Reducing Pictures

- 009x
So you take pictures, but they are too big to email. This is a common problem these days. The solution is reasonably simple, so you should be able to pick this up in no time.

Many cameras today take these umpta mega pixel images. PG doesn’t have a clue what any of that means. The setting on his camera…a far from fancy fuji z30…are set a few notches below top quality. A typical picture is 2592×1944. That is in pixels. 96 pixels make one inch. If you print that picture at full size, you will get something 27″ x20.25″.

This picture…the model for this demonstration is a picture of graffiti behind an apartment complex…has a memory size of 1.14 mb. If pixels make you dizzy, then talking megabytes will send you on a three day trip, with no guaranteed return. Lets just say that if you are sending something like this on an email, it will take a lot of room on the cable. It is in everyone’s best interest to reduce that thing before you try to send it.

What follows is the PC procedure for reducing pictures. If you have a Mac, then you probably know how to do this already, or are so cool that it doesn’t make any difference. Anyway, you take the picture you want to reduce, right click, go to open with, and choose paint. This will open your picture in MS paint. This is not considered a cool program, but you can use it for a lot of things.

Go to the image menu, and choose attributes. This will tell you how big your picture is, in terms of pixels and memory. The image menu will also show the keyboard shortcuts for this exercise. For attributes, it is control (ctr) +e. While you can use the image menu and your mouse, and get good results, the keyboard is much faster and less work.

Ok, so you see how big your picture is. What do you want to reduce it to? 25% will take it to 648×486, which is the same three digits in a different order. In real american inches, that is 6 3/4″x5″. This is big enough for your email buddies to see what you want them to see.

The next step is to go to the image menu, and choose stretch/skew. The keyboard path is ctr+w. When you open this window, the horizontal field will be highlighted. Type 25 in that window, and hit tab. This will highlight the vertical window, and you want to type 25 in that also. Click OK, or hit enter, and the picture will shrink to the size you requested.

The final step is to save the work. Click on the File menu, and go to save as. ( Alt+f, a). Give the reduced picture a name. Click save, and you have reduced your picture. The memory on the picture in the demonstration is now 88kb. 1.14 mb is the same as 1140 kb, so you have knocked the file size down tremendously. The picture should be ready to email.

There are lots of other things you can do, some of them very basic. Lets say your picture has things that don’t need to be there, like a lot of background. Go to the tools menu on paint, and choose the rectangle of broken lines. It is usually in the top left hand corner. Using the mouse, draw a rectangle around the part of the picture that you want to keep. Once this is selected, right click and choose cut ( ctr+x). Then, right click again and choose paste ( ctr+v).

The selected image should settle in the top right corner of the window. Find the bottom left corner of the image with your mouse,and see what the pixel counter tells you. This will be two numbers on the bottom panel of the window. Open the attributes window ( ctr+e) in the image menu, and type those two numbers in the appropriate windows. This will make the size of the picture the size of the selection. Go to save as and give this a name ( see above), click OK, and you have a cropped image.

If you do this enough, like more than a couple of times, you are going to make mistakes. As long as you use save as, and don’t make changes to the original, you are not doing anything unforgivable. Some people make a copy of the file before they do any editing.

2 Responses

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  1. Sally Sears said, on September 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Wow, Luther! So cool. and even appears in green on my screen! I will make an effort to follow this and click away to my megalpixel heart’s delight.
    Thanks again for the appreciated suggestions.
    Sally Sears

  2. Adding Text With GIMP | Chamblee54 said, on May 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    […] will provide instructions for both versions. 01 Open the picture you intend to use as a background. Make sure it is the correct size. On some versions of GIMP, you need to open the Toolbox, and the Tool Options. This is in the […]

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