Gallery / Scanning

About Scanning...

What do we want?
Ideally we want you to send us pictures no wider than 450 pixels at 72 DPI and in JPG format preferably with a file size lower than 25Kb. If you're not so sure how to do this then read on...

Images acquired straight from your scanner will be fairly big files, considerably larger both in pixel size and DPI (dots per inch) than they need to be for the web. Large files take quite a long time to email. This is very inefficient and very wasteful of your online time. You can streamline the images so they are radically smaller in Kb and will travel by email quite quickly.

Most scanners tend to default to a scanning resolution of 150 DPI. This is around double the DPI figure required for screen viewing on the web. For example a postcard sized photo scanned at 150 DPI will typically produce a file of around 900 pixels wide by 600 high - i.e.1.5Mb for a BMP or TIF, or around 60Kb for a JPG. This can be reduced dramatically. The objective is to reduce the file size as much as possible without causing a noticeable degradation to the picture. As a rule, web images are usually prepared at 72 DPI. The largest width we can display on "Your Place & Mine" is 450 pixels. If you send us larger ones, they'll be reduced to this maximum width anyway.

How's it done?
There are many readily available software tools for manipulating images. These range from the very expensive "industry standard" tools, to simple freeware or downloaded "try-outs". Chances are you've already got some software on your computer that can crop, resize and, to some degree, optimise pictures. The terms "crop" and "resize" are self explanatory but what is meant by "optimise"? When you optimise a picture you encode the data in a compressed form so that the number of kilobytes used is reduced. The more compression you apply, the more quality is lost in the picture. Just how much compression you can use depends on each individual picture. You can often afford to lose a surprising number of Kilobytes of information before the degradation becomes visually unacceptable. If you haven't got any software that does this then there is a plentiful supply which you can acquire online without even leaving your seat. Here are a few pointers that might get you started...


Freeware:
There are many sites where you can download freeware or shareware imaging products. These will vary in features and functionality and probably won't be as powerful as the big established named products but many of them will do all that you need - and they're free!

Here are just a few such sites that you might look at to get you started:
www.download.com
www.zdnet.com/downloads
www.tucows.com
www.freedownloadscenter.com
http://www.webattack.com/shareware/gmm/swgcomp.shtml

Brand names:
Producers of established brand-name imaging software usually have free downloadable "try-outs" which are similar to the full programme but are cut-down. Some may also have a time limit on the trial period.
Here are just three such websites that you might visit:
www.adobe.com/products/tryadobe/main.html
www.acdsee.com
www.jasc.com

Online engines:
There are also some websites which will resize and optimise images for you "while you wait". These are becoming very popular.
http://www.xnview.com
http://www.netmechanic.com/cobrands/zd_dev/accelerate.htm

Online Tuition:
There's help and advice on optimising images at:
http://html.about.com/cs/optimizingimages
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/design/graphics

And there's more...
The few addresses suggested above are literally just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of places on the web where you can get help and downloads or take part in discussion groups etc. Try going to a search engine and type in "Image Optimizing" as your search clue.

Important note: The web addresses listed above are just a small sample of a vast online resource comprising many products and brands. Their appearance here does not imply in any way that the BBC recommends, favours or endorses them.

There is an excellent BBC "Webwise" article about scanning which goes into more detail.
it's at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/scanning/scanning1.shtml