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Author Topic: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.  (Read 2222 times)

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Winston Smith

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Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« on: September 11, 2015, 09:34:37 AM »

Hi, being relatively new here, I'm still currently devouring older posts about "Instrument makes and models".

But; I have a recurring problem when wanting to view pictures which contributors have kindly posted for our information or just to allow us the pleasure of seeing such lovely instruments. Some of them just open directly into big photo's where it's easy to look at the details of the instrument or parts etc. Others pointlessly open at almost the same size, and a great number have to be actually downloaded to my laptop before I can view them! (Actually, I came across some yesterday which wouldn't even download, so I just had to make do with the original small version within the posting.)

Is this a case of my lack of computer skills letting me down, or am I missing some easy trick, or software? Or is it just a fact of melnet life with which we have to contend?
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2015, 10:07:37 AM »

SMF interface squashes graphics to standard size, AFAIR 200 pixels max side. I believe they open out to the size they were posted as.

I usually go for 800 max side which fits most screens. I suspect some may simply post without much consideration, so it'd be 'random".

If you google the instument you like in image mode you will generally find a decent pic "somewhere".
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2015, 10:09:31 AM »

It's not you or your software!

Forum users who upload photos do so at a variety of sizes and resolutions. The only restrictions are those of file size. When making a posting, if you click on the 'attachments and other options' link you will see that the limits are 4 items per post, maximum total size 512KB, maximum individual size 256KB.

In effect this means that a user can upload a relatively large dimension photo at low resolution or a small dimension photo at a higher resolution (i.e more pixels per cm). As most digital cameras and mobile phones these days will take photos far larger in file size than the forum limits, they have to be reduced somehow. Some users do this manually in a photo editing package such as Photoshop. Others use web-based freeware to do the job. Between the various skills of the users and various options of the freeware, the final results being uploaded to the forum can vary greatly in appearance on individuals' web browsers.

Perhaps as well as the file size limits, there could perhaps be a recommendation that the uploaded photo should have physical dimensions of, say, no less than 15 cm (6 inches) on the longest side? With low resolution and suitable jpeg compression (which can be set in the photo editing software) that ought to be achievable and still fall within the forum file size limit.
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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2015, 10:25:28 AM »

Perhaps as well as the file size limits, there could perhaps be a recommendation that the uploaded photo should have physical dimensions of, say, no less than 15 cm (6 inches) on the longest side?

As screens are all different, wouldn't it be better to set the size limit in pixels?
Also images can vary a lot in their DPI setting, which is something many folk don't understand. At 72 DPI,  6 inches is 432 pixels, which is reasonable for a picture on a web page, but if a picture has been prepared for typesetting it might be 300dpi which means 6 inches is 1800 pixels, almost the full width of a typical "wide screen" monitor. The number of pixels determines the amount of detail a picture can actually contain, and usually a JPEG image of maximum dimension 800px and about 85% picture quality (related to compression) gives as much detail as anyone is ever going to need for melnet's typical purposes, and will be well within melnet's file size limit.

As for the actual displayed size, most browsers can zoom in or out if the picture isn't the best size.

(a topic close to my heart at the moment, as I'll be spending a lot of the weekend converting and resizing images for the next issue of Mardles magazine!)
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Theo

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2015, 10:51:50 AM »

And if you have to download photos before you can view them that is probably because the photo is actually stored on a photo hosting site on the web, not on the forum server. So the way you can view it depends on where and how it is stored.
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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 03:42:50 PM »

Also images can vary a lot in their DPI setting, which is something many folk don't understand.

Virtually all people in my experience as a teacher and IT tutor. It's one of those picture-y things that when you try to explain it to them, they stop you after 10 seconds saying they don't want/need to know the details though of course it's one of the basics that they do need to grasp if they are to work with image files effectively. Other picture-y topics that are not understood (well or even at all) are why images look different when viewed by reflected light after printing to how they appear by transmitted light on-screen (which can be readily explained to 'older people' by comparing paper prints to 35mm transparencies) and the mismatch between the colour systems in use on most domestic equipment (RGB) and professional reproduction kit (CMYK).

I have two daughters - one of whom who maintains some websites for a living - who shy away from grasping the nettle on image manipulation despite me trying to stem the regular flow of questions such as 'how do I make this photo bigger/smaller?'. The two largest OS software companies have a lot to answer for in my view in the way they present all tasks on their kit as being so simple that children can do them. And of course the I(C)T part of the National Curriculum is arguably an unsatisfactory mix of the superficial 'how-to-drive-this-piece-of-software' and the fundamental 'this-is-one-of-the-basic-concepts-underlying-IT'.
</rant> [Yes I know it's mismatched!]  >:(

vof
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Winston Smith

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2015, 04:33:10 PM »

Well, well, who'd have thought it? (That's in answer to you all!) Thanks for trying to explain, but it's all Double Dutch, lol!

