Working a Bit with ImageReady

Working With Graphics. If you have done any surfing on the web you know there are a lot of reasons for developing higher quality images in your webs.  For example

  • Eye catching colors

  • Communicating through images

  • Dynamic image changes whether banners or involved animations

to name a very few.

While FrontPage includes some image editing capabilities, it is not known for having the highest quality image development capabilities.  Adobe and Macromedia are probably the largest and best competitors in this market.  Since I have been a user of Adobe products for many years and I prefer their more "artistic" approach I tend to stay with them.  But there is a lot to be said for the Macromedia suite of products.  In fact, I've been an on-and-off user of Macromedia Flash for developing animations.  But, now I will give a quick overview of some features in an Adobe product called ImageReady.  The basic features I am about to survey are something you should find in almost any image processor.

My sense is that ImageReady was developed as a midrange product.  Unfortunately it seems to have been subsumed by a market of either much higher priced or much lower priced products.  Regardless of this, it has a very nice range of features for working with graphics and preparing things for the web.  We will survey only a very few of these features.

Making a Screen Image.  One of the features that I use most often, particularly in teaching, is making a web image of the screen.  For example, I am currently typing this page in FrontPage and the following is a reduced image of my current screen.



The process for doing this is
  1. Make sure ImageReady is open.
  2. Press the PrtSc button to print the screen.  This puts the current screen into the clipboard.
  3. Open a new image in ImageReady.
  4. Now you just need to press Ctrl-V or paste the clipboard into the image window.

You should now see something like the following on your screen.



Now in order to "optimize" the image, which is Adobe jargon for converting the file format to JPG or GIF, you need to follow these additional steps.
  1. Click on the Optimize window.


  1. Click on the drop down button for the type of optimized image you to produce.

You should see the following.



Notice that GIF and JPEG are the two first entries.  We will not discuss the PNG which are an attempt to get JPEG quality at GIF resource demand levels.  Remember, in general, JPEGs will be a bit larger, but give you better representation of subtler color changes for things such as photographs.  If you have more blockish color areas then GIF gives you better representation while requiring fewer resources.
  1. So now you can select your image representation as either GIF or JPEG and the quality of the optimization.  Higher quality requires more memory.  You can also play with some of the other options in the dialog.
  2. Now you want to select the Optimized tab in the image window to get the file conversion.  The following image may help you locate the tab.



Now you want to
  1. Click on the File menu.
  2. Select the Save Optimized As item and go through the usual Windows save procedure.

So this completes creating a screen image.

Cropping and Resizing an Image.  Having done this, you may have noticed that I have definitely cropped certain screen images to focus in on a particular portion of the image.  It should also be obvious that I have resized most of the images I have used so far, mainly because they are larger or smaller than they would actually appear on a screen in practice.

The tools window looks like the following image.


Marquee Tool - used for cropping



Paint Brush


There are a very large variety of tools and I have given names to just a few of them.  Some of them have very familiar icons.  In order to make sure you have the tools you need to
  1. Click on the Window menu.
  2. Make sure the Show Tools item is selected.  If it says Hide Tools then the tools should be visible.

Now we are going to make use of the Crop Tool or Marquee Tool as Adobe calls it.  This allows you to crop the image.

  1. Make sure you have an image.
  2. Click on the Crop tool.
  3. Select the region you want to crop so that you get a sort of shimmering rectangle about the region you want to isolate.

This should look something like the following



Now you want to
  1. Click on the Image menu.
  2. Select the Crop item.

This should leave you with the image you've selected.  Now if you want to resize it you should

  1. Click on the Image menu.
  2. Click on the Image Size item.

You should get a dialogue window/form that looks like the following.



Now you can adjust the size of the photo by either changing the Width: or Height:.  You can do this with the original proportions maintained by leaving the checkbox checked, or unchecking it.  Remember, most screens are 1024 pixels wide and 768 pixels high.  Slightly older representations are 800 by 600.  But keep in mind pixel resolutions are increasing considerably.

Well, there is an awful lot more I could do just in ImageReady, but these basics are something that you are almost surely going to need to do in some image processor.