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Showing posts with label resolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label resolution. Show all posts

No More Fuzzy Faces, Part 2

Posted by Scott Saturday, September 26, 2009 0 comments

Digital Pictures 101: Part 2 - Compression

Awhile back, we explored “resolution” in digital imaging, and discussed tips on how to choose optimal scanning resolution. We also identified the problem that optimal scanning presents, especially in the case of creating a digital archive: image files can be huge – and can easily fill up your hard drive. And although hard drives are getting larger and cheaper every day, the limiting factor might be your backup media – which in this day and age tends to be CD’s DVD’s or online internet backups. Image compression can significantly reduce this burden. As the name suggests, “compression” technology results in smaller file sizes. There are two major types of compression: Lossless and Lossy:

LOSSLESS compression (PNG, TIFF, BMP file formats)

  • Reduces file size with no loss in image quality.
  • Does not compress to as small a file size as lossy. (See Table)
  • Use when archiving and editing images.
LOSSY compression (JPG or JPEG file formats)
  • Reduces files size with some loss of image quality.
  • Allows for variable levels of quality (compression) to be
  • selected by the user.
  • Use when sharing images.

Popular Digital Image File Formats

  • JPG or JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group. Most digital cameras use this by default. Lossy compression.
  • TIFF - Tagged Image File Format. This flexible image format allows for many color depths, and can use Lossless or Lossy compression
  • PNG - Portable Network Graphics. Handles 24-bit (true) color, Lossless compression.
  • BMP - Windows bitmap. Not compressed.
The following MB Comparison Shart is based on a sample image that is 5400x3600 pixels:
The main point to take away from all this is that JPG (pronounced jay-peg) is simply amazing at compressing file sizes with very little loss in image quality. This is especially true when scanning images at very high resolution (300 dpi or higher) and saving files with high quality settings (about 90% of the maximum setting). JPG compression allows you to store and share hundreds of high quality images on a CD instead of dozens.

In these examples, the three cropped images above, cropped from the original, shown are (1) Low-Quality JPG, (2) a High-Quality JPG, and (3) TIFF file (no compression).

Another factor to consider is color depth. Color depth is the number of bits (or bytes) per pixel. More bits per pixel result in more available colors in the final output. Color depth also effects file size, so pay attention to scanner settings.

Generally an uncompressed image will be 1/3 the file size if it is scanned in 8-bit per pixel gray scale instead of True Color— a good thing to remember if you are scanning a lot of documents or black and white photographs and need to save hard drive space.

  • Typewritten or handwritten documents should be scanned with 8-bit per pixel gray scale.
  • Black and white photographs should be scanned with 8-bit per pixel gray scale unless you want to preserve the subtle sepia or yellowing; then choose True Color.
  • All other color photographs or color documents should be scanned using True Color.
Doing the right thing with image compression:
  • Archive using lossless compression. (Please!)
  • Experiment before picking a compression: Zoom way in to your compressed files to see how the lossy-compression is effecting the quality.
  • Choose a compression that allows your project to fit on the media provided.
  • Share excellent quality copies using compressed files.
  • Use 8-bit gray scale color depth for documents and black and white photographs to save disk space.

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One-Click Downloads

Posted by Renee Monday, May 11, 2009 0 comments

When Cheryl called us recently to suggest a new feature for Family Photoloom, she probably wasn’t expecting to see it up and working in less than 24 hours. But it was!

Cheryl asked for a feature that would allow her to save a portrait she created in her Family Photoloom account to her hard drive, so that it could be used as the “key” picture for that individual in other genealogy applications. The result is our new One-Click Download feature.

Portrait Downloads: Each time you tag a face or anything else with Family Photoloom, a portrait is created. When you choose a record from your “Records” list, all the portraits of that individual appear in a “Portraits List” on the right of your screen.

