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Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: Editing/Resizing with Windows ‘Paint’
12-30-2013, 01:02 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-30-2013, 01:08 PM by Skook.)
#2
RE: Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: Editing/Resizing with Windows ‘Paint’
Part 2: Creating an Avatar using 'Paint'

This tutorial will introduce you to all the tools you will need to edit and resize your photo/images using Windows Paint. When you first open the program, you will notice a blank “sheet of paper” on what I think of as the workspace but Microsoft calls the Drawing Table.

What I will have you do now is click on the blue ‘Paint Button’ in the upper left corner of the Ribbon then go to and click on ‘Properties’. In the ‘Image Properties’ Dialog Box, click inside the ‘Pixels’ button and set the both the width and height dimensions to 500 and click ‘OK’. You will notice the white sheet has been resized. Now, go to the top of the Ribbon and click ‘View’ and click in the box beside ‘Rulers’ - they now appear along the top and left side of the workspace and their units are pixels and you can see that the sheet is 500px wide X 500px high.

With our units set to pixels, we are ready to create our avatar. Let’s say you have given yourself a username such as ‘SouthPole’ or ‘Antipodean’ - the latter being appropriate for an Aussie or Kiwi background or for a contrarian disposition. Well, it just so happens there is a picture in the ‘Sample Pictures’ folder in the Pictures library that fits the bill. So before I continue, I will follow my own advice in Part 1 of this tutorial (preceding post) and protect the ‘Sample Pictures’ folder images from irretrievable loss by copying the folder and renaming it “Paint - Working Pics” because I never, never, never work with my original images.

Click on the blue ‘Paint Button’ and click on ‘Open’ (if you do a right click you add the button to the ‘Quick Access Toolbar’ like I have done - #1). Work your way to and open the ‘Paint - Working Pics’ folder in the Pictures library, click on the Penguins photo and click ‘Open’ (#2). The photo will open in the workspace (#3) - that sheet of paper is now behind it. The image has opened at full size which I find too difficult to work with and so I am going to click on the ‘Zoom Out’ button on my QAT. I could also have used the slide tab on lower right corner of the Status Bar below the image to move left to 50%, or I could have clicked on the “Negative” button to the right of 100%, or I could have clicked on the ribbon ‘View’ tab to find the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons - if you right click on the latter you can add it to the QAT.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=689]

In image #3 above, the red arrow lets you know the dimensions of the photo and it is huge at 1024 pixels wide. Resizing the pic now to an acceptable avatar size would work but the penguins would be very small. So, let’s ‘Crop’ the image eliminating as much as possible by concentrating on just two of the penguins from the wings up.

In image #1 below, the red arrow indicates the location of the ‘Crop Tool’ and it is greyed out - meaning it’s inactive. In Paint, you have to make a ‘Selection’ to activate the crop tool. Click on the black arrow under ‘Select’ and click on ‘Rectangular selection’ and move your cursor onto the photo. You will notice that your cursor has changed into cross-hairs with a bull’s eye. Move your cursor around on the image and look down at the status bar. There is quite a bit more information down there since you opened your picture. If you have Paint in ‘Full View’ mode (not minimized), you will see the picture dimensions, its file size and, in the left corner or the status bar, you are given the cursor’s position vis-à-vis the top and left side rulers. As you follow the tutorial, keep an eye on the status bar and notice how that information changes.

To select the area you want to keep for your avatar, you will place the cursor at a starting point in the image, left click and drag. The area I’ve selected can be seen in Image #2 and the status bar now gives me the dimensions of this selected area. Now, if you move the cursor up to any of the nodes (small squares) on the sides of the selection box, you will notice that the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow and by left clicking and holding a node you can expand or contract that side of the box, but if you play around with this you will discover that in Paint these nodes are not very useful for fine tuning the size of the cropped area unless its only by a few pixels. So, I found myself using the ‘Undo’ button quite a bit to get the crop area I wanted. Once satisfied with the position of the selected area, I click on the crop tool (#3) and I am left now with only my selected area on the workspace (#4).

[Image: attachment.php?aid=690]

I know from the status bar that the cropped image is 423px X 395px which is still too large for an avatar image. In the ‘Change Avatar’ area of your ‘User Control Panel’, Vancouver Peak informs you that an avatar must be a maximum of 100px X 100px with a maximum file size of 50 KB which is about the norm for avatars. So, the next step is to resize the cropped image.

The ‘Resize’ button is found to the right of the ‘Select’ button on the ribbon and as you can see below I have added it to my QAT. Click on Resize (#1) and the ‘Resize and Skew’ dialog box opens. By default, the box always open with the ‘Percentage’ button checked and you will need to change this by clicking inside the ‘Pixels’ button and ensure that ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ is checked. My cropped image is not a perfect square so I will take the largest side, the horizontal (width,) and change that number in the dialog box to 100 - the vertical (height) will change automatically to maintain the aspect ratio of the image (#2). Click ‘OK’. With the image now resized, click the zoom in button once and this will enable you to read the measurement on the ruler. The status bar will also indicate the new image size (#3). Don’t worry about the file size - Paint is still giving the original image file size and will until we finish.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=691]

The final step is to save our image. Click on the blue ‘Paint Button’ on the upper left corner of the ribbon to go to the backstage view. Now, what to do - click ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’?

If we click ‘Save’, our new avatar image will replace the original Penguins photo in the ‘Paint - Working Pics’ folder and the image will saved as the default Paint file type which is a PNG image. Now, because I want more control over my image, I want to do a ‘Save As’.

When we move to ‘Save As’ (#1), we are presented with far more file type options. I would recommend that you experiment with these different types to compare the resulting image and file size each produces. You will discover that the PNG image file size can be quite large depending on the dimensions of the image; however, PNG is acceptable for web images. The GIF image file type works best for graphs and tables because GIF’s limit the colour range of images to a 256 colour palette vs the 16.7 million colour palette of JPEG an PNG file types. If you test saving a photo image as a GIF, you will get a very strange looking image - give it a try and see. JPEG file types are pretty much the standard file type chosen for photo web images so this is the option I am going to choose for my avatar.

So, I will click on ‘JPEG picture’ and the ‘Save As’ dialog box opens up. If it doesn’t present you with your open file folder, you will have to work your way there. You will give your image a file name and as you will discover the file type is already set for JPEG. Now, what I normally do at this point is create a new folder within the folder and name it ‘Webready’ and my edited/resized pics will be placed here. I click on the new folder to open it and click ‘Save’ and the new image goes in. By using ‘Save As’ the original picture remains unscathed, and I can go back and use it again and again.

Now, I added the ‘Save As’ tool to my QAT and when I click on it there I will get no backstage view. Instead, I will go directly to the ‘Save As’ dialog box (#2). Now, the file type will show Paint’s default PNG setting. I know I want a JPEG so I will click on the black arrow at the far right to open the drop down menu and will go to and click on JPEG - the terms within the brackets are called ‘filename extensions.’ I give my avatar its name, create and open my ‘Webready’ folder and click ‘Save’.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=692]

In the image below, I saved my new avatar image twice so that I could show you it placed in its ‘Webready’ folder, but also so that I could show it next to the original image to compare their dimensions and file size.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=693]

Perfect! The new Avatar image is ready to be uploaded into the forum.

With this tutorial, you now know the basic steps needed to take any photo or image and edit/resize it for a forum post using the Windows Paint program. An application that is free, uncomplicated and comes already installed with Windows - doesn’t get any better than that, IMHO.


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RE: Images 101 - Mastering the Basics: Editing/Resizing with Windows ‘Paint’ - by Skook - 12-30-2013, 01:02 PM

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