1. Technology

How To Prepare Photos for the Web With Easy Thumbnails

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Most pictures taken with a digital camera are too large for posting on the Web. Before you put them on the Web, it's a good idea to reduce the pixel dimensions and file size. Fookes Easy Thumbnails is free Windows software that makes it easy for you to prepare a batch of photos for posting on the Web by resizing, compressing, and rotating them automatically. Here are step-by-step instructions to help you prepare a whole folder of images for the Web in a very efficient way with Easy Thumbnails.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. If you don't have it already, download and install the free Easy Thumbnails software.

  2. If any of the images need to be cropped, do that first. I suggest using JPEGCrops (also free).

  3. Sort all the images you want to process into a folder.

  4. If you have any images that need to be rotated, put those in a separate folder.

  5. Open the Easy Thumbnails program.

  6. In the Files tab, use the folder tree to navigate to the folder where you placed the images you want to process. The individual file names will be displayed in the file list below the folder tree.

  7. Switch to the Settings tab of Easy Thumbnails.

  8. Enter the following settings:
    Max Width: 400
    Max Height: 600
    Resize: Best fit
    Algorithm: [Smart]
    Prefix/suffix: -wr
    New name: Add suffix
    JPEG quality: 75
    Brightness/Contrast/Sharpness: 0
    If the files need to be rotated, enter 90 in the rotate field to rotate right, or -90 to rotate left.

  9. Click on the "Preview output" tab to see the results of your settings. The title bar of Easy thumbnails will tell you what the final pixel dimensions and file size will be for the first image. You can also hold your mouse over the preview to see this information in a tool tip.

  10. If you are not satisfied with the preview, make adjustments to the settings now. I had you start with 75 for JPEG quality because this generally gives you a good compromise between file size and quality. If the quality is too low, you can increase this to 80 or 85.

  11. Once you are satisfied with the preview, click the "Make All" button. The status bar will show the progress, and a dialog box will pop up when the processing is complete.

Tips:

  1. After processing, review the images to verify that the file sizes and image quality are acceptable. If any are not, you can trash those files and remake them individually with new settings. To process individual files, first select them in the file list of the files tab, then click the "Make" button. The Make button processes only the selected files. The Make All button will process the entire folder.

  2. Because we added a suffix to the files (-wr in this case, for "Web ready") we did not specify an output folder. The files were renamed with the suffix and placed in the same folder as the originals. If you prefer, you can use a file name prefix in the settings tab, or specify a different folder using the "Save in" field on the Files tab.

  3. By choosing [Smart] for the algorithm, Easy Thumbnails will choose the best resampling method according the file format and whether the images are being increased or decreased. You can learn more about the resizing algorithms in Easy Thumbnails help. Press F1 to access Help.

  4. Since sizing down tends to soften images, many people like to sharpen images after they have been reduced. We did not adjust the sharpness, however, because Easy Thumbnails automatically adds sharpening when scaling JPEG images down using the [Smart] algorithm. If you did not start with JPEG images, you may want to experiment with sharpening, but not too much as this can increase file size.

  5. I used 400 x 600 as the maximum pixel dimensions because this is the preferred size for images on About.com. Feel free to adjust the dimensions for your own needs, keeping in mind that the larger the dimensions, the larger the file size tends to be.

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