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November 10, 2004

Dumb Questions About Graphics

I'm sure this is written somewhere I'm supposed to have read it, but it's easier just to post here and let you help me out.

First, when I click and drag graphics from web-pages, sometimes the ghostly image I drag is smaller than the image as it appears on the page, and sometimes it's the same size as the image as it appears on the page. When it's smaller, the amount it's smaller by varies--sometimes it's a LOT smaller and sometimes just a little.

I thought it was the web-page itself resizing the image, but even if the ghostly image I clicked and dragged from the webpage to my desktop is SMALLER than the one on the page, when I open it in my image-viewer, it's the SAME SIZE as when it was on the page.

Images that appear to be the same size as they appear on the web page open up SMALLER in my image-viewer. What's going on here?

Okay. Second, and I have a feeling this is a really dumb question. A pixel is a pixel is a pixel, right? If I'm editing images with a graphics editor and am given the option to adjust resolution (pixels per inch, for example), does it make a difference what I put there, as far as the image's appearance on the web is concerned? How do I decide what's a good resolution when I edit my graphics?

As a devoted dial-up user, of course I am sensitive about large graphics-files on my web page; are there tricks for keeping image quality fair without taking up tons of space?

Thanks for whatever help you can point me toward.

Posted by scrivener at November 10, 2004 09:39 AM


Posted by Mitchell on November 10, 2004 9:43 AM:

In case I'm not being clear, here's a good example. The HawaiiStories banner clicks and drags smaller, but opens the same size. The HawaiiStoriesFiction image clicks and drags the same size, but opens slightly smaller.

It just occurred to me that this might be a browser thing; perhaps I'll try it with a different browser and see what happens.

Posted by Bill Moake on November 11, 2004 7:52 PM:

Not sure I understood your image dragging question. To save an image from a web page, you don't have to drag it anywhere. Right click on it and choose "Save picture as," then open the saved image in your image viewer.

The web standard is 72 PSI (pixels per square inch) for images. To reduce kilobyte size, save .JPG images at 80% quality or less and use a good image editor like Fireworks or Photoshop.

Posted by Mitchell on November 11, 2004 9:02 PM:

Yes, yes, yes. I know how to save an image. I'm just asking why, when you DO click and drag an image, it often drags as something smaller.

Posted by Ryan on November 12, 2004 10:12 AM:

I think you've lost me on the 'dragging ghostly image' thing, too. In Firefox, no matter what image I drag to my desktop, there's no outline attempting to represent the size of the image. I'm pretty sure it's arbitrary.

As for changing sizes, though, I think part of the answer may lie in whether or not you're using a Mac. IIRC, there is a minute difference between the OS-level default image resolutions between Windows and MacOS. While an image on a web page may look the same on both systems relative to the page size, viewing them via some other application may show a shift.

As for resolution settings, the standard screen resolution is 72 dpi, so anything higher than that is wasted (as far as presentation on the web is concerned). That is, if I have a 300 dpi scan, I bring it down to 72 dpi, because in a browser, both images look the same -- the 300 dpi one will just take longer to download. Of course, if I wanted to take that image off the web and print it, there'll be a big difference in the way the 300 dpi image comes out versus the 72 dpi image.

Posted by Amy on December 1, 2004 6:04 PM:

I'm not getting the "dragging ghost" thing either, but whatever.

I want to comment that another important thing to remember is to maintain your image proportions. If you have an image that is 640 x 480 and you want to resize to something smaller, the pixel ratio will have to be the same so that there is no distortion with your images (something like 320 x 240). Also, if you want to crop a piece of a larger image, but need to resize the cropped image to specific dimensions, Photoshop is great for this.

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