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Irfanview -free image viewing software
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judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 05 9:49 pm    Post subject: Irfanview -free image viewing software  Reply with quote    

PICTURE EDITING FOR NOVICES

It looks rather complicated, but if you read as you follow the instructions, it is quite simple.

For one of the best little picture editing programs go to www.irfanview.com . The program is very small, easy to download, easy to use, very versatile, loads in a nano second, AND is free. Yes, free. You can make a donation (suggested 10 Euros by paypal) but you won't get nagged if you don't. No spam. No strings. I have tried several picture editors, but Irfan is by far my favourite. No frills, though there is a lot you can do with it. The following instructions look quite detailed, but include explenations. At the end I will do an abriviated path to all the steps. If you like keyboard short cuts, they are listed on the menu items. Here I'll give instructions for basic functions, which will allow you to easily and quickly send pictures by email etc.

DOWNLOAD
Go to www.irfanview.com . Click on Download in the nav bar, or in the right-hand panel. Unless you intend to do lots of complex stuff with many different file types, and know how to move program files around, ignore the Plugins/AddOns, you can do loads without.
It won't take more than a minute or so, even with a slow connection, it is a very small program, less than 1 MB. Save it to your desktop when prompted. There double-click the icon 'iview395' and the wizard will take you through the setup steps. You may be prompted at some point about what file types to open in IrfanView (a box with loads of filetypes and tick boxes next). I would recommend you tick at least
BMP/DIB
GIF
JPG/JPEG/JPE
PNG
PSD
TIF/TIFF
AVI
WMV
This will allow you to open the most common file types, from the net, scanner etc. Look at your camera to see what type of file it produces. Tick that type too, if its not amongst the above. From what I understand, you can even use Irfan to open directly from a camera etc. AVI ets. will also allow you to open stills from a video, I think. Not tried either.
If you are not prompted during the setup, make those settings in the Irfan viewer. Click on Options in the menu bar, then properties, then click on the Extensions tab to do the above, then OK.
Why not click all filetypes? Irfan is the default viewer if you click on a file, maybe you don't want that in every case. You can tick all, of course.


OPENING
You can either create an icon on your desctop, and open the program in the usual way, or when you have an image file open in My Documents (or a sub folder) just doubleclick the image (list item or thumbprint, doesn't matter), and the image is instantly opened in the Irfan viewer, where you can manipulate it, edit, resize, and save the new image. There is a good help file/tutorial if you want to know more about its features etc.

CLOSING IMAGE
Now, that is not so streight forward. I had quite a search before I twigged how to close the image without closing the viewer. DON'T try File > Delete File , as this will actually delete the pictue, and you may loose it alltogether. Go to Edit, then choose Delete (clear Display). Then you can open another image from file, even a whole folder, if you like. But then Irfan loads so quickly from scratch, its not that important.

RESIZING - CROPPING
Many images have a lot of useless background, taking up valuable file space/download time for email. Trim away the excess:
Open an image. Then click and drag the mouse diagonally across the image forming a box around the bit you want to keep. If you are not happy with the selection just click anywhere outside the selection and the box disapears (clicking inside the box will zoom in), then try again until happy. When you have a box, click Edit, then Crop Selection, and the the boxed area remains.

RESIZING - for the internet (incl. email)
Click on Image, then choose Resize/Resample... This opens a dialog box.
First make sure the figure in the left, bottom panel next to DPI: reads 72, or change to 72, which is the resolution most monitors display at, i.e. 72 pixels high, by 72 pixels wide per inch. This also gives you a guide as to how big an image displays, if you devide the pixels of an image by 72 you get the size in inches. Conversely, if you want an image to be a certain size when displayed, you can multiply 72 pixels by the inches, and get the pixel size of the image to type into the sizing box. E.g. You want a picture to be about 6" wide, and proportionatly high. Multiply 6 by 72 = 432 pixels. Before going to the panel above for sizing, make also sure the box 'Preserve aspect ratio' is ticked, as this will prevent distortion. Now go to the second panel above, click (if not already by default) 'Set new size:' and type in the pixels as explained above for the width (you can also choose to have a fixed height, in wich case type in the height figure). The program will calculate the pixels for the adjacent side. Also click 'Units: pixels'. You can also experiment with different units, see what happens when you choose cm or inches. Then click OK. The picture will now go down to the smaller physical display size. N.B. If you enlarge it (possible) you will loose detail, as there are only so many bits in the original.
Tip: To see what an image looks like at a diferent size zoom in and out, and look at the title bar of the viewer, where it gives the pixel x pixel size. You can adjust the zoom jumps (% increase/decrease with each click) in Options > Properties > Viewing, type in new 'Zoom step' figure. Default is 10%.

