This tutorial assumes that you have an image
editor and offers some specific tips for using your image editor to
improve the quality of the images in your store.
|A couple of other things
to consider when preparing images for the Internet are the color,
the orientation of the image and the amount of compression.
Particularly when you have images that are scanned, there can be
quite a bit of color loss. And lighting affects the images if you
are photographing them. You may want to read the tutorial
on taking good pictures. Its more oriented towards 3-d objects
than flat ones, but there are some useful tips that apply to ALL
images, not just ones that you are taking pictures of.
You may want to follow this tutorial by using your image editor
and doing each step. To get a copy of the image that we're
discussing, click here.
|1. Orientation: In the original image, the picture is
slightly rotated. A lot of people don't notice this any way
other than subliminally, but will find it more attractive if a
rectangular object is squarely aligned on the page. So the
first step is to rotate the item until its squarely aligned with the
edges of the frame. In this case, the image was rotated your
item 4 degrees CCW so that it was square on the page.
This particular image has
another serious problem which could have been avoided if the
picture had been taken from directly in front or above the object
(see the tutorial
on taking good pictures). The problem becomes evident when
we try to crop the image and make it square. We're
seeing a perspective view and it would look better if this image
were square. Unless you have Photoshop or some other high-end
editing tool (and you are comfortable using them). the best choice
at this point would be to stop and take the picture again and get it
square (note, also, if you have a scanner that the easiest way to
get a good image of a flat object like a magazine may be to put it
in the scanner rather than to take a photograph! Scanners can
be used effectively to capture images of small 3-dimensional objects
also. See the tutorial
on using scanned images for more detail on this process.
If you have an image that looks like that
above, the perspective effect can be corrected during editing.
Not all image editors can perform the operation described below, but
if you have Photoshop, you can correct this with the edit operation:
a) use the 'select' menu option to select the image b) using the
'edit' menu option, sub-option 'transform' and use the 'perspective'
option to adjust the image so that the image is square with the
frame. c) after the right and left sides are straight, use the
'skew' option to adjust the upper right corner so the image is
straight. Crop the image edges as you wish.
2. Color: The
original image was not photographed in very bright light and looks
quite different from the original,. Look carefully at your
item. Look at how your image appears. Is the color
realistic? In this case, it does not, so we need to adjust the
image to make it look more like the original. I used the 'curves'
operation in Photoshop. This is an operation that increases the
apparent saturation and brightness of an image. You can get
equivalent results from many imaging packages by separately
increasing the saturation and the contrast in an image. Particularly
where you are dealing with something like comic books, its a very
good idea to look at the color and see if the image on your monitor
is similar to the physical item.
3. Focus/Sharpening: If
your image looks fuzzy, it may benefit from using the 'sharpen'
operation to improve the clarity of your image.
Note also that if you have a large fuzzy image,
that presenting it in smaller format (and using the sharpen
operation) may result in a much clearer image. Although its
generally advisable to use larger images, if the large image is
fuzzy and there's no way to get a sharper picture, the smaller,
clearer image may prove more attractive:
|Which image do you find more attractive?
Same image after reduction and use of the 'sharpen'
4. Saving your work: When you save a
JPG image, you generally get a chance to specify a compression
level. If you use the least amount of compression, your images will
look best. Furthermore, if at all possible, do not store your image
originals as JPGs unless there is absolutely no other option. If you
do, each time you save them, they are recompressed and successive
recompressions will cause the images to become quite wavery. This
effect is called 'JPEG creep' and can become very noticeable:
The image on the right was saved as a
low-compression jpg and retrieved and resaved a few times. You
can see the amount of distortion and detail loss very clearly.
Most imaging packages will allow you to save the file in a lossless
format (like PSD or TIF) and this is a good thing to do with your
originals if you have enough disk space. Or save it on CDR.