Welcome to Part 2 of our series on digital image manipulation where we are covering how to bring your images up to a professional standard so you can be proud to show them online or in print. Last time we covered the basics of image manipulation and what must be kept in mind when saving and sizing images. This time TechWench will tackle some of the applications which are available to the would be image doctor.
One of the simplest processes of image manipulation is the sizing of an image to the desired size and there are many ways to achieve this. An image that is too large wont load well in an email or on a webpage or, increasingly importantly, a mobile device. Thankfully there are a number of websites out there which take all the fuss out of the process and deliver your resized image either via email or direct download. Some of these include www.shrinkpictures.com, www.photosize.com and www.resize2mail.com
As a quick fix for simple needs these websites work well, all you need is your image in digital format and an internet connection. There are many more than the ones shown above with more or less options for altering your image. Some of the better ones allow for colour alteration too such as conversion to black and white and to add hues and sepia tones. The conversion process is simple, upload your image then input the desired image size, resolution and format and hit convert. However should you want to alter more than the physical size of the image then you will need a more powerful package than an online wizard.
The two packages detailed below are aimed at the home user and come with appropriate price tags of cheap to free. They allow for a greater range of image manipulation and organising and are suitable for professional use, dependant on requirements.
Google Picasa and iPhoto
iPhoto is the entry level image manipulation software offered by Apple to the home user. This package is free when you purchase a new mac computer and, as it only runs on mac, comes with its limitations. As a free piece of software which you may already have installed if you work with a mac its bonuses include its ease of organisation when it comes to managing your photos whilst also allowing for quick fixes, cropping and colour corrections with the options to save for print, online or email being easily understood. If however you are not running Apple systems then Picasa could be the software for you. As with iPhoto, Picasa was designed as an easy use tool to allow users to organise their photos, fix them up and then share them as they needed. What is attractive about these applications is their speed, their size and their function. Being low-power manipulation tools they do not eat into your processor or memory and won’t slow your computer to a halt, this is achieved with their streamlined functionality. These tools are very accessible and the interfaces are designed with ease and speed of use in mind with one touch buttons for the most common photo fixes.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Chances are you will have heard the term Photoshop even if you aren’t aware that it is the name of a software package itself. Produced by Adobe, Photoshop is the industry standard for image editing and is the pro-sumer weapon of choice in many careers. This article will not cover Photoshop but the next instalment of our series will cover it in greater depth. Where Adobe’s Photoshop holds relevance here is in their recent introduction of Photoshop Express, a free online version of Photoshop which simplifies the vast power of Photoshop and combines it with the usability of packages such as iPhoto and Picasa. What is also of note in this section of low end image editing software packages is that Photoshop Express is available on Android and iOS devices allowing you to edit photos on the move. The mobile version does not obviously have the range in functionality but does allow the user to add frames, fix colours, crop, rotate and have a good old play with their images stored on their mobile devices.
That just about covers the low end of the market when it comes to selecting an image manipulation software package, it’s all a matter of requirements and if your needs cant be met by one of the packages described above then be sure to join us next time as we cover the Professional and high-end digital image editing software packages available to the pro-sumer.