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These are the web site graphic and scanning recommendations that we have found to be effective. Scanning and graphics are complex subjects that requires more explanation than is possible here. For more details we suggest you read your scanner and retouching software manuals and check the Netscape and Microsoft web sites for related information.
At this time there are two universally accepted web site graphic formats; jpeg and gif. There are others coming, but please remember that the majority of the browsers only read these two formats. The real limiting factor for graphics is download time. The larger the file, the longer it takes to download. A 200 KB graphic with a 28,800 modem can take two minutes to download. Longer if the net traffic is heavy. Thus, the best advice is to keep graphics as small as possible. Gif files are smaller than Jpeg files so use Jpegs only when necessary.
We strongly recommend using a thumbnail or icon image that links to a larger Gif or Jpeg image. This allows your pages to appear quickly and gives the user the option of seeing a larger version of the thumbnail. Remember boredom is death on the Internet. If anything takes too long to load the viewer will leave. There are exceptions, such as when they are interested in purchasing an expensive item, in which case they may wait.
Jpegs are suitable for full color images such as photographs and high end artwork. They offer the advantage of displaying a large number of colors, but are larger files. We recommend these for color photographs where detail is important. Jpegs can not have transparent backgrounds thus the image cannot appear without a frame or border. There are ways around this, such as using a background color that matches the default color of the web page.
Gifs are good for standard artwork and some photographs. They have fewer colors and may appear flat in some cases. They are relatively small files, thus they download quickly. They have the added advantage of having transparent backgrounds and can be animated.
You can also save your Gif files as interlaced. An interlaced image starts as a low resolution image. A high resolution image loads on top of the original low resolution image. The effect is somewhat like a Venetian blind opening to a higher resolution image. Typically the low resolution portion of the image loads very fast, giving the viewer a chance to see the image and stop the download before he has wasted too much time. We recommend interlaced gifs for all gif images.
Set your scanning software to use pixels for size determination. Set the aspect ratio control to automatic. Then adjust your scanner to scan for the desired width, the height will adjust automatically.
Most people are using monitors set to 800 pixels x 600 pixels resolution. Thus, if you scan your graphic at 800 pixels, it will fill the monitor screen. If viewed by someone using 1200 x 760 resolution, it will fill about 75% of the screen. Or if they are using 640 x 480 resolution it will larger than the screen by 20%. Remember that graphics, unlike text, will not change size when down loaded by a viewers browser.
We have had good luck setting the scanner for 300 dpi and millions of colors or the equivalent. These will give usable scans that can be converted to Gif or Jpeg files.
If you intend to crop or alter the scanned image, then we recommend scanning at a slightly higher resolution, perhaps 600 dpi. Be sure to view the scan at a 1:1 magnification in your retouching software.
Sending in pre-scanned images for sizing and retouching:
Because of all the variables involved we can not guarantee that the scans you supply will produce a high quality image. We recommend supplying your scanned images to us in bitmap (.bmp) or TIF (.tif) format. This will preserve as much as the color quality as possible. It is always better to send an image scanned at a higher than necessary resolution. If in doubt please contact us for instructions.