Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Post your tips & tricks here for creating slide shows with ProShow Gold. This could include suggestions for style and content in addition to working with the software itself
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Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby MG - Admin » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:29 pm

DickK sent me this information via a Private Message and thought it would be a good thing to share with everyone:

What’s the best resolution for a photo to be used in ProShow?
This is a topic that comes up pretty frequently at ProShow Enthusiasts and this thread is an attempt to summarize the various discussions and pull the information in one place.

The Question: With digital cameras commonly capturing images of 5, 9 or more megapixels each, it seems like it might be a good idea to reduce those multi-megabyte files before using them in a slide show, so what’s a good size to use?

The bottom line:
In short, “use what you’ve got” would be pretty close to the consensus. With a couple caveats, there are few disadvantages to just using them as-is and there can be big disadvantages to reducing them a lot.

What’s the minimum pixel count for my pictures to look good in a slide show?
That depends. First it depends on the output format you’re going to use and second what you’re going to do with the images in the show. Basically, you need enough pixels from your image to at least match the resolution of the output. Probably the two most common outputs are standard definition DVD video and computer EXE. If DVD video is the output, then each frame of video is roughly 720x480 (varies: NTSC vs. PAL, widescreen or not, interlaced vs. progressive). If an EXE is the output, then each frame needs whatever the display is set to (e.g., 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024, etc.) if we’re going full screen.

So, if I use that minimum, everything will be fine, right?
Maybe. That’s where the second “depends” above figures in. It isn’t just the pixel count in the image that counts, it’s the pixel count ProShow displays after any zoom or crop. Those operations are only showing a fraction of your image and now that fraction needs the minimum pixel count. Let’s say you show only the upper, left quarter of the shot (or you cropped down by the same amount). Now only 25% of the image is on screen, but we need the same pixel count portion of the image, so the full image needed 4 times the required minimum resolution (twice the pixel count in each dimension). So that huge image isn’t nearly as much overkill as you thought!

If I use big images, what happens to all the “extra” pixels?
Not to worry, no pixels will be harmed in the making of your slideshow. :wink: Seriously, they’ll get processed down to whatever the output format calls for during the video rendering step or the making of the EXE. That’s also what’s happening when your computer displays an image that has more pixels than your monitor’s resolution is set at.

Does it matter if the image came from my scanner instead of the camera?
Not for use in ProShow. Now, optimizing the scan process is another (big) topic of itself, but keeping it simple, ProShow doesn’t care where the pixels came from; what matters is simply having enough of them.

So, bigger is always better?
Mostly, but maybe not always. Large image files use more memory on your computer, so it’s possible that you’ll see some slowdown in ProShow (previews or editing) with big images—though most users don’t seem to see that. Likewise, big images in an EXE output make the computer work harder to display them, so a person with a PC that’s older or short on memory might see some jerkiness in motion effects. Lastly, it’s also true that an EXE output will be bigger if big images are used but, it’s rare that this becomes a significant issue.

For more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_resolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_resolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television

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Postby nannybear » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:42 pm

Great information Dick, thanks for making it a sticky Mike! Cheers Jan
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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby desertbill » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:43 pm

I have done about 45 ProShows for travel clubs. Here is what I do and why. It may not be the best but it works for me. I use Photoshop Elements batch processing capability to convert all my images for a slide show to 1,500 pixels across. I ask Elements to save the pictures with a 1500 added to the file names. This tells me that it is 1500 pixels while preserving the original higher resolution picture for printing. I use 1,500 pixels because my travel shows are via digital projector. While it cannot use this much resolution now, perhaps in the future a projector will use it. Meanwhile I will have all my images saved as 1,500 pixel images ready to take advantage of future technology changes. I also crop images to 16/9 width to height ratio to make DVDs for wide screen TV play. I love to see ProShow DVDs fill the entire 42-inch TV screen corner to corner. That is one reason I try to avoid vertical images. They cannot fill a TV screen.

Reducing the resolution of the images helps my computer cope with the file sizes. With full resolution images, ProShow was slowing down and choking on the big file sizes.

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby MG - Admin » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:13 pm

Instead of resizing your images at 1500 across, why not save them so they are at least 1920 x 1080 or larger? This way they are ready for HD as well. They won't be that much bigger of a file size and you won't have to go back and redo them at a later date. Just a suggestion.

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby desertbill » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:02 pm

The only reason I use 1500 pixels across rather than 1920 is that I never heard of HD when I started making shows. The use of 1500 pixels seemed adequate to cover me if digital projectors ever have higher resolution at resonable price. Thanks for your comment.

leemoses

Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby leemoses » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:25 am

Greetings,
I’m new to Proshow; just got used to the interface; now working on my first show.
After many experiments, I found that the file type, jpg, tif, png, or other does not matter. The important factor is the scanned resolution, which must be compatible with the intended display output.

My images were all coming out soft or blurred, even from original scans at 4000 dpi. I tried re-sizing and they still looked soft. By no means do I pretend to be a resolution interpolation specialist, but here is what worked for me.

Scanning at 1080 dpi works well for EXE output played back on a monitor set for 1280 x 1024. Ratio and proportion can be used to calculate a proper window for computer monitor display. If the current display is 1280 x1024 and you have scanned the image at 1080 dpi then your PC executable options can be set by:

1280 / 1024 = 1080 / (X), then

1024 (1080) = 1280 (X), then

1024 (1080) / 1280 = X = 864

Your display size is 1080 x 864. Your rendering setting should be the same. Presently I am matching rendering size and will experiment later. Set all video parameters to high quality. If your original images are sharp, then the EXE show will also be sharp.
8)

Mel207

Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby Mel207 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:13 pm

Okay let's all slow down, I'm 54 and formula's and Pixie counts hurt my head. I just called PhotoDex about image out put and what was best...I didn't understand the tech's explanation either. He said something about dpi doesn't matter and keep the file size to around 7 meg.

