Andy Gailer has put together the following instructions for setting up the digital images ready for the club competitions:
Whether or not you have edited your image file much after it was uploaded from the camera its best to optimise it for projection before the competition to get the best results. The reason we do this is so that the projection program (and even the projectionist) has as little to do to the file as possible and stands least chance of messing with the image in any way to project it at the required size at the event. A by product of this process is that it may well be much reduced in size, so that it can easily be sent by email to the projectionist.
There are several different ways of optimising your files for projection, as there always is with image manipulation these days – even within one given photo editor.
There are some good free AND expensive, specialised image programs out there that will do the job for you automatically and some editors that have their own personal way of approaching the process. I’ll leave those to them who know what they are doing. In our club we have a lot of members with a large range in computer literacy and photo editing skills. If you are going to enter your pictures into club image competitions then it’s a useful skill to acquire, and by its repetitive nature, one that you will soon pick up.
First thing to note is that the Olney Club projector has a fixed resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. That’s 1024 wide by 768 high. Other projectors have different resolutions so get to know what it is for other competitions. Because the projector uses landscape orientation by default, landscape images will appear biggest using the screen more effectively. Portrait format is OK but there is going to be a lot of black ‘unused’ area at the sides.
Second thing to note is that the projection program expects a jpeg type file. This is the almost universal image file type with an extension of .jpg or .jpeg . When saving as jpeg image use the highest quality setting. Also the image workspace should be sRGB, again almost universal with cameras these days unless you have become specialised – the projection program will not convert this from other workspaces for you.
Below we are going to show how to optimise the image using Photoshop as an example, but other image editors like Gimp, Photoshop Elements and PhotoLine have a similar set of user controls and can be used to follow roughly the same process.
Resizing Your Image
Select Image>Image Size dialog (in Gimp: Image>Scale Image).
- Make sure on this dialog that ‘Scale Styles’, ‘Constrain Proportions’ and ‘Resample Image’ boxes are checked and ‘Bicubic Sharper’ is selected (in Gimp: Cubic).
Now – many of our members get the next bit wrong – because it takes a bit of thought (grin). I’ll be a bit repetitive here just to drive the point.
Any given image has what we call the ‘long edge’. That’s the vertical for portrait format and horizontal for landscape. You can crop your image just how you like (but remember what I said above about landscape format being best for impact) to suit the composition so sometimes landscape format might get cropped so that the height is not taking up the full projection height (like wide screen style) but for landscape format the long edge will ALWAYS be the horizontal one. Alternately for portrait format the long edge will ALWAYS be the vertical one.
- For landscape format enter 1024 into the pixels Width box. The Height should calculate automatically.
- For portrait format enter 768 into the pixels Height box. The Width should calculate automatically.
Check: if the Height is consequently more than 768, then set the Height to 768 and the Width will adjust automatically, or if the Width is more than 1024, then set the Width to 1024 and the Height will adjust automatically.
One (possibly both) dimensions will now be at its maximum.
- Press OK then Ctrl+0 (or whatever) to restore picture to full screen.
Phew – did it!
Adding Image Data
That is usually enough – but – just to prevent some projection programs from still getting it wrong, also perform the following two steps:
If either Width or Height are not now at the maximum values, then you can pad the image out with black.
- Select Image>Canvas Size dialog.
- Make sure pixels are the quantity, Image placement is central and Canvas extension colour is Black.
- Enter Width of 1024 and Height of 768 pixels then OK.
- Press Ctrl+0 (or whatever) to see it all.
- Now save your file with a new name.
To make it easy for the projectionist to use, include your name and image title in the filename, with a .jpg file extension.
That’s it for the pic resizing requirements.
Next we should add the image information to the file. That allows the projection program to import the information and set up its database of everyone’s images, even over several competitions during the year. This should be easier to do than it sounds.
The information we need to add is:
- The image title
- The authors name
- The subject (or competition category name in this context)
As usual there are umpteen ways of doing this and the natural choice would be your image editor. However because all the different editors make things complicated by naming the fields inconsistently we recommend a different approach of using Windows explorer – that’s the program you use for day-to-day copying and deleting of general files on your Windows PC, sometimes called My Computer on your desktop.
- In windows explorer go to wherever you have stored your image.
- Right mouse click on the image you want to add the data to.
- Click Properties.
- Then select the Summary or Details tab (depending on the operating system).
Here you will see listed the field names: Title, Subject & Author.
- Click to the right of the word Title and enter the image title.
- Similarly click to the right of the word Subject and enter the competition category for this image.
- Also add your name to the Author field in a similar way.
Try to use EXACTLY the same name for EVERY image in every competition you enter then if there is any automatic point scoring by the machine, it will work out correctly (ie: F. Bloggs and Fred bloggs are two different entrants as far as the machine is concerned).
- Click on OK button to save the details.
Just as a quick check you can hover your mouse over the file in explorer and the hot tip will come up with some of the details you just added together with the image size in pixels and at least the height or width will be 1024 or 768.
That’s it for the image details.
Sending it Off
Now you need to either email (as attachments) or post to the projectionist (that will be me!) so everyone’s images are gathered in and prepared ready for the event. If you do this some time BEFORE the due date, then the projectionist can check your files for correctness and let you know in good time if there’s something wrong.