Regarding resizing pictures

Discussion in 'TFW2005 Tech Support' started by Sol Fury, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

    Nov 22, 2002
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    Recently we have had a few requests to help with resizing images. This is not something we do as a part of boards tech support (this section is for technical issues with the site, thread title change requests and so forth).

    If you want to change the size of an image to use for an avatar or signature, it's quite easy.

    Step 1 - get an image or art editing program. The Gimp is a good, free package that has pretty much everything that you would want.

    Step 2 - Resize your image using your chosen program's resize and crop tools. I can't offer much advice here because every program is different.

    That's all there is to it.

    Please remember, the limits for signatures are 500 pixels wide, 300 pixels high and 40 KB. Please make sure that your image fits within these limits or it will be removed.

    (Supporters who donate to the site are allowed more lenient limits of 700 pixels wide and up to 200 KB, FYI)
  2. Keith Prime

    Keith Prime Advanced Engineer

    Jan 31, 2011
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    Addition to "Regarding resizing pictures"

    Wanted to add that in GIMP, once the save dialog box is open, there are a few settings to modify file size as well. (but replying to Tech Support Threads is still down)

    For full details, you can click Help in the 'Save as ___' Dialog Box, assuming you chose to also download the Help files for GIMP.

    I learned what these settings do by trial & error when I made my various Sigs (I think the most trial & error was during the TFHoF stuff). Descriptions are paraphrased, often simplified, from GIMP's help, mentioned above.

    First, the settings are different for different file types. Since most will save .jpgs, I'll cover the general settings affecting file size for them. If requested, I can also cover .pngs & .gifs (both have different settings, but I'm not sure how many actually affect file size), any others I'd have to experiment with.

    *edit* Note that how you save in v. 2.8 has changed. You now have to use "Export..." (possibly also "Export to") to save your image as an image file (.jpg, .gif, .png, etc.). "Save" & "Save as" appear to save the workspace as GIMP's proprietary .xcf file (discussed below) now. */edit*​

    First, once you pick a file name (& a file extention, in this case .jpg) & click save, a new window/ dialog box comes up w/ settings, w/ Quality at the top. GIMP's Help says over 85 doesn't really affect anything, as far as humans can distinguish, it just makes the file bigger. Anyway, before you start messing w/ the Quality, you'll want to click on the + by "Advanced Features". Also, if a specific size is desired or required by the site (ie. 40k for Basic member Sigs, which is 40,960 bytes, since some Property windows for pics display in bytes), you may also want to put a check in the box for "Show preview in image window", as once you check it, the current file size, usually in kilobytes, is displayed right above it & a preview opens in the work area (it will appear in the Layers area w/ a clearly identifiable name, & should immediately be the top layer. Once you're done saving, the preview will close, leaving your pic as it was, if you didn't just close & save).

    Now for various settings (again, these vary by file type, so I'm just listing the ones for .jpgs):

    Checking Optimize (sometimes checked by default), will make the image smaller, though possibly at the cost of longer load time (which is negligible on fast computers).

    The Subsampling drop down box allows you to adjust the range visible (simple version: humans can't distinguish all colors, so this treats close colors as the same). There are 4 settings, but the only one you need to worry about if you're trying to reduce file size is "2x2, 1x1, 1x1 (Smallest File)". The side affect to this is possibly some slight color shade changes. (ie. some shades of red may darken or lighten to one that stores smaller; again, that's the very simple version)

    *edit* For version 2.8 (Stable Release) Subsampling has changed a bit:
    • 4:4:4 (best quality).
    • 4:2:2 horizontal (chroma halved) -- no clue what this does
    • 4:2:2 vertical (chroma halved) -- no clue what this does
    • 4:2:0 (chroma quarterd) -- this is the smallest file for 2.8
    The other .jpg settings appears to be the same.

    DCT Method should be set to Integer, which is supported by most computers, so the image will display the same across most platforms.

    Adjusting Smoothing will smooth over compression artifacts from the various size manipulation methods (look closely at the text in my Sig to see unsmoothed artifacts). This has 2 side affects. Too much smoothing can actually increase file size, as well as blurr the image some.

    Uncheck ALL the remaining boxes. Each check adds something that gets saved, increasing file size. None of what remains affects the image for our purposes.

    Lastly, if your image is still larger than desired/ required, start reducing the Quality until you get to the desired size. Reducing the file size may cause compression artifacts as well, so you may need to reset Smoothing to 0 & adjust smoothing after you play w/ Quality. This is something you have to play w/ to see how it affects the image. That is what the Preview is for. You need to pay attention to what windows open as the dialog boxes for saving open, so you can find your image window. Clicking on it should bring you to the preview opened earlier, which will appear w/ the layers. Once you have that window on top, click back in the Window w/ the settings (probably the right most, for GIMP, in the Start Menu for Windows) & you can see how playing w/ the various settings affects the image quality.

    40k isn't a lot for Sigs, but if you adjust settings in this order, it should improve image quality of your files as you shrink them.

    Unrelated to file size, if you want to save your work to return to later (ie. save all the layers as is), use the GIMP exclusive .xcf. Opening a .xcf file will open GIMP (if it isn't already open) & load the layers you saved exaclty as they were (layer order, visibility, chainlinks & sometimes layer names -- if you have a pic open already, the layers will get a prefix, I think of the file name). There are no settings to modify for that, as it saves the workspace as is. Keep in mind that a .xcf file starts w/ no history to undo. What you saved is what you get.

    I haven't used other photo-editing programs, but I'm sure they have similar settings somewhere.

    *edit* If I find additional changed, I'll edit this post
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  3. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

    May 19, 2003
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  4. optimusfan

    optimusfan Kill your heroes Administrator

    Jul 23, 2002
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    Here's a quick tutorial for resizing images using the freeware program that should make it pretty easy to stay within our 300x500 @ 40KB signature guidelines.

    First, you need to download and install here.

    Once installed, find an open your image. Select "Image -> Resize..."


    On the dialog, set the width to 500 or height to 300. As long as you have "Maintain aspect ratio" checked it will not distort your image. Just make sure both dimensions are within the 300x500 signature limits. Don't worry about the file size yet:


    Select "File -> Save As":


    Set the "Save as type" to JPEG, and give the file whatever name you'd like. Click "Save":


    Finally, adjust the "Quality" slider until the value for "Preview, file size:" is below 40KB. I'd recommend giving it a little extra wiggle room as some photo hosting sites do add a little extra file size when you upload them. Shoot for <39KB:


    Note that reducing the "Quality" value will reduce the image quality, but unless you look closely it won't be noticeable.

    That's it!

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