Unfortunately, because I have Windows 98 and ME-based PC equipment, the following information can be verified only for computers using those operating systems. But if someone knows of imaging software which performs the functions described below for other operating systems, I'll be glad to add that information to these instructions:
|"Fine Detail" Editing||Quick Resizing & Minor Editing||Photo CD-ROM => Linked Webpages|
"Fine Detail" Editing
If you need to perform tightly controlled editing of your photos or other images, you are safest using well-known image editing software, such as Adobe PhotoShop or CorelDRAW, or software that's bundled with your larger software purchases, such as Microsoft's PictureIt! or Sierra's Snapshot. Those commercial imaging programs provide a degree of control that's difficult to find in freeware. But if you want tools that are easy to use for simple image editing tasks, read on ...
Quick Resizing & Minor Editing
You have a photo on your webpage and you decide to make it smaller (so it will download faster) by changing the height and width settings in your picture's <img src=""> statement. But then Aunt Bertha complains that it still takes 10 minutes to download the photo through her dialup connection to the Internet. So what gives? Shouldn't the picture have downloaded faster because it's smaller?
Actually, the image's file size isn't any smaller (although you've changed its display dimensions on that particular webpage), and so it takes the same amount of time to download as before. You can use one of the previously mentioned software programs to change the photo's real dimensions--which should change its file size--but then you often have to step through a series of menus/pages to accomplish the resizing.
A simpler solution is to use available free software that's designed to open the image, then allows you to select "Image | Resize" from the menu bar and accepts the dimensions you input. You save the resized image and you're done. You can even perform minor editing on each image, such as image rotation and cropping, as well as auto balance, brighten, contrast, sharpen, and soften functions. Two software programs which are very good at this simple editing are Microsoft's Photo Editor, included with most versions of Windows 9x (I "transported" a copy over to Windows ME from Windows 98), and SlowView, available for download from http://www.slowview.at/ (alternate download site: http://www.webattack.com/get/slowview.shtml). IrfanView, available from http://www.irfanview.com/, is a good alternative software program, but its menus may contain more options than some people are comfortable dealing with.
A word here about image sizes--while an 800x600 pixel image might fit nicely as wallpaper on your 800x600 pixel monitor, you would have to scroll (left <=> right and top <=> bottom) that same image if you placed it on a webpage that is 800 pixels wide. That's because the left and right edges of the browser window take some width away from the page display, and the browser's menu bars/buttons and footer take even more space away from the image's height. A better width for your image on a 800x600 pixel display is 750 pixels wide, which accomodates the page scroll bar on the web browser's right side. Similarly, an image sized for a webpage on a 640x480 pixel display should be no wider than 600 pixels. WebTV (a 544x372 pixel display) will proportionally resize any images larger than 544 pixels to fit the width of the screen (since it doesn't support horizontal scrolling), but if the resized image is flanked by text on either side--such as in a table--expect that text to be pushed out of shape whenever the table width presented to WebTV is greater than 544 pixels.
Photo CD-ROM => Resizing => Thumbnails => Linked Webpages
I'd received a photo CD-ROM back from development and wanted a (hopefully free) software tool that would help me create scaled-down 600x400 pixel images from the 1536x1024 pixel images on the CD-ROM, plus a 75x50 pixel thumbnail to go along with each scaled-down picture. I found such a program, and the results of my first editing effort, on pictures from a trip my mother-in-law gave us (and herself) as a Christmas present, are here. I used Thotor, and--once I got the hang of it--I created the scaled-down and thumbnail pictures, plus the linked webpages, in less than five minutes. Afterwards, I just added a table and supporting text to the main webpage, specified the page background for each page, and changed the picture titles on the linked pages (here's what the webpages looked like before they were prettied up). The following are step-by-step instructions for creating the pages after installing the Thotor software--although I warn you that the tool might be a bit too complex for some individuals. For those people who are concerned about security, see the notice at the bottom of this page:
STEP 1 - Creating Resized Pictures. Create a work folder and place in it all the photos you want to scale down and/or create thumbnails for. Start the Thotor software and use the directory folder frame to access the folder containing your pictures (see example here). The frame to the right of the directory folder frame will show the files in the current directory. Click the ">>" on the divider to select all the listed files for processing--they then will be displayed in the frame to the right of the file listing frame. Select the maximum height (MaxH) and maximum width (MaxW) you wish to make the resized pictures and make sure the "preserve aspect ratio" box is checked. Check off the 'Use filter' and then click the 'thmb_' button. In the 'Define Constants' dialog box (see example here), clear the 'Thumbnail prefix' field (this allows the resized images to have the same names as the original larger pixel images) and then type the word 'images' into the 'Thumbnail subdir' field. Now click the 'Gen. Thumbnails' button and Thotor will display a confirmation (see example here) after it creates the 'images' subdirectory and places the resized pictures in it. Once the resized pictures are successfully created, you can delete the original oversized image files from the work folder--just don't bother the images subdirectory.
