On the webernet there are dozens of free photo editing sites that let you many of the things that I am about to show you. I never got into these because, at the time, I felt that they would die out. I thought that maybe these free programs would kick the bucket in the short run, and I would be left with knowing about an obsolete interface. I figured if I stuck using Microsoft Products, then I could always edit a picture - even if it might take a while or was not a perfect job because it would suffice.
This instructable is my first. I aim to show you as much of what you can do for basic editing as possible using Microsft Office products. These include combinations of Word, Powerpoint, MS Paint, and Windows LivePhoto Gallery. In this instructable, I will use some real examples of things I have done as well as work through other models.
Step 1: File Types : The Silent Killer
This is the work of file types: the silent killer. Few people understand why there are so many ways to save all kinds of media, but they were designed as varying ways to store the same information. Below is a list of the most common types with explanations to how they work and what they are best for. All of this information I summarized from here.
TIFF essentially uses an algorithm to store all the data of an image. It does not lose much of the originality of that image because it uses no compression (a means of making smaller file sizes). The files are quite large as a result, but the quality is top notch.
This is usually the best quality output from a digital camera. Digital cameras often offer around three JPEG quality settings plus TIFF. Since JPG always means at least some loss of quality, TIFF means better quality. However, the file size is huge compared to even the best JPG setting, and the advantages may not be noticeable.
A more important use of TIFF is as the working storage format as you edit and manipulate digital images. You do not want to go through several load, edit, save cycles with JPG storage, as the degradation accumulates with each new save. One or two JPG saves at high quality may not be noticeable, but the tenth certainly will be. TIFF is lossless, so there is no degradation associated with saving a TIFF file.
Do NOT use TIFF for web images. They produce big files, and more importantly, most web browsers will not display TIFFs.
PNG is also a lossless storage format. However, in contrast with common TIFF usage, it looks for patterns in the image that it can use to compress file size. The compression is exactly reversible, so the image is recovered exactly.
PNG is of principal value in two applications:
If you have an image with large areas of exactly uniform color, but contains more than 256 colors, PNG is your choice. Its strategy is similar to that of GIF, but it supports 16 million colors, not just 256.
If you want to display a photograph exactly without loss on the web, PNG is your choice. Later generation web browsers support PNG, and PNG is the only lossless format that web browsers support.
PNG is superior to GIF. It produces smaller files and allows more colors. PNG also supports partial transparency. Partial transparency can be used for many useful purposes, such as fades and antialiasing of text. Unfortunately, Microsoft's Internet Explorer does not properly support PNG transparency, so for now web authors must avoid using transparency in PNG images.
GIF creates a table of up to 256 colors from a pool of 16 million. If the image has fewer than 256 colors, GIF can render the image exactly. When the image contains many colors, software that creates the GIF uses any of several algorithms to approximate the colors in the image with the limited palette of 256 colors available. Better algorithms search the image to find an optimum set of 256 colors. Thus, GIF is "lossless" only for images with 256 colors or less. For a rich, true color image, GIF may "lose" 99.998% of the colors.
If your image has fewer than 256 colors and contains large areas of uniform color, GIF is your choice. The files will be small yet perfect. Do NOT use GIF for photographic images, since it can contain only 256 colors per image.
JPEG is optimized for photographs and similar continuous tone images that contain many, many colors. It can achieve astounding compression ratios even while maintaining very high image quality. GIF compression is unkind to such images. JPEG works by analyzing images and discarding kinds of information that the eye is least likely to notice. It stores information as 24 bit color.
This is the format of choice for nearly all photographs on the web. Digital cameras save in a JPEG format by default. Switching to TIFF or RAW improves quality in principle, but the difference is difficult to see. Shooting in TIFF has two disadvantages compared to JPG: fewer photos per memory card, and a longer wait between photographs as the image transfers to the card. I rarely shoot in TIFF mode.
Never use JPG for line art. On images such as these with areas of uniform color with sharp edges, JPG does a poor job. These are tasks for which GIF and PNG are well suited.
BMP is an uncompressed proprietary format invented by Microsoft. There is really no reason to ever use this format.
In the end, I use combinations of PNG, TIFF, and JPEG images. It really depends what you are doing and what you are using your image for. In most cases, I will make large TIFF or PNG files and then save them as JPEGs to publish them because I know these are universally supported.