Reef Central Forums

Now that we have taken some great shots, we want to be able to show them off to the entire world.  What better method than to use internet forums.  We will use to post our reef images, but these techniques apply to any forum.

Resizing an Image

First, start out by resizing our image.  We will accomplish this using IrfanView, a free image processing utility.

Step 1:  Open File
To fire up the application double click on the icon of the flat cat.  The image to the left shows IrfanView loaded up.  Now go to File -> Open to load up the image we want to post.  The "Open..." dialogue box is pictured on the right.

Alternatively, we could just drag our image onto the flat cat icon to have IrfanView automatically start up and load the image.

The screen now shows our image loaded into IrfanView.  Our 3mp camera produced a gigantic file with the dimensions of 2048x1536 pixels.  This is too large to display at 100% on our screen so we only see a portion of it.  We cannot post an image this large on a forum as it makes it difficult, not only for dial-up users, but users with screen sizes less than 2048x1546, as they will have to scroll around to see the entire image.  A better size would be around 800 pixels wide at the longest dimension.  640 pixels wide is also a good choice.  The larger the image, the more details will be seen.  However, it will take longer for dial-up users to download these images, and they may simply abandon the post without looking at our images.

Step 2:  Resize Image
From the menu bar, select Image -> Resize/Resample... and we get a dialogue box (pictured to the right).  Reef Central's gallery has a 50Kb limit on file sizes, so we need to do everything possible to keep file sizes down, yet still retain the details in our photo.  We will use an image dimension of 400 pixels wide.  This cuts down on the amount of data stored in the file, thereby reducing its size.  At 400 pixels across, we can still get a fair view of the photo (the thumbnails to the left are 300 pixels wide).

Now that the image has been resized, we can see the entire image in our window at 100%.  This looks pretty good and will be the size that shows up in our post.  You can make the image smaller or larger depending on your personal taste, but be sure to keep under the 50 KB limit unless you are hosting somewhere other than Reef Central.

Step 3:  Save
Now we select File -> Save as...  This will give us the "Save Picture As ..." dialogue box.  In this box, we want to rename our file.  Once a file is resized down a significant amount of data is irretrievably thrown out.  Should we want to go back and choose a different size, we want to use the original file so we can retain this detail.  Furthermore, we never want to overwrite the original "digital negatives," those images that come straight out of the camera before post processing.

We will call our file "starfish," since that is what it is.  To get the file under 50Kb, we use 80% quality.  You may need to use higher compression ratios for more detailed images and with less detailed images, you can decrease the compression to give you more quality.  80%, however, is a good starting point that generally works for most images.