You are on page 1of 4

Making page layouts This may seem an unlikely topic to relate to image modification, but there is a connection between

the two. Being more specific, this document will cover a few topics regarding making page layouts, some of the popular applications used when making layouts, and some of the ways in which these applications may serve to make desired modifications to images. Let us highlight the use of publishing programs and the use of word processing programs. Microsoft offers Publisher and Word in its Office collections. Other software companies offer their versions. Each can be used to place images on a page layout containing formatted text. Each can be used to save the page layouts as image files for a variety of uses, or as HTML files which may be posted to the web. In addition, HTML editing programs like Microsoft’s Front Page aid in making HTML files that have certain types of complex layout features. We recognize the value of being able to add legends and/or captions to pictures, and the value of formatting the layout of pages having multiple images with text associated with each image. This is the usual manner of printing or archiving digital photos or preparing photos for presentation as a “photo album.” A user should keep in mind that a word program or a publishing program may be used, as well as a program designed specifically to prepare photos for printing or for photo album use. One reason for making the choice of the more general-purpose word program or publishing program is that it may allow you to have more flexibility in the end result – particularly if you are not preparing the layouts for presentation as a photo album which may be viewed on your computer, or may be sent to others for use on a specific photo album viewer. Specific programs that can improve some images Suppose that you have an image that does not have uniform illumination over the objects that you wish to highlight. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to correct for this deficiency and balance the brightness so the image looks better? Certain possibilities exist for modifying the image to obtain more uniform brightness, where that is needed. The means for doing this is to introduce a “layering” coverlay of a type of “transparent” layer that compensates for the improper balance of brightness over the areas where this is needed. For those who have a backgound in obtaining these

results with photo enlargements, it is somewhat equivalent to the “dodging” technique, in which an object is used to restrict the light from the projector which passes through areas of the negative which are too “bright,” and thus, the amount of light falling on the enlarging paper is reduced in the area where it would otherwise be excessive. The transparency overlay used in digital image processing may be defined in terms of its transparency or its opacity. These properties are the opposite of each other, and the value of these properties must vary over the region of the boundary of the iamge being modified for it to be effective in providing the desired balance of brightness. One program which allows the user to “colorize” a black-and-white image is Paint Shop Pro, made by JASC Corporation. It provides a variety of “tools” for applying gradations of opacity of a chosen color, and with a variety of application patterns for this colored layer. The result can be quite good when a black-and-white image is of fair size, and a custom pattern of colors are desired to be applied to create the desired colors. Paint Shop Pro can also be used to apply patterns of a gray overlay to create a transparency that compensates for the bright areas. This gray overlay may be used with either color or black-and-white images. The user may find that it is difficult to apply a transparency layer that makes a smooth transition of the gray density gradient, without leaving evidence of a “splattered paint effect” due to the custom application of the “paint.” This custom application is controlled by positioning of the mouse pointer, and the “paint” is applied as black spots whose distribution pattern is governed by the selection of the type of application tool and by its parameters of making a “tight” or a “spread out” distribution pattern. An example of the paint application tools that may be selected is an airbrush, and the user can make settings that control the spread and the density of the paint droplets. This type of modification usually results in an image having a “mottled” appearance, as the evidence of a “granular” effect due to the spotty application of paint droplets will be evident. A program that overcomes these shortcomings is provided by Page Plus, a publishing program by Serif. The feature which allows a user to compensate for non-uniform brightness is a collection of transparencies that provide a variety of patterns of gradients that can be placed over the image which needs modification. The difference is that these transparncies have been generated by software techniques that provide a smooth transition between levels of density gradient. The user has the ability to choose the transparency pattern that best compensates for the image being modified, and can further tailor the extent and location over which

the gradient changes are most prominent by the use of tools that set the percentage of opacity from maximum to minimum that will be applied to the chosen coverlay. The program makes an adjustment so that the rectangular boundaries of the overlay match those of the image being modified. The end result of judicious modifications Coupled with other “quality” adjustments of brightness, contrast, gamma, and color balance, the resulting modifications can be dramatic. Comments about Page Plus Page Plus may be operated in the same manner as a Microsoft Publisher program, and many of the screen layouts are nearly identical. However, except for a few features that are unique to Page Plus, Publisher may do the basic tasks far better than Page Plus. The basic tasks are considered to be extracting either an image file of the page layout or an HTML file of the page layout. Page Plus does a creditable job of retaining clarity of the individual image in a page layout, but unless all text is quite large, a user with a critical eye will notice some degradation of text clarity, especially if a slight difference of effective “zoom” magnification is used. In regard to obtaining an HTML file that retains ANY significant detail of the entire page layout – GOOD LUCK ! However, it provides another feature that may be interesting. That feature is the ability to incline text by rotating it through a custom selection of “free rotate” angle. You don’t have to be constrained to using multiples of 90 degrees. Again, this feature is of greatest benefit if you can take a block of text and increase its font size by at least double before performing a free-rotate. Before placing this block of text in a layout, you may have to reduce its size to the original value. The reason for the caveat regarding the rotation of an enlarged block of text is that Page Plus does not do a creditable job of preserving text clarity. Comments about “free-rotate.” As part of the artistic “tools” available to the user, they may wish to rotate an image through an angle of their choice. A few image modifying programs can do this, and you may want to identify which ones can do this. Programs that can do this include the more recent versions of Adobe Photo Deluxe (ver. 4.0 and up?). Comments about image viewing programs When viewing an image file, most viewing programs have a bias toward presenting

the lightest portion of an image somewhat darker than it should be. In particular, this becomes evident when saving an image that has a white background to a JPG or GIF format, and then inserting that image into a page layout with a white background. The background of the inserted image file usually will appear as a pale lavender shade. This can be avoided, and a general improvement in the appearance of the image file will occur if the user takes care to increase the brightness and the contrast of the image before saving it. For those who use either Irfan View or Photo Deluxe, settings in the range of 12 to 16 for brightness and 15 to 18 for contrast will usually suffice. For images that have a dark background, pre-bias settings in the range of 4 to 6 for brightness as well as contrast usually work well.