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Tutorial: How to use Paint.NET to optimise your photos


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#1 Legostein

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:16 PM

Hello everybody!

When I browsed the forums today, I stumbled into a topic containing unbearable large images with pixel sizes of several thousand pixels and a total image volume of 50 MB in that topic. I got so upset that I immediately closed my browser window. But then I warned myself that this was not the right way to handle this. It's my intention to help, and that's why I wrote up this new tutorial about operating the program paint.NET. It's the most capable free software (currently Windows OS only) that I know of and comes with a large palette of tools for optimising images comparable to Paintshop or Photoshop. But again, the best thing is that it's free! :classic:


--------------------


Table of content

1. Download the program
2. Open an image
3. Draw a selection and crop it
4. Resizing
5. Sharpening
6. Brightness and contrast
7. Compressing and saving your optimised photo
8. Results


--------------------


1. Download the program

To download the free software paint.NET go to the website http://www.getpaint.net/ and click through the download procedure.

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After the installation of the software (simply follow the navigation through the menus), you open the program and come to the user interface of paint.NET.

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2. Open an image

To open an image taken with your digital camera, open the menu "File" and choose "Open". Alternatively you can click on the common icon for that.

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Another window opens where you can browse your operating system to locate the desired file. In our case it's file IMG_4044.jpg with the dimensions of 2592x1944 and a file size of 1.4 MB. Click on the file and press OK.

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You now see your image in the program's interface.

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3. Draw a selection and crop it

From the toolbox on the left side, choose the "Rectangle Select" icon.

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Your image now has a blue frame where you drew your selection.

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To crop this selection, click on the "Crop to selection" icon in the top icon bar.

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The not needed space around the focused object on your image has now been removed.

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4. Resizing

As the dimensions of our image are still way too huge, we resize it by opening the menu "Image" and choose "Resize".

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A new window opens with many checkboxes and parameters. You can use the program's standards. Simply enter the desired width of your image into the box "Width". A width of 640 pixels is quite apropriate for an internet image. Larger dimensions are usually not needed and only increase the file size. We enter "640" into the box and press OK.

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You now see your resized image.

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5. Sharpening

Sharpening is recommended after resizing, but also if you have taken a blurry image. To sharpen your image, open the menu "Effects" and choose "Sharpen".

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A small window opens where you can select the degree of sharpening. A value of 2-5 usually is sufficent here. Enter the number and press OK.

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Your image now aapears sharped.

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6. Brightness and Contrast

If you think your image is a bit dark or needs stronger contures, you can use adjust the brightness and contrast by opening the menu "Adjustments" and choosing "Brightness / Contrast".

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A small window opens where you can play a little with the values for brightness and contrast. You see the result immediately as it has a preview function. Once you think it looks perfect, press OK.

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You now come back to your brightened up image.

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7. Compressing and saving your optimised photo

After all operations have been performed, let's save our image optimised for easy internet access. Open the menu "File" and choose "Save as".

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A new window opens again. Here you give your optimised image an new name and press "Save".

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Yet another window opens where you can compress the file size. A quality level of 90% is absolutely sufficient and does not decrease the image quality but results in a massively smaller file size. Press OK.

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8. Results

And here's the result of our efforts:

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The original file was:
- 2592x1944 pixels
- 1.4 MB file size

The optimised file is:
- 640x480 pixels
- 0.06 MB file size

These optimised file sizes enable quick loading times also for areas where broadband internet is not yet common. :classic:


--------------------


With that I am done with my little tutorial. Although it took me some hours, I enjoyed doing it as it might save me even more hours of loading time in future topics. :wink:

If there are more questions, I'll be glad to be of further assistance. :classic:

Have a great week-end, and see you soon!

Yours Christopher.

Edited by Legostein, 27 February 2011 - 04:05 PM.

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#2 prateek

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 11:35 PM

Oh, thank you Legostein for this tutorial! I never knew about this program. I might give it a try :thumbup:

#3 bamaker

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:24 AM

Thanks for letting us all know about this program!  I've never heard of it; but just spent the last couple of hours messing around on it and it's great.  I'll be using it quite often.

Edited by bamaker, 27 February 2011 - 02:24 AM.


#4 Syn

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 03:48 PM

This is a great tutorial. A+! I only have one concern, this is basically a Windows Only Tutorial, I'm a Mac. and I'm sure I'm not the only one here that is. Are there any alternatives to paint.net that are free and have around the same functionality so our mac users can get the most out of this tutorial as well?
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#5 Legostein

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

Hello!