It's difficult for us "simple country folk" to understand jargon. I suppose that I might be too lazy, after all these years, to try to develop a new mindset, I'm afraid. Is it not possible to have some sort of automatic converter built into the site, which would convert all uploaded pictures to the same size/format/resolution? (We all know that this is ignorance speaking, so please be gentle with me?)
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Theo

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 04:40:56 PM »

In theory that would be possible, but in practice its unlikey unless someone volunteers to set itup!

The simple explanation to your original question is that digital photos come in all sizes, just like traditional photos on paper.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Winston Smith

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 05:01:44 PM »

Thanks Theo, I do understand about the sizes (to a certain extent, anyway) but why do some have to actually be downloaded to view them? That's the biggest of my grumblings!
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Theo

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2015, 05:38:59 PM »

Because they are stored externally, not on the forum.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Winston Smith

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2015, 08:20:51 PM »

Sorry Theo, you'd already said that, but it hadn't registered!!!!!!
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Roger Hare

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2015, 10:48:00 AM »

I have had similar problems to the ones being discussed here, usually on concertina.net,
rather than on melodeon.net, but like most users I manage to get around the problem - usually.

However:

...Some users do this manually in a photo editing package such as Photoshop....

One useful piece of software which I don't think has been mentioned so far is GIMP (GNU
Image Manipulation Program). This software is free and can be downloaded as a free-standing
application, or within the Portable Apps environment (portableapps.com). It's a full-function
graphics manipulation package which allows (fairly easy) manipulation of images so that
size (scaling), resolution, etc. can be manipulated to produce images of the desired
size (physical dimensions and file size).

It's the only program I use for such work, and regularly use it to manipulate the images
I have inserted into my 'concertina notes'.

Roger Hare

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Chris Ryall

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2015, 11:21:58 AM »

Thanks Theo, I do understand about the sizes (to a certain extent, anyway) but why do some have to actually be downloaded to view them? That's the biggest of my grumblings!

you can either upload and have images [ click to see ] or load them onto a server of your choosing and link to them using the SMF [ img ] tag

[ img]http://chrisryall.net/img/ghent.jpg[ /img] (No file size limits)!

GIMP has … well, quite a learning curve and may not work on a PC. I use Paintbrush on my iMac ;)

This layout uses SMF's [ table] tag, and I can change displayed image size too, if need be
 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2015, 12:06:31 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Roger Hare

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2015, 11:57:33 AM »


GIMP has … well, quite a learning curve and may not work on a PC. I use Paintbrush on my iMac ;)


Very true - it is a bit of a beast, but the features needed to do what is being discussed here are
fairly accessible. It does work on PCs - not restricted to Linux/Unix systems...

Roger
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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2015, 12:22:52 PM »

GIMP works on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX! (BSD and Solaris too, allegedly, but that's getting a bit esoteric)

It is harder to learn than Photoshop, but it's much cheaper.

Also for me, as with several other pieces* of free multi-platform software, it's a huge advantage that it works exactly the same on Windows or Linux.

I use it for all image manipulation except for very occasionally when I want to process a batch of files where I use ImageMagick in a shell script... and if you think GIMP is hard to learn, try ImageMagick - all command line, mind-bogglingly powerful, but it's typically the engine behind things like web sites that will resize images for you.

*LibreOffice, Chrome, Thunderbird, Firefox, Audacity, Adobe PDF reader
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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2015, 01:03:57 PM »

If you have a Mac then the built in iPhoto or Photos has a simple editor but it n that will do all you need.  I not familiar with Windows, but I'm sure it must have a simple way of doing the same.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2015, 02:57:11 PM »

Windows Paint is just a little bit too simple...
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Re: Looking at pictures which are posted on the forums.
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2015, 03:10:43 PM »

Paint is great for manipulating cartoons or trimming jpegs, but if the latter are 'high resolution' or simply contain a lot of detail (the fine pattern on melodeon bellows a good example) then the files will still be over the melnet limit. 

Use one of the free 'reduce your image' sites to save at lower resolution.  IrfanView is a really good free windows editor that does everything (it made melnet's icon image ;))

First step in preparing and image for the net should always be to trim its edges of extraneous detail. eg the image of yours truly above started as a larger shot including perhaps 30 of us in Gent's folk cafe. Just trimming it down reduced image size by 70% and also gave it more 'focus'?

We've drifted a bit on this topic, but OP should note that 'inches' mean nothing, screens are different resolution and melnet resizes anyway to 200 pixels. Trim, and then reduce 'jpeg compression' if necessary as whatever you used does its [save]. Most editors will handle this sort of things and there are many free web sites.

Hovering over the picture icon, or [right-click…properties] is a useful way to check pxel and file sizes on most systems
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