Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:49 PM
Apropos sizing images, one thing that is often confusing is the way windowing software (not just Windows, but also the various flavors that run under Unix, on the Mac, etc) will seem to produce a "free" resize without any effort on our part.
The bad part about that is that it's not really resizing at all except visually during the display process. To get an apparent size reduction to (e.g.) 50%, it will ignore every other row and column of pixels. Or to get 25%, it ignores 3 out of every 4 rows/cols, and so forth. It's not discarding them, it's just not displaying them. So the image appears half (or a quarter or whatever) the size, linearly, than it really is, but the amount of space it takes up on disc and the amount of time to display it both remain the same.
To get true resizing requires a "raster graphic" editor, aka bitmap editor, such as Photoshop. GIMP seems to be a pretty competent editor too, tho clunky, and has the major advantage of being free. I've not done more than fool around with GIMP, since I own P'shop, but from what I've seen it should certainly work well for resizing and cropping images for Maestronet. There are other capable editors as well.
The process is simple, though tedious:
1. Load your image into the editor.
2. View the image at 100% size. This is important, since if what you're trying to show is too small, you have to resample upwards. Or, of course, if it's going to be too large even when cropped, you need to resample downwards. But if you can see the detail you want at 100%, and it's not too big, go to step 4 and crop.
3. If the detail is too small at 100% size, re-sample your image upwards. Try to do it by doubling (one pixel becomes four) or, if you must, tripling (one pixel becomes nine). The reason for that being that you want to avoid forcing the software to invent pixels by interpolation. That's where the blurring and artifacts come from.
If the detail will take up too much space even when cropped, resample downwards instead. Again, try to avoid forcing the software to invent pixels. The safest size is 50% (the software will discard every other row and column). Other relatively safe sizes are 80% (discard 1 of 5), 75% (discard 1 of 4), and even 25% (discard 3 of 4).
Bad sizes are the ones where the software can't discard a whole number of pixels. If you try to reduce to, say 2/3 size, that's 66%, there's no way to extract the excess 34 pixels per hundred evenly across the whole image, so the software tries to smooth things over by inventing, which never really ends well.
4. Using the selection tool, zero in on the important part of the image, copy, and paste creating a new image. Save off that image. Repeat til you've captured all the areas of interest and, finally, post them.
Hope that helps.