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When you are preparing an image for printing, you want to make sure that the photo has enough resolution, or enough pixels allocated to every printed inch for the photo to look good. In most cases, when you're printing to a desktop inkjet printer, that means packing in about 300 pixels per printed inch. You'll also want the photo to have the correct dimensions that you want to print. And so, in this movie, I am going to show you how you can set the resolution and the dimensions of a photo before you send it to print. I'll also show you how you can crop off unwanted parts of the photo.
Now, you can do some cropping in the Print dialog box, but I prefer to do that beforehand, where I get the most control over the process. You can do this work in any of the Editor workspaces. I'm working here in the Expert edit workspace. To open his photo into the Expert edit workspace, I selected the photo thumbnail in the Organizer, and then clicked the Editor button at the bottom of the Organizer. Then, here in the Editor, I clicked the Expert button at the top of the screen. I've given myself the most room to work by collapsing the Layers panel, and collapsing the photo bin.
And then I double-clicked the hand tool to fit this photo in the available screen space. To set the resolution and the dimensions of this file, I will go into the Image Size dialog box, which I will access by going to the Image menu at the top of the screen, and choosing Resize, and then Image Size. The Image Size dialog box tells us a lot about this image. In the Pixel Dimensions field, you can see the Width and the Height of this image in pixels, and of course, a file that you're viewing onscreen is always measured in pixels, but when you go to print the file, then you'll be measuring it in inches, and down here in the Document Size area of this dialog box, you can see the Width and Height in inches at which this file would print if I were to print it right now, with the resolution as it happens to be currently set, which is 100 pixels per inch.
Now, what does resolution mean? Resolution means the number of pixels that will be allocated to this photo if and when it's printed. We know that the file has 1800 pixels across, so if I were to take 100 pixels, and allocate those to every inch, I would end up with 18 total inches in my print. It's a simple math problem. If you divide 1800 by 100, you end up with 18. And the same is true of height; dividing the total number of pixels in height, which is 1200, by a resolution of 100, will give me a print that's 12 inches tall.
But, before I print, I want to make sure that I have the correct resolution for my desktop inkjet printer, and in most cases, the best resolution for that kind of printer is in the neighborhood of 300 pixels per inch. If I send this file to my desktop inkjet printer with only 100 pixels per inch, it's likely to print rather blurry, and perhaps blocky, or pixelated. I need to pack those pixels in more densely into each inch of this file, so I'm going to change the resolution. Here's how it's done.
First, and importantly, you have to come down to the Resample Image field, and uncheck that, like this. That's because Resample Image means change the total number of pixels in the file. I don't want to change this total number of pixels; I still want there to be 1800 pixels across, and 1200 pixels down. I just want to reallocate them among the inches in the file when I translate from pixels to inches. So I make sure Resample Image is unchecked, so that I'm not changing the total number of pixels in the file.
And then I'll come into the Resolution field, I'll click there, I'll highlight 100, and I'll type 300 instead. Notice that now the Resolution is different, and also the Width and Height are different. Again, this is a simple math problem. I have 1800 pixels across, and if I take those in chunks of 300, allocating 300 of those pixels to each printed inch, I'll get a file that prints out at only 6 inches wide, and only 4 inches high, that's because 1800 divided by 300 is 6, and 1200 divided by 300 is 4.
So you can see the relationship between the dimensions of the file -- its width and height -- and its resolution. If that's the size print that I wanted, a 6 by 4, then I would be done here; I could just click OK. But let's say that I really don't want a 6 by 4 print; I want a print that is 3 by 2 inches. First of all, I need to keep the Resolution at 300. Regardless of the size, my inkjet printer always wants 300 pixels per inch, so I want to keep Resolution at 300, but I want to change Width and Height, and that means I'll be resampling the image, or changing the total amount of image information in this photo.
So I will come down to Resample Image, and I will check that box. Notice that Constrain Proportions is also checked by default, so when I come to the Width field, I highlight 6 inches, and I type 3 inches instead, the Height will change to the correct proportion of 2 inches; a 3 by 2 is the same as a 6 by 4, in terms of aspect ratio. Notice up in the Pixel Dimensions field that doing that, resampling the image, as I just did, has changed the total number of pixels in Width from 1800 down to 900, and the total number of pixels in Height from 1200 down to 600.
Up here is another interesting figure. These numbers -- 1.54 MB, and 6.18 MB -- tell me the approximate size of the file on my computer drive. As it I was originally, it would've taken a 6.18 MB on my computer drive, and now with the resampling that I've done, throwing away pixels from this file, it will take up only 1.54 MB on my drive. There is one more thing to do here. Since I am asking Elements to throw away some pixels, I need to tell it the formula to use to choose which pixels to throw away.
So I will come down to the menu at the bottom of the Image Size dialog box, and I will click there. In parentheses, I can see that the best choice here when you're reducing file size is to choose Bicubic Sharper, and that will keep the image as sharp as possible as Elements throws away pixels. By the way, I don't recommend that you upsize an image very much. You can do it a little bit, but for the most part, you don't want to enlarge your files here, but there's absolutely no problem with reducing them. So I'll choose the Bicubic Sharper formula, and then I'll click OK.
Since I'm still viewing this image at the same zoom level that I was when I started this exercise, it looks smaller on my screen, but just to confirm that it actually is smaller, I will go down to the Information area at the bottom of the document window, and I'll click and hold there, and that brings up this small box that tells me the current Width and Height of the image in pixels, and as it will print in inches, at 3 inches by 2 inches at the Resolution of 300 pixels per inch. So that's how to set the resolution and the dimensions of a file for print.
But let's say that you don't want an image that has these particular proportions; 3 by 2. Maybe you want an image that's more square in proportion, or maybe you just want to get rid of some of the content at the edges of the image. In that case, you'll want to crop away unwanted portions of the image, and to do that, I'll use one more feature in the Editor: the Crop tool. I will go over to the toolbox, I will select the Crop tool, and I'll click and drag over the image to set my initial crop bounding box. And then I'll move my cursor over any of the edges, and drag to include just the part of the image that I want inside his bounding box.
The portion that's going to be eliminated is grayed out over on the left. I'm happy with that, so I will click the green checkbox underneath the image to commit that crop, and there is my resulting file. I changed it in both dimensions, and in resolution, preparing it for printing to my desktop inkjet printer. At this point, I would generally save the file, and I would save it with a different name than the original, so I don't write over the original image that I started with. So that's how to change the resolution, and the width, and height of a file in preparation for printing.
Changing the size of an image for display online, or onscreen is slightly different. I will show you how to do that in the next movie.
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