Manipulating Images in Photoshop. By Don Finkeldei: How to use Photoshop to crop, Adjust color, format for website (jpg), email (jpg) or printing (high resolution tiff).
First, let’s clear up a common misconception about images stored on your computer and programs that handle them. An image is not stored IN a program. Most people say “I store my images in Picasa”, or Adobe Album, or Canon’s ZoomBrowser, etc. Images aren’t stored in programs. You may access images with a program you use like Picasa, but images can be opened in other programs.
Most cameras store images where they should be. Usually in “My Documents” in a folder called “My Pictures”. The “My Pictures” folder is a special type of folder for pictures. It will view the pictures as thumbnails instead of file names. Cameras usually place images in “My Pictures” and are usually organized in folders by the date you’ve taken the pictures. If you have a Windows PC, put all images in “My Pictures”. Your camera software comes set from the factory to put pictures the “My Pictures” folder. Of course, where the photos are put on your computer can be over ridden -- but don’t put them elsewhere.
The best software to prepare your images for both web/email and printing is Photoshop. There’s a professional version called CS3 which costs about $600.00. You don’t need the professional version unless you do a lot of professional image manipulation. For an artist, there is another version called “Photoshop Elements 6”, $99.00. Elements will allow you to do most everything that an artists needs to do -- you don’t need CS3 unless you want to do very advanced editing. It not only allows formatting for web/email and printing, but also is an organizer, like picasa but you can associate keywords to photos which allows finding all pictures easily by searching for the keyword. Example: you can tags to all images for still life, landscape, figurative, etc. Then searching with the keyword “landscape” will show all landscape pictures. You can buy Photoshop Elements at:
You can open images for editing in Photoshop in various ways. The normal way is opening Photoshop first, then navigating to the image in “My Pictures” by using File>Open. I’m using Photoshop 7 which isn’t the newest CS3 version, but it’s similar in all versions.
File>Open opens the open navigator. On the right hand side is a shortcut to “My Documents”. Click it and then find the “My Pictures” folder in “My Documents and double click that. It’ll show all the contents of “My Pictures”. The below image shows all the folders that the camera made containing pictures taken on a particular date.
Then find the folder that contains the image you want and double click the folder to open. You’ll see the images taken on that date. Find the image you want to edit and double click it. It will open in Photoshop.
Once the Image is in Photoshop, you are ready to edit. First, crop the image. Use the selection tool (highlighted in the toolbar) and drag a crop area across the image, cropping out everything you don’t need. My image started out 2730 h X 3648 w (pixels). After cropping it is 2488 h X 3328. The biggest tiff I can make from this image at 300 pix/inch resolution is 8.25 inches high by 11 inches wide. (dividing each by 300 will give you print size in inches).
Next, adjust the levels. Adjusting levels will make sure the image is not washed out. It’ll restore vibrancy and color depth to match the original painting. Use Image>Adjustments>Levels. Slide the outside little triangles such that the black triangle starts about where the curve starts to rise. Set the white triangle just a little past where the curve falls back to the baseline. That should give a better saturation, brightness and contrast – more like the original painting. The below image shows how to do this. When done, click ok
Next, change the resolution to 300 pixels/inch and keep the width and height at their maximum of 2488h and 3328w because I don’t know what print size I’ll need in the future. If I keep the full size, I can always resize it to the printing requirements, if I save it with less pixels, I can’t restore it to a larger size. Make a folder in “My Pictures” called “TiffFormattedImages”. This is where you’ll store all printable images. While you’re at it, make a folder called “JpgFormattedImages – where you’ll store all jpeg images (for web/email). Notice that “Resample Image” is turned off. This saves the full pixels. Change the resolution to 300 pixels/inch and click OK
Next, change the image mode to CMYK color space (discussed earlier). To do this, go to Image>Mode and click on CMYK (it’ll probably be RGB originally).
You are now ready to save the image to the “TiffFormattedImages” folder in “My Pictures”. Use File>Save As. Make sure the “SAVE IN:” field at the top of the Save as dialog box is set to the folder called “TiffFormattedImages” you made in “My Pictures”. Change the format to TIFF by using the dropdown on the right of the format field. Rename the image to what the title of the painting is. If you want to further organize your images, for instance, by genre (landscape, still life, etc. Build new folders in TiffFormattedImages and place the images in those folders. Once you have changed the above, click “Save”.
Now, you have a printable tiff image of the painting. All you need to do to send it to a printer is maybe resize the image, making it the right size for printing although most printers will be glad to do that for you. I send the tiff image to a printer with a note: “Please resize to the height and width you need”. If they are specific about the size, then all you have to do is bring the photo back into photoshop and resize it. For example, say a printer wants you to send an image 5 inches wide. Bring it back into Photoshop and change as below. NOTICE THAT “RESAMPLE IMAGE” IS TURNED BACK ON. If it’s not checked, check it. This is because you want to decrease the pixel width and height according to the size of print you want. Save the image someplace other than over the top of the old image (you may want the old image to make a larger print some day). I usually rename the image with the print size… hence, on this one, pecosAdobe5inWide.tiff.
Now, let’s make an image suitable for email and websites. The size you make them depends on your preference, but somewhere around 7 inches wide (500 pixels wide) is probably ok. Remember, the mode has to be RGB, and has to be saved as a jpeg with compression. You can make them smaller or larger if you need to.
I’ve already got the tiff image open in Photoshop. If you don’t have it already open, open it in Photoshop. Now we’ll change the settings for web/email. Go to Image>Mode and select RGB. Next, go to Image>Image size. Change the width to about 500 to 700 pixels wide. Notice that Resample Image must be checked first (Also, always use “Constrain Proportions”. If only displaying on the internet the resolution doesn't matter. Of course, the actual image size in inches will vary depending on the resolution setting of the monitor that is viewing the image.
It may appear small now in Photoshop. To view it in it’s real size, Use View>ACTUAL PIXELS. When everything is set, save it to your JpgFormatted Images Folder. To do this, use File>SAVE FOR WEB (Not Save or Save As). SAVE FOR WEB is a special save that makes sure the image is internet compliant. Make sure jpg is selected and the quality (compression) is set to about 80.
Once everything is set, Click save and make sure you are saving it in the JpgFormattedImages folder. Make sure the file name is correct. I usually put the width of the image as part of the file name.
The image is now prepared for sending via email or putting on a website, although, website specifications (the size you need) may be different from what we just did. Make the image the width you need for your website.