OPTIMISING AND SAVING (JPG)
You can save at different qualities. But as the saving process can also reduce the byte size (i.e. also quality) if you choose to, then I would suggest to 'save as' and give it a new name when prompted (which can be the same with, say '2' written after it). Open up the newly saved file to see its quality. If you are not happy with it, you can always delete that image and try again with the original. As you get practice, you will find which setting gives good detail, without beeing too big a file. You will see the new byte size in the details or when hovering the mouse over the thumbnail. Try saving it at nearly best value, check, if it is still a big (byte) file, and the image is still very detailed, you can shave off some more bytes, until you see that the image is starting to get a bit rough. Optimising is an inteligent selective process (don't worry, its automatic). On most images there are very detailed areas, and areas where the image has large even areas. The optimising process will drastically reduce the detail of the non-detailed area, if you know what I mean, and keep the fine detail where it matters. If you zoom into an optimised image until you see the squares, you can see that there are much bigger sqares on the flat areas. Now the process:
Click File > Save (or Save as). Two dialogue boxes appear, the usual saving box, proceed as you would save any file (rule of thumb, saving as JPG for photos and GIF for grafics for the net), but don't click Ok until you have decided the quality setting in the JPEG/GIF save options box. For JPG (you can happily use it for grafics too, and I have found the files to be smaller than as saved as GIF) to optimise (recommended) check the box 'Save as progressive JPG'. By default my other boxes that were checked were the three last ones. The box usually remembers the settings, but make sure next time you try saving. I wouldn't bother with GIF unless you want to create animations or overlay an image onto a background leaving part transparent. You will be asked those questions, and it will just confuse you, unless you are an advanced user (in which case you would not be reading this). Now move the slider at the top to the quality setting of your choice. The best is also the biggest byte size file, the lowest looses more detail. There is an optimum setting for each picture (always a compromise), but as a rule of thumb, the bigger the original file (say, a bitmap image of around 1 MB), the lower you can set the slider. For uploading (and just as importantly for the person downloading the image) you don't want anything much over 30 - 50 KB, smaller if possible, unless detail and image are important. Again, try at the highest setting, and shave off bytes, if you can on each successive attempt. You can always take away quality, but not put too much back. I do believe the slider setting are % of original, i.e. if you had it set at 80% the first time you reduced, the second time you have to go down, its not 80% of the last 80%, but still 80% of the original, so nothing happens (my experience).

SOME OF THE MANY OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
If you have looked at my website a few weeeks ago you may notice the difference in the picture quality. They are still the same pictures, but I enhanced the original purple-tinged, washed-out pictures, increasing contrast, decreasing brightness, sliding the colour sliders around, until it looked as realistic as possible. Not perfect, but much, much better than the original. Go to Image > Enhance colour... and then play around. There are two images side by side, the left is the original, the right changes as you slide the bars around, so you can see the process and stop when its just right. Its a bit of a juggeling act, but you soon get the hang of it. You could create some special effect that way too, and there are some limited options for effects, Image > Effects > (list).

Right, now the quick paths.

DOWNLOAD SOFTWEAR
www.irfanview.com > Download > Save to desktop >
double-click Iview395 ikon to open > Wizard > choose extensions (file types) if prompted > create Desktop shortcut (optional).

OPEN IRFAN vIEW
- double-click desktop icon or
- double-click image in folder or
- Start > programs > Irfan View (or next sub-menu, if you chose to place it elsewhere

SET EXTENSIONS (IF NOT PROMPTED AT SETUP, OR TO CHANGE OR ADD EXTNS.)
Click Options on menu bar > Properties > Extensions tab > check:
BMP/DIB
GIF
JPG/JPEG/JPE
PNG
PSD
TIF/TIFF
AVI
WMV
(plus any other appropriate)
> OK

TUTORIAL
Click > Help on menu bar, take a pick

CLOSING IMAGE ONLY
Edit > Delete (clear Display)

