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How to Automatically Resize Photographs for the Web

Why must everything to do with computers be so very complicated?! I need a variety of graphics programs because they all do things in a slightly different way, despite what they might claim. Some research is needed to see how to accomplish what I wish to do. I like to share this research on the web, as I feel that if we all did this, and can search for the results, we will all save a lot of time. I therefore note down all the stages of a task as I do it. I frequently find that in the future, when I next need to do the same task, I have forgotten how to do it, so these notes help me as well as you!

Automating the resize tasks

The requirement was to resize a folder of images for the web. I wanted to resize RAW images that had their settings in a sidecar XMP file, and wanted to do this automatically, in a batch. I first tried using Photoshop CS3's 'Image Processor' (File > Scripts > Image Processor) as it will apply the settings in a sidecar XMP file when processing. To make sure that it will resize an image correctly no matter what the orientation is, set the image width and height to the same value. Unfortunately, although the normal Photoshop 'image size' scales my photos from 4288x2848 to the required sizes of 872x579, 500x332, 176x118, and 80x53 quite correctly, PhotoShop's automatic Image Processor scales them to 872x580, 500x333, 176x117, 80x54, which I don't want. And as you can see, the sizes sometimes get bigger than the expected aspect ratio, and sometimes smaller. Very strange. Photoshop's 'Fit Image' action does the same thing.

The IrfanView batch processor resizes everything correctly, but doesn't apply the settings in a sidecar XMP file. I must therefore turn to LightRoom, which does everything correctly when using its 'Exporting' feature. LightRoom can correct a false EXIF capture time or date: Click 'Metadata > Edit Capture Time', but NOTE that this will then change the file's 'Date Modified' as well - this will then need resetting by right-click > Edit Date. (I told you things to do with computers were complicated, didn't I !!)

For my larger images on the web, I like to have a discrete watermark to discourage copying. Lightroom can add a basic Watermark to a resized image, as long as the text is present in the Metadata 'Copyright' field. This field can be auto-filled when importing the images to Lightroom. The contents of the 'Copyright Status' field is ignored. Here's how you do it:

Click File > Import Photos from Disc
To display copyright metadata in the caption, in the Image Info panel, choose Edit from the menu next to Caption, and then insert the copyright information.
Click File > Export
In the Output Settings panel, select Add Copyright Watermark.
To make sure that it will resize an image correctly no matter what the orientation is, set the image width and height to the same value.
To clear the Library, Select All photos, then click Photo > Remove Photos from Catalog.

This kept me happy for a while until I compared the output from LightRoom with IrfanView External link opens a new Browser window. I found that IrfanView does a MUCH better job when batch re-sizing and processing than LightRoom, as well as producing smaller files. It can also apply Sharpening at settings of your choice, (which LightRoom can't). This makes a big difference. Also, IrfanView's Watermark comes with a variety of options for size, color, font, and position, which looks much better. As mentioned above, IrfanView can't cope with sidecar-XMP files, but I found this wasn't a problem as the images I needed to present were already converted to TIFF anyway.

The IrfanView settings that I use to resize the 4288x2848 TIFFs to 500x332 watermarked jpgs are:
Batch conversion - Rename result files
Output format: JPG
  Options: Save quality: 100
  Keep original EXIF data
  Keep original IPTC data
  Keep original JPG-Comment
  Keep original XMP data
  Reset EXIF orientation tag
Use advanced options
    Resize - Set new size - Set long side to: 500 pixels
    Preserve aspect ratio (proportional)
    Use Resample function
    Don't enlarge smaller images
  Add overlay text:
    X-Coord: 15
    Y-Coord: 15
    Width: 200 Height: 200
    Start Corner: Left top
    Text is transparent
    Font: Verdana regular size 14 color Silver
    Text align: Center
  Sharpen: 20
  Save files with original date/time
  Apply changes to all pages (TIF/PDF saving)
Batch rename settings:
  Name pattern: $N_b
Output directory for result files: C:\... as required


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