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Creating super high-resolution images


I'm a visual person, and I like pictures of things, drawings, maps, photographs. I've heard it being described as "right-brained" - and although I understand the spoken, and written, word, for me to really understand something I need to see it. To me a picture is truly worth a thousand words. And a really big picture is worth even more! I call them "super high-resolution" images and nowadays with just about everyone having a very powerful computer, and high speed internet, I can share them.

I'm a Photoshop guy, so I think in pixels. A pixel, by the way, means "picture element" (in case anyone asks you, and I doubt they will). And there are 72 pixels in an inch on your computer screen (well, there are if you have a Mac, it's slightly different on a PC screen but the difference is so small it's negligible). Go ahead and get real close to your computer screen and see if you can see them. They're very tiny! If you can't see them, well, that's the point. They blend together visually into a continuous image.

The size that I save images to is 2048 pixels wide. It's a standard that I got from Google a few years ago for images to be stored for free on their server. And 2048 is plenty big for displaying a razor-sharp image on the web. I call these images high resolution. They're big enough to not lose detail even when viewed on a gigantic screen like the one I'm looking at now. I'm on a 21-inch iMac.

And then there's what I call super high resolution (SHR). And that means the pixel dimensions are so big that it doesn't fit on a screen when displayed in full size. This is an image that you have to scroll around to see everything. And it's great for pictures with a lot of interesting detail, and maps. I don't really have a number for this, but they're usually over 5,000 pixels along the longest edge.

I've also done something I call super dooper high resolution (SDHR). Yeah, like most techo-nerds I have that kind of sense of humor. You have to call it something! And those images are wider than 5,000 pixels in any given direction.

I save all of these different sizes as .jpgs. Jpegs have been the standard for over twenty years, and although there are other file types to use for images, this one seems to work the best, and everyone out there can view it just fine. The term jpeg, by the way, means "Joint Photographers Expert Group" (although the "e" is left out in extensions), and I save the files as the highest possible quality as a .jpg. Even then there's a fair amount of compression. When I post an image onto Facebook, their server compresses it some more (which blurs the image a bit), which is fair as they have to handle a LOT of images!

OK, this is where it gets kinda tricky. Since you can't email a super high-resolution image, or a super dooper-high resolution image, you have to put it somewhere that people can get to it. Since I have a professional website, I have a place where I can put gigantic images, and I use Dreamweaver to ftp (File Transfer Protocol) them there. Actually, it's called "putting". Uploading is putting, and downloading is getting.

Once an image is on the server, anyone can get to it with a hyperlink, like this: http://bradhallart.com/super_high_res/Washington_1st_Ave_looking_northeast_1930s_SHR.jpg . I like to write out the hyperlink for people to see that it's really me (note the name on the server) and I try to make the file names descriptive so I can keep track of them, and find them again. I keep the file name the same, but add SHR to the end of it, and keep it in a folder called super high res.

The image at the top of this post is displayed as a thumbnail in this blog post. If you click on it, it will display in high-resolution, which for me is 2048. If you want super high-resolution, go here> http://bradhallart.com/super_high_res/Washington_1st_Ave_looking_northeast_1930s_SHR.jpg