Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 4, 2004, 8:17 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 10
Default

Sorry if this is a stupid question. I'm getting ready to send my first images out to be printed. I'm having trouble figuring out how to crop them to 4x6. For some of them, I want to crop out some parts of the image for a better composition (should have gotten closer to the subject). In other cases, I don't really need to crop anything out, but I understand that most printers (Ofoto, Shutterfly, etc.) will crop something to fit the image to 4x6 paper. I'd rather decide myself what gets cropped, and send them a correctly-sized image.

I have Zoombrowser EX, Photostudio 5.5, PhotoImpression 4 (all supplied with my S1 IS) and Irfanview. Sorry if there is an obvious way to do this with one of those applications, but I haven't been able to figure it out.

Thanks,

Faye
fstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 6, 2004, 10:56 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

I don't now much about the software that you have, so I'll talk in more general terms. Hopefully this will help.

The goal is to compose the picture as you would like it at the proper DPI (dots per inch) to get the print size you want ant the quality you want.

The first part (composing the picture as you want) you can do.

The second part is harder, but not necessarily. You either need to interpolate the picture up to the DPI that the print shop will print at or you need can let them do it.

If you do it, irfanview has some good commands/methods to do it but I don't know about the others... maybe they do too (I'm sure they can do it, but can they do it well? That is the question.)

Interpolation will create data... It looks at the picture and creates more pixels to match what is already there. How this is done is important and some software does it better than others. This means it can look bad or good, depending on the picture and how the interpolation is done. "bicubic" is very good, but irfanview has that and another way which I've read is even better (don't know if that is true.

So you can increase the amount of data in the picture so that it can be printed larger.

But this might not be worth the effort. This is because some places do as good or better job at interpolation than you can. So some times you don't have to get it just right, you can inlarge it some (or even not at all) and let the printer do it. Will this produce good results? I have no idea... it depends on how the printer does it. This is why some people say that having 150 or 200 DPI on your picture is "good enough". This is because you tell the printer to print at X by Y size and it creates the extra data necessary and prints it.... and it comes out good. Who knows what that printer really wanted for DPI, but it was able to do a good job with what you gave it.

This is part of the process of learning what you send the place doing the printing. You need to find out what is a good DPI for prints of the size you want. I don't know how you'd find that out (maybe by finding people who use those companies) but that is the key info you need.

Does that help?

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 6, 2004, 12:56 PM   #3
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

fstevens wrote:
Quote:
Sorry if this is a stupid question. I'm getting ready to send my first images out to be printed. I'm having trouble figuring out how to crop them to 4x6. For some of them, I want to crop out some parts of the image for a better composition (should have gotten closer to the subject). In other cases, I don't really need to crop anything out, but I understand that most printers (Ofoto, Shutterfly, etc.) will crop something to fit the image to 4x6 paper. I'd rather decide myself what gets cropped, and send them a correctly-sized image.

I have Zoombrowser EX, Photostudio 5.5, PhotoImpression 4 (all supplied with my S1 IS) and Irfanview. Sorry if there is an obvious way to do this with one of those applications, but I haven't been able to figure it out.

I'm not familiar with any of the products you are using except for Irfanview, so I'll talk you through how to crop with that one.

The problem is that you must have the correct Aspect Ratio for the desired print size (and this ratio will change with different print sizes).

Irfanview can be used, but it's a pain to crop for both composition and aspect ratio at the same time. You'll have to monitor the dimensions in pixels shownwhen you use the crop. Then,when you have one side the way you want it, compute the dimensions needed for the other side.

To use the crop feature, simply point the mouse at an area of the image, then click and hold the left mouse button. When you drag the mouse position, a box will open up. You'll see the dimensions of the crop box in pixels shown at the top of the screen. Once you have the correct dimensions (box sized and positioned), use the Edit, Crop Selectionmenu choice.

For a 4x6" print (and each print size will have a different Aspect Ratio), you can use one of the following methods:

1. Start with the height (short side for these calculations) of the image and modify the width (you'll see the dimensionsof the crop box changing at the top of the screen). To calculate the correct width (long side) needed, multiple the height in pixels by 1.5 -- moving the crop box until the width is correct. We know to use a multiplier of 1.5 for the correct ratio because 6/4 = 1.5

or

2. Start with the width (long side), and multiple by 0.6666 to get the needed height (short side) in pixels -- trimming off the excess until the photo matches what is needed. We know to use a multiplier of 0.6666 for the correct ratio because 4/6 ~= 0.6666

Just round to the nearest pixel for calculations. Also, don't worry about being a few pixels off when you crop (it should be close that you won't see it when printing).

