Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Technical Note - Image Resolution and Formats

This post is about images for the 2 books. I will let you know the difficulties I was faced with while working with some of the images and how I tackled them so that they were of print-quality as required by the publisher. I will only cover some of the photos which I edited.

Image Resolution and Formats

There are 47 MB of (JPEG) images for the first book (Research on the Early Malay Doctors).
There was 1.30 GB of images recorded in 3 formats (JPEG, PNG, TIFF) which I submitted for the second book (Biography of the Early Malay Doctors).

Research on the Early Malay Doctors

Photo set 1: King Edward VII School, Taiping

ACQUISITION: The photos for King Edward VII School, Taiping were taken off from many school magazines. 
PROBLEMS: The images were of low quality. Some images were too dark and the structures were not visible. They were B/W and coloured images. 
RESOLUTION: I cut out the images from the magazine pages and stuck them in PowerPoint. In PowerPoint, I was able to adjust lighting and contrast. I then saved the images from PowerPoint as separate free images in JPEG format. 
PUBLISHING: All the images were published as B/W images.

JPEG images of King Edward VII School, Taiping after editing.

Photo set 2: Hospital Melaka

ACQUISITION: The photos for Hospital Melaka were obtained from Facebook.
PROBLEMS: Even though the images looked clear in Facebook, they were of low resolution for printing.
RESOLUTION: I didn't have a program to increase the photo resolution. What I did was to arrange the images as several series of smaller images than those I had received in Facebook. 
PUBLISHING: The photos were printed as B/W images and were smaller than those in Facebook. Since the photos were printed smaller, the resolution turned up alright. 

Properties of images in Facebook
JPEG images of Hospital Melaka from Facebook.

Biography of the Early Malay Doctors

Photo set 1: Dr Abbas 

ACQUISITION: Several images were submitted by the family members. Some were coloured photos.
PROBLEMS: Many good old photos were of low resolution. One photo had plenty of empty white spaces. One photo was very dark with tiny people figures.
RESOLUTION: Each photo had to be tackled individually. The one with lots of white spaces was easy but the kain sampin worn by Dr Abbas had to be re-drawn and re-shaded as the lines appeared broken.
PUBLISHING: The photos came out alright but they are clearer in the ebook compared to printed books.

Edited images for Dr Abbas's biography.
Photo set 2: Dr HS Moonshi portrait

ACQUISITION: Image was submitted as a JPEG B/W image.
PROBLEMS: The image had plenty of cracked lines.
RESOLUTION: I edited the photo in Zoner Photo Studio 14. I first upgraded the resolution to a maximum of 600 dpi and saved the images as 2 separate images. I then worked on one of the images to attempt to minimise or clear up all the cracked lines. The badges had to be outlined so they stood clear against the background. Some of the stripes on the jacket had to be re-drawn and the colours matched. The beard had to be touched up.
PUBLISHING: The portrait is alright but it does look "soft" to me. I don't think sharpening the image will help.

Original B/W image submitted at 200 dpi.
Properties of the upgraded image (600 dpi) before editing.
Portraits of Dr HS Moonshi - edited above, unedited below.

Photo set 3: Sri Kenangan

ACQUISITION: Image was submitted as a 2.45 MB JPEG B/W image.
PROBLEMS: This was a large image but of low resolution. There were plenty of white spaces in various places of the old photo.
RESOLUTION: I edited the image in Zoner Photo Studio 14 (obtained free from Give Away of the Day). I filled the empty white spaces with background colour density, working under 250X image blowup. For lines to fill the missing wooden roof facade, I had to draw in "wooden panels" based on what I know a Malay house looks like. I then coloured in the "wooden panels" to match the roof "bits" in the image. The thatched roof was also done the same way by picking up colour density and patching white empty spaces. The rattan lines had to be re-drawn to match the other rattan pieces elsewhere in the images. I also patched some of the clothes and cleaned up some of the greyed-in spot on the white jackets. I outlined some of the people to make them stand out against the dark background. I outlined some of the shoes so they appeared clearer in the final image.
PUBLISHING: The photo turns up alright. I don't know how to make it a bit darker without losing resolution for the people figures.

Sri Kenangan images - before editing at right, and after editing at left.
Properties of submitted image. No resolution was recorded.
Resolution of submitted image based on a replicate made in Zoner Photo Studio 14.
Final improved resolution of Sri Kenangan image after editing.

Photo set 4: Wanita UMNO

ACQUISITION: Images were captured off a framed photo on the wall of a home gallery.
PROBLEMS: The precious images were unfortunately dark and fuzzy. The fireball from the flash spoiled the images. 
RESOLUTION: I first removed the fireball in PowerPoint by layering with a dark rectangle. I then free-cut the figures and pasted on a white slide. I then adjusted contrast and sharpness. I then used Zoner Photo Studio 14 to turn the dark figures to brighter tones. I saved 2 bright tones. I cleared the fuzzy areas (noise) in the background by using a wavy fill design. I cleared some of the little blur spots on the clothes of the ladies by patching with similar tone and density using a brush function.
PUBLISHING:  (no feedback yet)

Wanita UMNO images

Other software available for increasing image resolution: