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Old Nov 3, 2007, 12:06 PM   #1
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I am entering some photos in a contest that require we submit photos printed at 5 x 7 and an electronic file of the image no larger than 1 MB. They say they will use the images on their web page and in flyers and posters if chosen. So, I don't want the print quality to be diminished.

What is the best way to do this without losing quality using PSE5?

Also, how can I tell what the size is going to be when resizing? A typical photo right now shows the following specs after cropping to 5 x 7-

Pixel Dimensions: 16.0M

Width - 2000 pixels

Height -2800 pixels

Document Size:

Width - 5 inches

Height -7 inches

Resolution - 400 pixels per inch

This photo currently shows as 3.96MB in Windows Explorer. I adjusted the resolution to 200 pixels per inch with the Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions and Resample Bicubic checked. This gives me a 1.11MB file.

Am I doing this the best way to preserve the image quality and is there a better way than "guessing" on the resolution to get under 1.0 MB?

Thanks for any input.

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Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:03 PM   #2
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A 2000x2800 pixel image is 5.6Mpixels in size, so you should be able to save as a jpeg to 1MB or less simply by adjusting the quality slider in PSE when you save it. I believe there is a dialog box that lets you see the file size before you save.

It has been my experience that keeping the original pixel dimensions and adjusting quality setting gives somewhat better results than reducing the number of pixels and saving at higher quality. If they are going to resize for other purposes, it is best to have the original size for them to work from. The flyers and posters most of these organizations print are not done at true photo quality anyway, they are more like newspaper quality, and web images don't need even that much resolution.

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Old Nov 8, 2007, 9:34 AM   #3
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I think you should experiment by saving your finished masterpiece in PSE5 at various pixel sizes, and at various levels of compression, starting from the original cropped file, and saving each attempt with a meaningful name that reminds you what you did.

If you have a good quality monitor, running at high resolution, you can get a good idea of what they'll look like if you view them at the same size (in inches on the screen, measured with a ruler) as you think thejudges will.Obviously they'll look at the print at 5x7, and it's possible that's all they'll see. But if they look at the files as well, they'll see them full- screen on a monitor.

I'm using 1280x1024 on my new 17" LCD monitor, but ran at 1024x768 on my antique 17" VDU, which looked fine, but had to be thumped every few minutes when it went blue. Sharpness, as I've said before, is an effect that can be an optical illusion. You have to match it to the viewer, under conditions as close as possible to the judging situation.

I've done various graphs of jpg compression level vs file size, but they're heavily dependent on the content of the image. Large areas of similar tone get compressed enormously, so silhouettes do well. Finely detailed images do badly for compression. There is no way out of trial & error plus inspection at the right size.

If you have to submit a paper print and an image file, there's no reason why they should be from exactly the same file, surely, unless they explicitly say it. They'll have no means of knowing. For an image file to use on their website,the most useful file for them will be as near to your originalas possible, but meeting the size limit, and then their webmasters they can resize & sharpen to their own taste, for the best possible result.

If you're giving them a paper print,they won't know what its resolution was before printing.

Whatever you submit to a photoprocessor, it's likely that their printing machine willlook atyourfile, and reprocess it to print at about 400pixels per inch. That's what my friendly local photo printer's big brand-new Agfa machine does. So if you give them, as VTphotog suggested, 2000x2800, it'll find it easy, but much smaller pixel sizes would do just as well for a 5x7 print, because it will be viewed at that size, and the dithering processes in the machine are very good.

Only a few years ago, all of us had only 3Mpixels, and the results from dSLRs and many smaller machines with good lenses were just as good at ordinary sizes on print or on screen as they are now with many more pixels.

But if the rules are as you say, I suggest you make the best-looking 5x7 print you can, and view the file you submit as a separate exercise, experimenting with size & compression until it looks good and meets the target size.

If any of this is downright wrong, I'm sure the experts will correct me.

Get on & win!
Best wishes,
Alan T

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Old Nov 8, 2007, 6:58 PM   #4
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Thanks, VTphotog and Alan. I had forgotten I'd even posted this since no one had been responding to it.

I shall try your method of adjusting the quality slider when saving and see how that goes. I hadn't tried that one. A friend had suggested cropping at 5 x 7 setting the resolution at the top at a high resolution. I'm not sure how she did it, but when I did, my file size stayed large.

Alan, two of the images are fairly detailed. The third one has about half blue sky in it. (You haven't seen any of these as they haven't fit any of the challenges.) I did have Ritz Camera print them for me. My home printer (HP7350) does a fairly good job, although sometimes I can see the layers of the ink in the images. I gave them the full file, although it was loaded onto their computer at a kiosk and then printed from there. So, not sure what that did to the resolution. They seemed to come out okay, although the one with the sky I sent my home print in because the blue sky was a deeper shade of blue.

I am hoping to win as the prizes are much better than the fairs I've submitted to. Grand Prize a new dSLR outfit (although, I am perfectly happy with my current one), 1st prize -a p&S (which I've been looking to buy anyway), second prize - $100 gift certificate to local camera store and 3rd prize - one-year national parks pass. But, we'll see. Not sure how much or how good the competition is.

Thanks for the input.

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