-up connections, they are not going to thank you for sending them an image which takes an hour to download and prevents them looking at any other e.mails until it has completed!

In this tutorial, I will explain the best way to resize a single image in Photoshop. There are ways to resize multiple images, but that will have to become a tutorial for another day.

Images coming out of a digital SLR camera are massive and far too big to e.mail without downsizing them drastically. An 8.2 Mp camera such as a Canon 20D will produce an image of around 23Mb, for e.mailing we want a picture of about 30-50Kb to appear on the screen which still looks pretty good quality, but downloads really fast. Many of the images on this website were created using the method below.

In Photoshop, open an image and click : Image> Image size

The following dialogue box should appear.

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Ensure that all the boxes (scale styles, constrain proportions and resample image) are ticked. Select bicubic sharper as the algorithm for downsampling the image. If you need to make images bigger for printing, I would recommend Bicubic smoother as the method of choice.

In the Document Size box, I have changed the resolution from the original 300 ppi - which is fine for printing, but wasted on e.mails as screen resolution is only 72ppi. So change the resolution to 72 ppi. Ignore the width and height measurements in the Document Size box.

Now go to the Pixel Dimensions box and change the longest dimension of the image (the width or height depending on whether the image is in landscape or portrait format ). For an image that will appear at a reasonable size on the recipient's screen select a width or height of between 600 and 800 pixels, depending on how big you would like it to appear. (remember the smaller you make it, the quicker it will download).

As you set one dimension, say the width, notice how the height changes accordingly to maintain the correct proportions (aspect ratio) so the image does not become stretched or squashed.

In the example above, if you look at the pixel dimensions (in blue text) you will notice that the filesize has now dropped from 24.9 Mb to 1.71 Mb , a good improvement, but still not good enough. The next thing to be done is to compress it into a small jpeg using the following procedure.

Click File > Save for web

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If you select the "2 up" you will see your original image on the left and a compressed "optimised " image on the right. Ensure that jpeg is selected and click on the arrow by the Quality box. A slider then appears. If you slide the quality slider, you will alter the file size and as the size reduces, you will start to notice compression artifacts developing , as you increase it, quality improves. Your aim is to produce an image which looks pretty much the same as the original, but only occupies about 30-60 Kb of space.

Once you are satisfied with your image, click "Save" and save it to a folder of your choice. When you want to insert it into an E.mail you can attach it or embed it from this location.


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