To download a portrait for use in other applications, simply click the new ‘download’ button that appears on a portrait in the “Portraits List” when the mouse cursor is over it. You will then be prompted to save image to your computer’s hard drive.

Picture Downloads: One-Click Downloads have also been added to the group picture thumbnails at the bottom of the screen to make it easy to download a “full picture.”

Thank you, Cheryl!

One last n
ote: When you contact us at Photoloom, know that we set the bar on Member Support high. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you like, what needs improvement, and what you’d like to see in the future. Who knows, you might even be the next “Cheryl,” and your new feature could be up and running by tomorrow.

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No More Fuzzy Faces, Part 1

Posted by Scott Monday, January 5, 2009 1 comments

Digital Pictures 101: Scanning Resolution

Do you have old family photographs that you’d like to bring into the 21st Century? Imagine the fun and excitement that would come from being able to share such treasures with your family, using today’s digital computer tools and networks.

To do this, you’ll need a scanner. But fear not; these days, a good quality scanner can be had for as little as $100. (This is fantastic, given that my first scanner, purchased in 1995, cost $1000.00!)

In order to use your scanner, you’ll need to understand “resolution,” and you’re in luck, because that’s what this installment of Digital Pictures 101 is all about.

Images scanned at low resolution (like the one on the left) often appear relatively clear and crisp when viewed as very small images or on a computer screen. Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they seem.

The reality is that printing images that have been scanned at such low resolutions will result in fuzzy faces and much frustration—print out a 5x7 copy of the photo above and all you’ll get is a sea of little gray squares (like the large image above).

So what is the best resolution to use for scanning family photographs?

Here’s a simple rule of thumb — if you are scanning an image to make a same-size printed copy of that image, scan it at 300 dots per inch (dpi). However, beyond same-sized copies, determining optimal scanning resolution gets a lot more complicated. One trick is to have in mind the final device or medium that will display your image. (See Table 1, below)

Table 1 - Suggested Resolution based on Final Destination
This works great when you wish to reproduce the item you are scanning at about the same size as the original being scanned. However, it all falls apart when you scan a tiny picture that you wish to display much larger. However, a better way of choosing the correct resolution is to have a target uncompressed file size in mind.

I like to think of my final destination medium as a storage device. Do I plan to view the image on a still TV, a computer screen, or a high-definition screen? Is the largest image I plan to print 5x7, or will I be printing a 10x14? And yes, a piece of paper is a storage medium—it holds 19 MB of color information at 300 dots per inch. Take a look at the following table:

Table 2 - Suggested Resolution Based on File Size of Popular Media*
It's ironic that just when we're starting to get used to the metric system, where "kilo" means 1,000, and "mega" means 1,000,000, those computer geniuses/ hackers/ nerds go and turn everything upside down!

After looking over the file size requirements listed in Table 2, you may be thinking, “Are you crazy? If I scan my photographs at the high resolutions that are needed to produce quality print images, it’s going to take up a huge amount of memory space on my computer! Where am I going to store all that image data?”

The first part of the answer is compression — which greatly reduces the amount of space needed to store a high resolution picture, albeit at some cost to quality. Compression will be the subject of the next installment of Digital Pictures 101.

The second part of the answer to the question of where to store all that image data is — Family Photoloom™ of course — the best place on the Internet to store and share your photo-history!

Coming Soon: Digital Pictures 101: Compression — A brief comparison of file types (TIFF, BMP, JPEG, and GIF); tips on scanning documents, including using digital cameras.

* Math Wiz Notes for Table 2
• It takes 3 bytes to store a color pixel (one byte for each of red, green, blue).
• There are 1024 bytes in a KB (read Kilobyte)
• There are 1,048,576 (1024x1024) bytes in a MB (read Megabyte)
• And a Gigabyte? 1GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes! (1024x1024x1024)
Excerpted from “No More Fuzzy Faces: The Secrets of Digitizing Family History”, originally presented by Scott Huskey at the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference, Provo, Utah, March 2008.

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