Someone explain this in MY language...yes, you can get the crayons out...I shoot a Canon 5D MkII...when I convert the RAW files into a Jpeg file the COMRESSED file is 12 to 21 megabytes...when I open it the Jpeg jumps to 60 megabytes...

Since I am outputing for DVD format I figure that the BEST out put would be to the TV's resolution which is a 1080p, heck I thought I'll even jump that up to a Blu Ray resolution of 1920 x1280 (which yields a 6.4 inch by 9.6 inch 200 dpi resolution file of about 7 meg). The pictures are still blurry to me compared to just opening the Jpeg file in PhotoShop.

So...give it to me simply...WHAT IS THE BEST SIZE FOR JPEG FILES...that are going to be displayed on my Sony 46 inch HD TV in a DVD format (not Blu-Ray). Please file in the boxes _________ pixels X _________ pixels with a _______ dpi count (if that truly matters). Don't confuse me with the square root of antithesis compounded.

AND is there anyway to get the crystal clear pictures my camera takes onto the ProShots DVD output...they just don't pop like I want them to.

Mucho thanks in advance. Mel

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby MG - Admin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:52 pm

Mel:

Hope this is simple enough:

Standard DVD resolution at best is 720x480. If you build shows just for the purpose of burning them to DVD you don't need your images to be any larger than that resolution unless you plan to do some zooming. It doesn't matter that your TV is HD and can handle 1920 x 1080 resolution. The DVD is the weak link in the chain so that is what you're going to see.

Watching a standard DVD on an HD TV is not going to look all that sharp. You're stretching the native resolution of the DVD onto a higher res display, resulting in softness. The quality difference wasn't so noticeable back when everyone had 4:3 aspect ratio tv's that were about 26 inches in size. Now that the TV technology has improved and everyone's getting bigger tvs with higher resolution capabilities, we really see how poor a standard DVD looks.

DPI is only for printing purposes, so as mentioned before, please ignore it. It's pixels you need to pay attention to.

I hope that helps.

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby DickK » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:51 pm

Mel -- Go back and reread the original post, then ask questions if you don't understand what's there. Remember the bottom line--as long as it exceeds the minimum, ignore what size the image is and just use it. There's no need to fill in any numbers--just use what you've got.

Images off a standard def DVD can never look as good on your TV as they do on your monitor. Try this--reduce an image to 720x480 pixels and display it on the monitor, preferably at a display setting near what the TV is equivalent to. Doesn't look as good as before you reduced it? Well that's what happens getting turned into video on the DVD. Yes, if you can create a Blu-Ray output (you need a Blu-Ray writer on the PC, and a Blu-Ray player hooked to the TV) then it will look much better. That's as good as it can get for now, but it still may not be as good as on the monitor.

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Mel207

Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby Mel207 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:43 pm

Thanks Mike and Dick for the info...I gather that using the 7 meg rule and sizing the images to the blu ray max IS the best I can get until technology breaks that barrier. I assumed that the conversion to a dvd was causing the images to soften.

So if I buy a blu ray dvd burner, go back and get a smaller screen, I assume I would see greater detail - naw - I think I'll wait for the newer technology which will allow liquified unlimited resolution images in 3D surround vision :) - come on you know it's coming.

Thanks again for the info. Mel

geotheo

Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby geotheo » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:28 pm

I'm new here and to Producer. I've been able to create an EXE file of photo images in a slideshow that I've shown on a XVGA portable projector and it works great. I used 1024 X 768 as my crop (in Photoshop) for each image (600 x 768 for verticals). Now, I'd like to burn the slideshow to a Blue Ray disc.

My home theater projector has a native resolution of 1280 x 720. I'm a little confused. Can I leave the image sizes as they are and merely burn the show to the BD-R disc or do I have to resize my images to 1280X720 (720p). I have the option of setting the output of my player to 4:3 or 16:9; I don't mind the black sides. I do want my images to appear as good as they can be.

By the way, because the sensor size on my cameras is a "full 35mm size", cropping to a 16:9 aspect ratio is almost impossible (you can certainly do it, but a lot of the image gets cropped out)

Thanks for any help.

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby MG - Admin » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:40 pm

If you prefer not to resize your images to a 16:9 aspect ratio you can use the 1024 x 768 images you already have. You will have black bars on the sides to fill in the areas that your images don't reach due to the 4:3 ratio. If you're happy with that, that's all that is necessary.

As for the 35mm cropping goes, now that I know I can create Blu-Ray media with my images I keep that in mind when shooting. I leave a little at the top or bottom of my compositions knowing that I will be cropping it out so as not to lose anything important.

Mike

geotheo

Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby geotheo » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:51 pm

Thanks Mike

What happens vertically? Will my image be cropped (or scrunched) to fit the 720 vertical dimension?

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby MG - Admin » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:15 pm

geotheo wrote:What happens vertically? Will my image be cropped (or scrunched) to fit the 720 vertical dimension?


It won't be cropped, but it will be made to fit the 720 height. Going down in size isn't so bad and you shouldn't notice any quality differences. In essence, your image will now be 960 x 720, so there will be black areas on the sides making up the difference of the width from 960 to 1280, or 160 pixels of black on each side of your image.

Hope that makes sense.

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Re: Image Resolution and Sizing FAQ

Postby briancbb » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:16 am

G

Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you have a decent camera with a full size sensor. I would not have cropped my original images to 1024 x 768. You have effectively reduced your pictures to 0.79 Mpixel straight away. This leaves no room to zoom in on areas of your pictures.

I would recommend that you use the pictures within Proshow at native resolution and let Proshow take care of any reduction of resolution necessary for the output format chosen.
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