Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to print pre-sized photos.

I went to a fun Relief Society Craft Day on Saturday and made some Christmas crafts. One of the crafts I made called for four to six photos that were 2 inches by 2 inches.

I know you can just trim a photograph down to size with scissors, but I forgot about that and did it on the computer instead. It is a little bit complicated, but is super handy to know how to do (for instance when you want to print a photo for a locket).

So here is a tutorial on how to print pre-sized photos. It is kind of long, so here are some shortcuts to different parts of the tutorial:

How to print pre-sized photos:

Part I: Crop and Edit your photos.

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  1. Pick your picture. Open it in PhotoScape. (PhotoScape is my favorite photo-editing software. It is easy to use, and most importantly, it is free! If you have Adobe Photoshop, I'm pretty sure you can use that software to do everything I describe doing in both PhotoScape and Irfanview.)
  2. Crop your photo to a 1:1 ratio.

  3. Do some fancy photo editing (like add text) if you want.

  4. Save it.
  5. Repeat with any other pictures.
If you need to print only one photo, you can skip this part and go to Part III. If you need to print more than one photo, putting them into a grid saves you having to repeat Part III for each of the photos you need to print.
  1. Go to the Combine tab in PhotoScape.
  2. Add all the pictures you want to print. (Add a photo multiple times if you want more than one copy of it in the grid.)

  3. Make sure the Checker tab is selected.
  4. Increase the pixels between the photos (Look for Intervals of photos) to give yourself some cutting space. (I used 20 pixels.)
  5. Click Image full to make sure the whole photo shows (sometimes one of the other selections will crop a bit from the edge).
  6. Change the number of Columns so that your photos are evenly distributed . E.g. If you are printing nine 2 in. photos, do a 3 x 3 grid (6 in. by 6 in.). Or If your photos are going to be 3 inches wide, make sure there are not more than two columns by three rows (6 in. by 9 in.) so the grid will fit on a letter size piece of paper.
  7. Save the grid (PhotoScape will create a new image).
In order to print a photo to the exact size you want you have to line up the printing resolution (DPI) with the image resolution (both of which are different from the screen resolution. Yes, it is confusing). If you are printing photos in a standard size, like 4 x 6, 5 x 7, or 8 x 10  you don't have to go to all this trouble; these sizes, and a few others, are default options in the Windows Photo Printing Wizard. But if you want a 2 x 2 inch photo you have to do the math yourself.

Fortunately, it starts out pretty easy. 100 dpi to 100* pixels =  1 inch! Yay! Here are some examples:

100 dpi100 pixels= 1 inch
100 dpi200 pixels= 2 inches
100 dpi450 pixels= 4.5 inches

However, things start getting tricky when you increase the DPI:

200 dpi100 pixels= 0.5 inch
200 dpi200 pixels= 1 inch
200 dpi400 pixels= 2 inch
300 dpi100 pixels= 0.3 inch
300 dpi300 pixels= 1 inch
300 dpi600 pixels= 2 inch

For super small photos you shouldn't have to worry about using a big DPI. I used 200 dpi for my craft project.
  1. Open the saved grid image in Irfanview.
  2. Go to Image > Resize/Resample.

  3. Under 'Set new size' either:
    • a) Select pixels for the unit. b) In Width, enter your DPI times the number of columns in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 200 dpi x 1 in. x 3 columns = 600 pixel width; or for 2 inch photos: 200 dpi x 2 in. x 3 columns = 1200 pixel width). c) In Height, enter your DPI times the number of rows in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 200 dpi x 1 in. x 4 rows = 400 pixel height; or for 2 inch photos: 200 dpi x 2 in. x 4 rows = 1600 pixel height). OR
    • a) Select inches for the unit. b) In Width, enter the desired width of each photo times the number of columns in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 1 in. x 3 columns = 3 in. width; or for 2 inch photos: 2 in. x 3 columns = 6 inch width). c) In Height enter the desired height of each photo times the number of rows in your grid (so for 1 inch photos: 1 in. x 4 rows = 4 inch height; or for 2 inch photos: 2 in. x 4 rows = 8 inch height).
  4. At the bottom of the dialog box, look for DPI (which stands for Dots Per Inch) and change it to 100 (or whatever resolution you used in your 'new size' calculations).
  5. Click 'OK'
  6. You can check and make sure you will end up with the size you want by going to Image > Information. There is a part that tells you how big (in inches) the image will be. (And is vital if you, like me, think you're good at math, but usually get the answers wrong.)

  7. Save the image. Note: Irfanview automatically saves to whichever folder you were working in last. Pay extra attention to where you are saving your image, because otherwise you won't know where Irfanview put your picture! (It happens to me all the time.)
  1. Don't print the image from your My Documents, My Pictures, or any other Windows Explorer folder. (That is what I did the first time.) You'll get the Windows Photo Printing Wizard which (annoyingly) automatically assigns the size of the image being printed without much control on your part. It is fine if you want to print a 5 x 7 or a sheet of wallet size photos, but in this case you want more control!

  2. Make sure you are looking at your grid image in Irfanview. Go to File > Print.
  3. In the Print Preview dialog box
    • Make sure the right printer is selected and check it's settings (You may need to click the 'Printer Setup' button and correct the paper size. While you're there, you may want to go into 'Properties' and make sure your printer is set to photos printing mode instead of standard or draft.)
    • 'Print Size' should be 'Original size (from image DPI)'
    • 'Position' should be changed to at least 0.5 in. for both the Left and Top margins to bypass the minimum default margin required by printers. (If you know you're printer's minimum margins you can use those)
    • Change 'Units for 'custom' and 'position'' from cm to inches.
    • Click 'Print.'

  4. If there are no glitches with the printer (like it being out of ink, or not talking to your computer) you will soon have a page full of perfectly square pre-sized photos. All you have to do is cut them out!

Whew! That was super long and complicated! But it made it easy to do the actual crafting part of my project. It also made it easier to do multiples... my craft is a Christmas gift for the grandparents (of which we have several sets). Also, I accidentally printed a sheet on standard print quality instead of photo print quality and we ended up with enough little photos to make a matching game for 2Flowers, so this technique could be useful for homemade flashcards or games.

What would you use pre-sized photos for?

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1 comment:

  1. I really like your matching game idea. I think I might try that. :o)