STEP 2 - Creating Thumbnails. Close and restart Thotor (otherwise, it might have a problem finding the newly-created 'images' subdirectory). Use the directory folder frame to access the 'images' subdirectory and then click the ">>" on the divider to select all the listed files for processing. Select the maximum height (MaxH) and maximum width (MaxW) you wish to make the thumbnails and make sure the "preserve aspect ratio" box is checked. Check off the 'Use filter' and then click the 'thmb_' button. In the 'Define Constants' dialog box (see example here), enter 't_' into the 'Thumbnail prefix' field and then type the word 'thumbs' into the 'Thumbnail subdir' field. Now click the 'Gen. Thumbnails' button and Thotor will display a confirmation (see example here) after it creates the 'thumbs' subdirectory and places the thumbnails in it.
STEP 3 - Creating an Index Page Containing Thumbnails. The index page can either link each thumbnail to its larger image in the 'images' subdirectory or to a webpage containing the larger picture and links to the picture before it and the one after it in the 'images' file listing. (a) To link each thumbnail to the larger image in the 'images' subdirectory, go to the 'Index file' section of Thotor and select the 'sample.itp' template and the Link to 'images' option. Now click the 'Gen. Index file' button and Thotor will display a confirmation (see example here) after it creates the index file as "images_index.html". (b) To link each thumbnail to its larger image in a webpage, go to the 'Index file' section of Thotor and select the 'sample.htp' template and the Link to 'html-files' option. Now click the 'Gen. Index file' button and Thotor will display a confirmation (see example here) after it creates the index file as "images_index.html". Now go to the 'Html files' section of Thotor and select the 'sample.itp' template and then click the 'Gen. Html files' button. Thotor will display a confirmation (see example here) after it creates the supporting HTML files. The "generated" webpages should look something like this, and you can then customize those pages to fit into your overall webpage design. Here's my pages after I added the borderless table and supporting text to the main webpage, specified the page background for each page, and changed the picture titles on the linked pages.
Advanced Users who want to create an automatic slideshow - Here are the Thotor templates (thumbs_template.itp and slide_template.htp) I use to create the automated slideshows at http://www.moorecrossing.net/ (the newest of which is "arons_1st_birthday"). Just save the templates to your Thotor program folder, and then rename each of them to remove the ".txt" extension. Also, save the index_template.html file (renamed to remove the ".txt" extension) and the 1x400.gif, thotor_banner.gif, and ancestry.jpg images to the folder which contains your Thotor-generated slideshow. If you want to change the page background color, font color, or button contrast color, edit the 'slide_template.htp' and 'index_template.html' files to replace "#BBBBBB" with your preferred page background color, "#FFFFFF" with your preferred font color, and "#CCCCCC" with your preferred button contrast color (the button's font and center background are set to "#FFFFFF" and "#BBBBBB" to match the rest of the page).
Security Restrictions In Force On The Test System: The system on which the above software was tested runs a current copy of Norton Antivirus, updated daily, and is also protected by Tiny Personal Firewall (I followed Jim Kyle's recommendation after reading Steve Gibson's reports over at www.grc.com). None of the tested software (SlowView, IrfanView, Thotor, etc.) gave any indications of attempting to contact outside systems or modify the OS or installed protections. During the review of the imaging software, a copy of Norton Antivirus loaded on another of our systems alerted us to an email virus which had commandeered an aquaintenance's mailbox and sent out mail to our separate mailboxes, plus Tiny Personal Firewall alerted me to an attempt by someone to ping my system through earthlink.net (I told TPF to create a filter to "deny" the pinger a response from my system).