With the rise in digital cameras, and the increase in the number of our clients using Content Management Systems, it has become more and more common for people to want to know - how can I resize my pictures easily?
While WindowsXP has improved things a little by including a re-size wizard on some email functions, generally, the support is pretty poor. If you take a photo with your digital camera, you are likely to find that the size you take it off the camera at will be completely unsuitable for emailing - while a photo of the kids might be appreciated by your uncle in the UK, he is not likely to want to spend an hour downloading a 10MB file which, when opened, is about the size of a small African nation.
The answer to these problems is "image optimisation". Many electronic images are optimised for the print industry - this means high quality and big file sizes (usually in excess of 300 dots per square inch, or DPI). The problem is that computers can show, at most, 72dpi images on screens, meaning that if you post a 300dpi photo online, you will be making the person wait at least four times as long to download it as necessary.
In general, if you want to save a photo or something else that is a "real world" picture, use JPEG format, and if you want to save something with a lot of solid colour, like a logo, drawing or something with text, use GIF format.
But how can you do this? What program should you use?
At Internetrix, we recently came across a great little piece of shareware called IRFANVIEW, which is a free and downloadable image editor. Supporting many many many different image file formats, and such time-savers as batch processing (i.e., resize your whole 200 picture photo album in one go), this little program is a gem. And at only 800KB, it is a short download (even for a slow modem connection).
To find out more, go to www.irfanview.com or if you want to download it directly, go to Tucows or click on the link below.