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Image Resources: Digital Image Help

Visual Resources Help Page

Image Interpretation and Analysis Tools

Tips for managing your own digital images

Scan image at 300dpi and save the file as in TIFF format (uncompressed).  This should be your archival file and is usually what publishers request for publication (TIFF at 300dpi).  Never use tiffs in PowerPoint or in other presentation software.

Using an image editor, resize the TIFF to 1024x768 and save as a JPG (jpeg) for on-screen presentations in 72 dpi. 1024x768 is the output resolution of our highest quality digital projectors.  To create a detail, crop the TIFF, but make sure your crop is not much smaller than 1024x768 if you want it to fill the screen, then save as a JPG. 

Files and Folders. Create a folder according to lectures.  Keep filenames the same as where you have downloaded from if it is important for you to know that info.  Or, come up with a file making scheme that makes sense.  Always use leading zeros when using numbers in a file naming scheme.

Image management software is always set up with the professional photographer in mind. However, adding keywords to your images using a software program is the quickest and easiest way to keep track of your images.  It is also more recommended than using folders because many images in many folders leads to duplicate images.  The idea behind using a cataloging tool is that you have ONE folder of images and utilize the software to find the images thereby reducing the need for duplicate images. Examples include:  Adobe Bridge; Adobe Lightroom; iPhoto; Aperture; Extensis Portfolio; Picasa; Flickr Pro

Let the Art Library organize images for you. Unless you are taking unique photos there is no reason to download thousands of images from library resources and duplicate the library’s effort of managing the images locally on your own computer.

Photoshop is the gold standard for image editing.  However, Photoshop Elements is a fraction of the cost and contains all the tools you would need.  Also, all of the image organizers listed above do contain some tools for image editing.  Additionally, Preview on a Mac offers some light image editing tools--adjusting color, image resizing, cropping, rotating.  Picnik is an online image editing tool that works well if you store your images online already through Flickr, Picasa, etc.

PowerPoint is the most frequently used presentation software and is generally available in most academic and cultural non-profit institutions.  Mac’s equivalent is Keynote. Artstor offers an Offline Image Viewer which we only recommend if you need to be able to zoom into details on the fly. Integrating video and audio clips in PowerPoint and Keynote is done fairly easily if you use one computer, such as your own laptop, all the time.  If you are moving the presentation file between computers, you must always move the video and audio clip files as well, so it is best to create a master folder and place your PowerPoint presentation and video or audio clips together.  Video clips that play on a PC will not always work on  Mac and vice versa. There are some interesting Web 2.0 online presentation tools that could not only present your lecture in a different way, but also makes the creator interact with images on a different level.  Examples include: Prezi, Empressr, ZoHo Show, and VuVox.

Check image size and resolution

To check an image's size and resolution on a Mac:

Open the image in Preview. Go to Tools > Show Inspector (or use the shortcut ⌘I)

A window will open at the top right corner of your screen with the Image Size and DPI listed at the bottom of the box.

To check on Windows:

First find the file that you are interested in printing.  Right-click on the image so that a menu block appears. Scroll down to "Open with" and then select "Paint".Once open in paint, click on the "File" menu bar, then select "Properties.  Click on the "Details" tab in the window that opens and you will see a list that includes the image's pixel dimensions and dpi.

Guidelines for Selecting Images

Consider these guidelines when selecting images for a scholarly project or paper.

  • Relevance: Consider whether the image is important to your work, and avoid adding superfluous images that act as filler. 
  • Image Quality: Look for large images with high resolution which look best when displayed at various sizes, particularly for projection presentations.
  • Views and Details: Consider whether a full view of the object or a detail would be more appropriate. Start with high resolution full view images; they can easily be cropped to produce high quality details. The wide variety of perspective shots available for 3-D works such as sculpture and architectural sites should also be carefully considered.
  • Image Source: Look for images from reputable sources such as museums and academic databases. Avoid images from websites such as Pinterest, which are more likely to be low quality or to have distorted colors.
  • Rights: Images from public institutions such as museums typically fall under fair use guidelines for educational purposes; images from photo sharing websites like Flickr may have different rights, so be sure to check the provided copyright info.