Zoom In on the Best Image pg 4: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com | WebReference

Zoom In on the Best Image pg 4: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com

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Zoom In on the Best Image: Finding the Right Portion of an Image

 

 

Rare is the image that cannot be improved by cropping. If there is one consistent photo error on the Web, it is that the designer fails to crop the image to remove unnecessary detail and focus in on the subject. The image below looks pretty good. Presenting an image with no background is a great way to add energy and improve the focus. However, if you are trying to project a happy person talking on the phone, there is too much information in this image to project the mood.

 

 

By cropping in on the image, you can see how the focus changes. However, the black phone against the white background catches first attention – a good thing if the phone is the feature you wish to present. However, most images that contain people should feature the people as the primary subject. In addition, cropping this image has left it feeling like it is floating in the air with no anchor.

 

 

 

If a happy person on the phone is the image you require, I think the final image shown at the left is the best of the three. The phone is instantly obvious, and the young man is close enough to draw the visitor into the image. Let your eyes float from the final image to the second one, and notice how much more lively his face appears to be. Or, take it to a completely different level and crop right to the detail you require. You can often get the same effect, and keep your image file size down by aggressive cropping like this. It is also a great way to add an arsty look to the page if appropriate.

Cropping in graphic programs is very easy, so experiment with your images. Make sure that you have the original saved (remember you can only safely make an image smaller, not larger) and try several different sizes and shapes to pick the best area of the image.

 

 

 

Lines Finish Images

 

Cropping Effectively
Although bringing the image closer to the viewer will usually improve the impact, you must be careful when you are slicing into images. You do not want to leave the image looking like it is hanging.

The young girl at the right is a full image, and while it is a good one, it does take up a lot of space, and has plenty of detail to distract from the main idea. We talked above about zooming in, but look at the first image at the left to see the result of simply cropping. The bottom of the image appears to be chopped off and that edge itself robs some attention.

Adding a graduated fill in the same color of the background helps to take away the "cut" look. See Masks Are Easy ... Really! , Pro Photo Edges, or Color Power with Gradient Fills for information about how to create this look.

You can also work creatively with lines to finish the cut edge of an image. In the sample at the left, a table is used to provide the color for a finishing line. You could also use a solid color GIF file to create this line. Notice how I have placed a headline below the image. Without some connection to the image, although the image no longer looks cut off, the image and line is still floating. Tying the text into the image is an effective communication method, and anchors that section of the page very well.

I have been working with images that have the background removed. We are seeing more and more professional CD collections in this format, and with good reason. Images with solid backgrounds are always more clear, and the file size is smaller (the solid background compresses very well). The resulting image is much more energetic on a page, as well. Let's take a peek at some background removal techniques so you can create this effect on your own.

 

 

 

Next page

Zoom In on the Best Image: Tutorial Index

Photo Composition for the Web
Know Thine Resolution
Taking Advantage of Resolution
Finding the Right Portion of an Image
Removing Backgrounds

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Created by Wendy Peck,
URL: http://www.webreference.com/graphics/column50/
Created: July 21, 2001
Revised: July 21, 2001