FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2002


THE DOC IS IN...

More information on digital photography

Let's continue the topic of digital photography by looking at what we do once we transfer the image from the camera into the computer.

Unless we have a perfect eye, the image that we have taken in the camera probably isn't what we want to share with others. It may contain too much background distraction, have washed out colors or the people in the picture might have redeye.

Fortunately, once the image is in the computer, there are many programs that allow us to perform image manipulation. Many camera or scanner packages already contain one or more of these programs that may be installed from the compact disk that accompanies the device.

I have tried a number of these programs and my personal choice is Adobe System's PhotoDeluxe Home Edition Version 4.0. It is my choice because it is very user friendly yet offers enough features that my finished images are more than satisfactory for my intended use. It also is relatively inexpensive.

Adobe Systems also developed Photoshop, a program used by most imaging professionals, and they recently marketed Elements, a 'lite' version of Photoshop aimed at the more advanced amateur market. Both these programs have rather steep learning curves however. Microsoft also has a user friendly program called PictureIt.

Any of these programs have us 'import' or 'get' the image we wish to manipulate from the computer. In most cases the image format is not critical and can be 'bitmap' (bmp); Tag-based (TIF) or a JPG. The format is determined in either the camera or scanner before being saved in the computer.

Once into the program there is a wide range of options for image manipulation. Usually I 'crop' the image first. This allows me to get rid of distractions and pick out just want I want to show in the final image. Then I can go on and make color corrections to change such attributes as brightness and contrast. Now the image is getting to look better. If people have 'redeye,' I can remove this using the remove redeye feature.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, I can 'save' the image back into the computer in any one of a number of picture formats. This is very important if I wish to use the final image on the Web or send it to someone via email. Here is where I may want to convert the original image format into a compressed JPG and even change the resolution to the web friendly 72 dots per inch. These changes result in small digital image file sizes that require less time to download from the Internet. This keeps your family and friends happy to receive your images.

As my recent foray into digital imaging showed me, there is one final catch to digital photography. My wife wanted prints of our photographs for an album. I had all our pictures looking very pretty but they were on the computer and had to be retrieved one by one for her to see on the screen. Not a good solution. Making prints seemed like a very time consuming and somewhat expensive proposition. I sought a compromise. What about a slideshow?

There are a lot of programs available over the Internet that allow taking a group of individual pictures and presenting them in the form of a slide show; that is, showing them on a computer screen in a timed sequence, one after another.

I went to the search engine, www.google.com and looked under digital slideshows. I found a program at www.digitalphotoslideshow.com that seemed to have a number of interesting features. I downloaded a trial version of their $19.95 program. Following their instructions, I arranged my images in a separate folder and told the program how I wanted them displayed. I then let the program make a compact disk that contained my images plus a small file of theirs that would autostart the cd. Now I put the compact disk in my wife's computer where it starts automatically and displays all our pictures, one after another. I also can make additional compact disks to send to others. Of course, I still can make individual prints of any of the original pictures.

If you would like to hear more about digital photography, or other computer topics, visit "Coffee and Computers" at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the meantime, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

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Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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