Thank you everyone. I am glad this tutorial is helpful. :classic:


View PostSyn, on 27 February 2011 - 03:48 PM, said:

[...] this is basically a Windows Only Tutorial [...] Are there any alternatives to paint.net [...] ?

Oh! I am sorry! :sad: My bad, I should have mentioned that earlier. There is a great program available for MAC and Windows called GIMP. I have not yet found the time to play around with it, but it's a popular program. :classic:


Cheers,

~ Christopher
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#6 Speedy

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:13 PM

View PostSyn, on 27 February 2011 - 03:48 PM, said:

This is a great tutorial. A+! I only have one concern, this is basically a Windows Only Tutorial, I'm a Mac. and I'm sure I'm not the only one here that is. Are there any alternatives to paint.net that are free and have around the same functionality so our mac users can get the most out of this tutorial as well?
Check this page:
http://forums.getpai...native-for-mac/

Personally, I think it's worth the investment to get Photoshop Elements, since it costs relatively little and often comes packaged with stuff, or make the effort to get a Photoshop hack, as long as you're not profiting from it.

Photoshop has the same tools plus a lot more, but Elements is a stripped down version.

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#7 Syn

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:23 PM

Well I actually have Photoshop CS5 because I need a good image creator since I make iPhone games and trying to delve into the world of Console/PC games (pc being Personal Computer not windows, although if I did make a game I can code it into windows as well as mac) I was more or less seeing if there was a Mac Alt for other mac users. I'm always fiddling with new programs lord knows I don't like spending that much on CS4-CS5. I'm going to look at GIMP because it looks like it has quite a few features and I like the way the interface looks.


Anyways, again I think your tutorial was great and I hope that EVERYONE see's this and uses it to there utmost advantage!
Anyone interested in trading Mummy Collectable Minifigs? I have plenty need to get rid of.

#8 Lord Starkiller

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:23 PM

Paint.NET ehy?
Well i have 3 words for You!
GIMP Is Better!

Still, Nice Tutorial.

Edited by LuxorV, 27 February 2011 - 08:15 PM.
Removed excessively big text size.

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#9 CptMugwash

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 07:53 PM

Hi Legostein, thanks for bringing this up, this is exactly the kind of program i've been looking for, cheers.
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#10 MinifigFreak2010

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:02 PM

Could you create a tutorial for those using a Bitmap program or point me to an existing one please? I want to upload an image to the "what is this" thread or even to my image bucket account then a like on the thread but I don't know how. I really want to learn more about an image in an eBay auction but I may want to upload it b4 the auction is over so I only want to upload a little of it.

I've cropped the image already.

#11 Legostein

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:16 PM

View PostCptMugwash, on 27 February 2011 - 07:53 PM, said:

Hi Legostein, thanks for bringing this up, this is exactly the kind of program i've been looking for, cheers.

Thank you. It's my pleasure to help. :classic:


View PostMinifigFreak2010, on 27 February 2011 - 08:02 PM, said:

Could you create a tutorial for those using a Bitmap program or point me to an existing one please? I want to upload an image to the "what is this" thread [...]

I guess here you will find what you need:
1. How to upload pictures to Brickshelf
2. How to Deeplink and Post Images

I also recommend our formidable Tutorials Index.


Cheers,

~ Christopher

Edited by Legostein, 27 February 2011 - 08:24 PM.

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#12 LuxorV

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

View PostLord Starkiller, on 27 February 2011 - 05:23 PM, said:

Paint.NET ehy?
Well i have 3 words for You!
GIMP Is Better!

Still, Nice Tutorial.
Please try to contain yourself when posting. The use of a font like Impact, the one you used, is enough. No need to make it size '6'. Moreover, as a general rule, the use of text size bigger than '3' is not welcome.

Try to keep this in mind in your future posts. Thank you.

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#13 Baylego

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:38 PM

Good tutorial! I don't need to resize my photos because I have a flickr account, and I can choose which ever size I want.

#14 MinifigFreak2010

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 08:44 PM

i think i'll just wait for the auction to end then just put a link to the ended auction. I'm not really much of a Brickshelf user.

#15 dr_spock

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:49 AM

Thanks for the tutorial.  I didn't know Paint.net.   I use GIMP and it pretty much resizes the same way.  GIMP is also available for Linux in addition to Mac, Windows.



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