For other aspect ratios, you'll need to calculate what is needed. For example, for a 5x7" print, to calculate what you need for method 1 above, you'd end up with a multiplier of .7143 (5 /7 ~= .7143); or for method two above, you'd end up with multiplier of 1.4 (7/5 = 1.4).

An example:

You have a crop box with the long side of the box exactly the way you want it, with the dimensions of the crop box showing 1200 pixels for this side. You want a 4x6" print. So, you multiply 1200 pixels x 0.6666 and get 800 pixels (rounded to nearest pixel) for the short side. Then, you carefully resize the short side of the crop box until you see800 pixels (making sure to keep the long side at 1200 pixels so that you're maintaining the correct ratio of width to height).

Now, if you want to crop for both composition and aspect ratio, be careful that you've got enough detail left over. You'll want a minimum of around 150 pixels per inch for a 4x6" print (600 x 900 pixels or greater), with better results of you keep it higher (I'd try to stay at at least 800x1200 pixels of real detail, which works out to 200 pixels per inch).

After cropping, you may want want to interpolate the images back up using the Edit, Image Resize/Resample menu choice. I usually use Lanczos, and interpolate back up to 300 pixels per inch if I'm sending images out somewhere to be printed. This works out to 1200x1800 pixels for a 4x6" print (4 inches x 300 pixels per inch = 1200 pixels; 6 inches x 300 pixels per inch = 1800 pixels).

If I'm printing at home on an inkject, I usually don't worry about interpolating (unless I get below 150 pixels per inch; or it's a special print that I'm printing at 8x10" size). Then, I'll go ahead and interpolate up to 300 pixels per inch (even though it may not be needed).

BTW,I find it too cumbersome to use Irfanview for cropping (although I have done it in the past). When I need to crop quickly for standard print sizes, I usually use Epson Film Factory (it shipped with an Epson Camera I purchased a few years back). It lets me select an Aspect Ratio (3:2 is the correct ratio for 4x6" prints), then keeps the crop box at this aspect ratio while I resize it and move it around to crop for composition.

Paint Shop Pro also has a feature to make this much easier (you can select a print size, then resize the crop box, while it maintains the correct ratio of width to height).
The crop tool is the third tool down on the toolbar on the left hand side of the page). When you select it, you'll see an icon for the same tool at the top which will let you select the print size. BTW, Version 9 is in beta now, and you can download it from here:

http://www.jasc.com/community/beta/pspdownload.asp?

Here are some links to moresoftware with cropping tools that can maintain the selected aspect ratio, while you crop for both composition and print size (without needing to do any calculations yourself):

http://www.epsonsoftware.com (Film Factory)

http://www.photodex.com/ (Compupic Pro)

You may also want to check the help screens or manuals for the software you've already got. If they are too cumbersome to use, simply download some trial versions of other products (like the ones above) and see which one you like the best.

I think there are somefreeware or shareware programs designed to easily crop, too (but the I've ones I tried didn't allow cropping for both composition and aspect ratio at the same time).
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 6, 2004, 4:01 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
dcrawley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 392
Default

One thing to consider is that both Ofoto and Shutterfly have free software that you can download that includes a crop function that makes crops of your selected area for the correct aspect ratio of 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10. Then you can upload the cropped image from within the software.

Damon
dcrawley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 6, 2004, 8:43 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 10
Default

Thanks for the help, everyone. I don't have time to play with this today, but I'll let you know how things turn out.

Faye
fstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 7, 2004, 2:44 AM   #6
Member
 
jhallgren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 66
Default

I believe that I saw this crop (4x6,etc) feature in Picassa, a free pgm from Google...have not tried it yet to print, but did a test edit and it keeps the correct aspect ratio in edit "box"...
jhallgren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2004, 4:35 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 10
Default

I took what seemed like the simplest way out, and downloaded Picasa. It has an easy-to-use crop feature, where you can select your print size, then just click and drag to select the area you want to keep. I cropped my first set of images to be printed, and uploaded them to yorkphoto.com (I had used that lab for my film processing, and had been happy with their work). I saved my original images, of course, so if the prints don't turn out so well, I can always try again.

But after I went to all the work to crop everything exactly the way I wanted it for 4 x 6 prints, I found out that York Photo offers digital prints in a size like 4 x 5 1/3 (consistent with the size the images were when they came off the card). Maybe I'll try that next time.

Faye
fstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:20 AM.