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Hello Everyone!
As collectors, we enjoy admiring, expanding and sharing our collections with others that have the same passion as we do. Dealing with the size of pictures can be frustrating and time expensive if you do not know the whys and hows. Not every collector has the money and time to acquire and learn how to use expensive and complicated photo editing software. I put this together to information to provide some clarity as to why we have limits on the pictures that are added to DX threads and how you can easily edit your photos to meet image posting requirements. After all, this isn't a picture editing forum, it's a diecast automobilia forum!

First off, lets discuss the whys…

Q: Why do we ask that you keep your pictures under 60KB in file size?

A: This is a two part answer:

1. Let me first explain what we are referring to here. Every file on your computer takes up space on your hard drive. The space that these files take up are measured in bytes. Bytes are an eight character unit that when put together with other bytes make a file. One thousand bytes (actually it's 1024 bytes) equals a kilobyte (KB), one thousand kilobytes equals a megabyte (MB), and one thousand megabytes equals a gigabyte (GB).

One reason we have a limit on file size is to keep the operational costs for DX as low as possible. When you open a thread on the forum, your Internet browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc…) downloads all the text and pictures to your computer. This data traveling to and from the DX server is tracked and measured by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that has DX's servers. The owner of DX pays a monthly fee for to up to a certain amount of data to travel to and from the server that DX resides on. When this limit is reached, the ISP charges extra for any additional amount of data that travels to and from DX's server.

But what about pictures that are linked to sites other than DX, why do they have to be under the 60KB limit? When a picture in a thread is linked to a picture hosting site (such as Photobucket) your browser continues to communicate with the DX server until all text AND pictures are downloaded. The bigger the picture is the longer it will take to download so, the longer your Internet browser will send data to and from the DX server. This data travel counts against DX's monthly amount of data transfer. When a thumbnail or text only link is put into a thread for a picture hosted on any server other than DX's, it opens in a new window. That is because when a picture opens in a new window, that new window does NOT send data to and from the DX server. Thus, it cuts down on the data transfer in and out of DX's server and doesn't count against the monthly data transfer allotment for DX's servers.

It's all about reducing the cost to run DX. DX is free for all its members but, it not free to operate!!! DX relies on the generosity of its members through donations to help defer the costs.

2. The other reason we have a limit on file size is that not all users have a high speed internet connection. Our last census polls revealed that we still have quite a few active members that have dial-up. Keeping the file size low drastically cuts back on the time for pictures to download to your computer and creates a more enjoyable experience for all members of DX.

Q: Why do we have to keep picture dimensions under 640 x 480?

A: Pictures are made up of theses things called pixels. Pixels are little squares and can only be one color. The current standard for resolution (resolution is the number of pixels in a line) is 72 pixels per inch. So, in picture that has a resolution of 72, there will be 72 horizontal rows and 72 vertical columns of pixels in every square inch of a picture. This results in a picture that has 5,184 (72 x 72 = 5,184) pixels in every square inch of the picture. These little squares are so small that your eyes 'blur' them together and you don't notice that what you are seeing is thousands or millions of single colored squares.

So what does 640 x 480 mean exactly? 640 is the total number of vertical lines of pixels in a picture and 480 is the total number of horizontal lines in a picture.

Keeping the picture dimensions under 640 x 480 ensures the proper display of the forum on your computer's monitor or laptop's screen. Not all of us have 17" inch or large monitors. Having the picture dimensions no larger than 640 x 480 enables the forum to display correctly on any system that has their monitor or computer display set at 800 X 600 or higher. It also helps to bring the over all file size (the byte thing I discussed earlier) down as well.

Now to the how part:

Image editing can be very frustrating if you don't have a software program provides you the functionality required and that is easy to use. I put together this how-to tutorial for an easy to use and free picture imaging tool called GIMP.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring. You can get this free software here:

http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html

First, you will have to download and install the GTK+ Runtime Environment before you install the actual image editing program. If you are using a Windows product that is Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Vista, download and install what is circled in RED below. If you are using a Windows product that is an earlier release than Windows 2000 (Windows ME or NT 4 or earlier), use the link circled in BLUE. The installs are straight forward and should require no more than a few clicks of the OK button.

Eye Font Slope Rectangle Parallel


Now you are ready to install the image editing software circled in RED. Again, the installation is straight forward.

Rectangle Font Screenshot Circle Number


Once the program is installed, click: Start | Programs | GIMP | Gimp 2

Rectangle Font Screenshot Parallel Technology


Continued in next thread...
 

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Once the GIMP Program starts, click: File | Open (At this point I'm assuming that you already have the pictures saved from you digital camera to your computer.)

Rectangle Font Screenshot Material property Software


Use the box that opens up to look for the location where you saved your pictures from your camera to. Select the picture that you want to edit and click: Open

Now that you have your picture open we will change the dimensions to fall in line with the 640 x 480 limits. You do this by clicking: Image | Scale Image

Font Screenshot Rectangle Parallel Technology


Change width to 640 and the height to 480 and then click: Scale

Rectangle Font Screenshot Parallel Software


Continued in next post...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now your image has the right dimentions, now lets make sure that your image is under the 60KB limit.

Click: File | Save As

Azure Font Rectangle Communication Device Screenshot


In the box that pops up, type in a new file name if you want to change it and select the save folder and click: Save

In the next box that opens, click the check box circled in RED below. This will allow you to see what the file size is right above the check box you just checked. Use the slide bar to get the image under the 60KB limit. Once you have your picture under 60KB, click: Ok

Rectangle Font Screenshot Parallel Software


Now you have a picture that is 640 x 480 in dimensions and under 60 KB in file size!!! :happy

:cheers
Sean
 

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Sean,

Thank you for taking some time to explain everything in a manner that was informative as well as detailed. :cheers
 

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Great post Sean. I hope this helps those members who want to post pictures easily and quickly without using the likes of Photoshop.

As another little pointer, if you are uploading your pictures to photobucket to then link them to DX, I would advise you to save your photos comfortably under the 60kb limit, e.g. 53kb. Photobucket seems to add a few kb to the file size in the uploading process, and so it's best to have some leeway left for that, otherwise it's frustrating to go back and re-save then re-upload all your images, or to have them removed by the mods when you post them :cheers
 

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Nice job, Sean - thanks for taking the time to do it! Hopefully those members who have trouble figuring out the whole resizing thing will find it to be a simple procedure.
 

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That's a terrific write-up Sean! :nicejob This should be bookmarked and referenced to whenever newcomers ask the why/how questions about image size.
 
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Great work Sean , that should come in helpful . :cheers

The thing is , you can lead a horse to water , but you cant make him drink .
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the compliments, gents! I know editing pictures is not second nature to everyone. Even if only one person gets something out of it, I'd say it was worth the time to put together.

:cheers
Sean
 
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