Wednesday 23 July 2008

Productive (sort of) but frustrating

I've had my first go at making a digital collage sheet today and frankly, who'd have thought it would be so much bloody hard work. I scanned the lovely old cigarette card album on the good Epson scanner after a quick crash course - what fun, I can't believe I've gone for this long without scanning anything. Then I made an A4 sheet of the cropped images in Quark which looked great and then discovered that the resulting PDF file weighed in at a whopping 160MB which is too big to even think of emailing to anyone. Then started my epic delving into the weird and wonderful world of PDF sizing, compressing and other never before ventured into areas of the menu options. I made a pathetic plea for help in the Etsy forums and after a slow start got a really impressive array of very helpful and sensible advice, I'm really very grateful for so many intelligent replys on quite a technical subject.

Then I realized what I had done wrong. I'd imported all of the scanned jpgs into Quark and resized them so I could get lots onto one A4 page (sorry Americans, but I'm using my own paper sizes for this project.....) which is why the resulting file size was so massive. It also meant that the resultant prints just weren't good enough. When my little brain finally cliked into working mode, it realized that I really should be offering the images at 100% original size. So I started again and fitted two pages of the album onto my Quark page at 100% which looked much better with the text being much more legible. Then I exported this as a PDF with minimal compression which made a file of 7MB, much better. Opened in Acrobat and saved as an optimized PDF (thanks to advice from Etsy forum person) made for a lovely clear image of a respectable size. Then I printed it out on my excellent inkjet and it looks great. Mission accomplished. The next dialemma will be offering digital collage sheets with only two pages of an album, so should I be offering more pages for the $3.50? Perhaps I'll offer three pages. Now I've cracked it, making new sheets will be much faster and more efficient, so less time spent. I'll upload the first ones if I get a chance tomorrow. I've started drinking some rather nice red wine now, so I'd better not do it tonight or else it will all go wrong!

I've got a proper grown up shoot tomorrow. It's for the website of a recruitment company and I've got to shoot their employees at a lovely white building which is very helpfully literally over the road from home, I can see it from my kitichen window. I'll be using my super long and heavy 80-200 lens on a suitably sturdy tripod. There are two batches of people, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon which will at least give me time to dash home to un-burden my memory cards and recharge mine and the camera batteries. Then there will be quite alot of computer tweaking to get the warped, overexposed images which are wanted.

I hope it all goes okay, I really need some more real work for my portfolio.

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