Re-sizing Images 

©Doug Weldon Photography - www.dougweldon.com 

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Image re-sizing is a topic that can easily become a set of tutorials on its own. Our purpose here is to provide a simple way to resize images for printing. 

 

The aspect ratio of most digital captures do not conform to standard paper and mat sizes. That means, if you are going to use standard paper, frames, and mats, re-sizing becomes a two step process - sizing and cropping. The second step in the process can lead to the loss of some of the image, as you will see. If you want output that matches exactly what you see on your monitor, you will have to custom mat and frame.

 

To resize, pull down the Image menu and choose "Image Size."

resize1

You will get a dialogue that looks like this:

resize2

We will limit our discussion to a subset of the options available.

 

  • Document Size
  • Constrain Proportions
  • Resample Image

 

Because "Constrain Proportions" is checked, width and height are tied together. In other words, if you change width, height will change automatically. If you change height, width will change automatically. We want this to be the case so that an image is not distorted when it is re-sized. We want to maintain the original aspect ratio.

 

Let's say we want an image that will be 10 inches wide, because we want to print on 10 x 8 paper. It looks like all we will have to do is set width to 10. Examine the next image:

resize3

Notice two things:

 

  • we resample the image using "Bicubic Sharper" 
  • we don't get an 10 x 8

 

Bicubic Sharper is the recommended resampling algorithm for reducing the size of an image. Bicubic Smoother is the recommended resampling algorithm for increasing the size of an image.

 

The resulting size of our image is 10 x 6.694. This is because we have rightly chosen to maintain the aspect ratio of the image to avoid distorting it. Now we either have to custom mat and frame (which is what I do to maintain the image as prepared in photoshop), or we have to use a multi-step re-sizing process, losing a bit of the image in the process. 

 

Our problem is with the height of the image. We want 8, not 6.694. So, we will change our re-sizing method. Instead of changing width in the re-size dialogue, we will change height:

resize4

 

Now notice that I have the correct height, but width is too large. This we can take care of by cropping. We choose the Crop Tool and set the width and height parameters to what we want:

 

crop2

Notice now, though, that we have to give up part of the image to achieve an 10 x 8 image:

 

crop

You have to make the decision whether or not you want to do this. The decision is to custom mat and frame, or lose part of the image by cropping. There is no way around this.

 

Ever wonder why when you get images back from a print service they look a bit different than you remember them on your computer screen? When you send your images out for printing, your print service ALWAYS crops images to make them fit standard dimensions for printing. 

 

Learn to custom frame if you want to preserve the full image. It is not as difficult a task as you might think. Places like American Frame make it easy with web based wizards that determine mat and frame cuts for you. A ready made custom frame is shipped to you at a cost FAR LESS than having your work custom framed in a frame shop. Other similar framing sites are out there. A simple search will find them. 

 

Remember:

 

Bicubic Sharper is the recommended resampling algorithm for reducing the size of an image. Bicubic Smoother is the recommended resampling algorithm for increasing the size of an image.


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