CROPPING
click and drag box diagonally across area to be retained > Edit > Crop Selection

RESIZING (making image apear at a certain physical size on average screen)
Image > Resize/Resample... > tick 'Preserve aspect ratio' box, type 72 into 'DPI' box, check 'Set new size:', type desired pixels into either 'width' or 'height' box (approx.72 pixels to the inch) > OK
(optional - use zoom to test how size looks, read pixels on title bar for rough idea)

SAVING (optimised quality)
File > Save (or Save as) > tick 'Save as progressive JPG' in 'JPEG/GIF save options' box, also tick last three in same list > move slider to desired quality level > save image in the 'Save Picture (As..)' dialog box in the usual manner, choosing JPG-JPEG files (recomended) > OK
Repeat process if needed, until file size is preferably below 50 KB

mrutty



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1578

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 05 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Good to find another fan

Just batched a load of images for www.alexwatersracing.com took 5 mins to do an hours worth of work [/url]

Lloyd



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 2693

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 05 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Its good, but I still can't reduce a 30k image to 13k. I can reduce pixellage, crop away borders, but not overall file size...grrrrr.......

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 05 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Madman wrote:
Its good, but I still can't reduce a 30k image to 13k. I can reduce pixellage, crop away borders, but not overall file size...grrrrr.......


The KB reduction is done during the 'save as' process, and you may have to shave off a bit at a time (in any case, save your original image). When you have the image ready to save (bar the reduced KB), >File >Save as, a couple of windows pop up which allow you to save at a lower quality. I'll attach a picture of a screenshot here, if you still have problems, let me know

Lloyd



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 2693

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 05 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanx..having another go now.....

mrutty



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1578

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you click File>Batch conversion you can just set the machine running and a few hours later you recover 10G of space. Just have

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Madman, success yet?

Lloyd



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 2693

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hm... Not yet. Looked at it last night, took tips from Dougal too, in the ned I sent him the pic so he could try. If I crop vaste swathes of background I can redice by 1.5 kb!!...I'll have another go tonight.

jema
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 26514
Location: escaped from Swindon
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Madman wrote:
Hm... Not yet. Looked at it last night, took tips from Dougal too, in the ned I sent him the pic so he could try. If I crop vaste swathes of background I can redice by 1.5 kb!!...I'll have another go tonight.


Post it here and I will see what I can do.

jema

dougal



Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 7184
Location: South Kent
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Madman wrote:
Hm... Not yet. Looked at it last night, took tips from Dougal too, in the ned I sent him the pic so he could try. If I crop vaste swathes of background I can redice by 1.5 kb!!...I'll have another go tonight.


But Dougal didn't get it... or even know he'd been sent it. ???

Dougal said that after cropping the image, adjusting the physical size and reducing the resolution (should have said pointless more than 72dpi for web use - or go direct to the number of dots required), the next thing would have to be being more aggressive with the JPEG compression by adjusting the "Save quality" slider to a lower number...

I'd thought the "sticky thread" ought to be kept clean and general, so sent a PM for the individual question...

Lloyd



Joined: 24 Jan 2005
Posts: 2693

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks Jema, the problem seems to be that it is.bmp so I'll try and change to .jpeg and try again. Can't upload as a bitmap, it seems.

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Madman wrote:
Thanks Jema, the problem seems to be that it is.bmp so I'll try and change to .jpeg and try again. Can't upload as a bitmap, it seems.


.bmp files are quite big. When you 'save as' you have to change the extension. I don't believe the compresssion works on anything other than .jpg and .png, but not .bmp anyway, as far as I can see.

dougal



Joined: 15 Jan 2005
Posts: 7184
Location: South Kent
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 05 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

And you ended up reducing it from 30k to 831 bytes... !!!

JPEG, because of the compression, is an excellent format for photographic things, especially for web/email use.
With JPEG there IS always going to be some loss of quality compared to the uncompressed original - usually visible as jagged (sometimes coloured) edges when examined very closely. But you can choose how much compression to apply... and thus how much quality you can give up...

mochyn



Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 24548
Location: mid-Wales
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 05 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judy: I tried dooing this, but got a message: Quicktime does not recognize... Any ideas (bearing in mind that I'm a complete techno-wally)?

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 05 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What are you trying to do? Quicktime, I think, is video viewing softwear, when does the message apear?

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