Graphics For Bloggers [Series - Part 1]

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Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

Time to start a new blog series! (BTW, I will continue the Picasa series, not done with that one quite yet) Let's change "channels" for a little while and talk about graphics in your blog! Take a look at different blogs and how graphics can be used well to catch a person's eye and then engage them to stay to read the content. In the figure on the right, notice the difference and how much more interesting the article with graphics is (exact same textual content).

This series is going to dive a little deeper into the waters of intermediate to advanced topics and may not be for everyone... but, I'm going to teach you what I know and you can decide if you want to go for it! I'll do my best to break down the steps so you can get how to do it.

When it comes to graphics, use your own original content whenever you can and you won't have to worry about the copyright issues. If you want to use graphics from the web, search ActiveRain for articles about best practices for getting graphics. This series is not about where you get your graphics, but what you can do with them once you have them.

One tool that I have on my computer always that helps me with graphics is a cool little app that you might think has a funny name. It is called Irfanview (ir-fan-view, it is named after the author of the app, Irfan Skiljan)

It is a FREE app and you can go to this page to download it. It is not bloatware, adware, spyware, nor malware... it has been in the top downloads list for years (download count 52+ million) and I've used it for a LONG time and can highly recommend without question. It starts instantly (unlike photoshop) and I have it assigned to my hotkey Ctrl+Alt+F to call it up in a snap whenever needed (which is extremely often).

Three things in graphics get used frequently for me (1) crop (2) resize (3) convert/saveas type. Ifranview does all these with amazing simplicity.
To crop something, drag a bounding box and press Ctrl+Y
To resize a graphic (to blog size), press Ctrl+R and enter the desired pixel sizing
To save, click the save button and save the file and pick type you need (JPG, GIF, PNG)

Let me illustrate a typical task sequence for me with a listing presentation graphic. First I'll create a photo collage in Picasa (click here for that "how-to" blog article). Once the collage has been finished (i.e. "create collage" button), I right-click on the image and choose "Open With" > "Irfanview" (once you have the app installed, it will become available to use in this way). You can see this step illustrated below.

For best practice, the very best first step is to do the  "save as" command. You can very easily do this by pressing S or by clicking the saveas button on the toolbar. You will want saveas, because you don't want to overwrite your higher-resolution original with a lower-resolution web copy. Pick a destination folder and name and you'll be all ready to upload the graphic into your blog post.

The next step is to get a nice tight crop eliminating all the extra white space around. Once you have the graphic open in Irfanview, you can drag a bounding box of where your crop lines will fall. Don't worry about getting it precise when you draw the boundary, you can adjust the edges of the crop lines after in order to get them exactly where you want them to fall. Once you are ready to crop, press Ctrl+Y (shortcut for crop)

By the way, another great shortcut in Irfanview is by pressing the F key. It will toggle between "Fit to screen" and regular size. If you have a huge graphic, you'll want to see it in Fit to screen mode

Now if you are thinking about using the graphic in a blog, you'll want to resize it down to "web sized" proportions. Press the Ctrl+R shortcut to "resize". You will get a dialog box like is shown below and you can type the target pixel size. When I create blog graphics, I target the width value. I aim for 600-640 pixels width for a full width graphic and about 350-400 for a graphic that I will wrap the text around. (I'll get more into these metrics on a next part of this series, but for now there are some numbers to work with)

Finally press Ctrl+S to save all the changes that you just made (remembering that you had already done 'saveas" in the step above so you are not altering your high resolution original)

Stay tuned... this blog series will be continued! (new subscribers appreciated!)

I've tagged this series so that you can click here to see a list of all the articles in the series so you won't miss any. :)

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  is a Technology Manager residing in NYC who specializes in applied technologies in the fields of Architecture and Real Estate. Craig focuses on finding the best uses of tech as can be used to help a business be more successful. He is keen on always seeing the perspective and viewpoint of his audience and he tailors his teaching to be easily understood. Visit my "Recent Posts" page to see a listing of all that is new in case you missed anything!

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Ambassador
271,331
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Coleen - not a mac user so I can only help with concepts but what about this ... 
(since Irfanview is a pc app) - set up your chart on the screen so it is nice and clear and then do a screen capture (there was a little conversation on this post with David about that). From there save the file. Next resize the file down using "Preview" app down to blog size (about 640pixels I recommend)
would that help?

September 26, 2010 09:12 AM
Rainer
80,802
Wade Kawahara
Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC

Craig, thanks for the information.  I will try it out.

September 26, 2010 01:09 PM
Rainmaker
155,726
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women
Home Tips for Women

Craig, THis is a great tutorial and I want to try the tool you suggest as Photoshop does take too long to open although I also like being able to eliminate things from photos & change graphic colors when needed. 

September 26, 2010 01:37 PM
Rainmaker
386,343
Diane M. Phillips
Realtor 443-286-4365
Frankly Real Estate Inc.

Craig ~ good stuff! Thanks for sharing! Kind of a bummer it a PC app only.

September 28, 2010 09:36 AM
Rainmaker
132,587
Liane Thomas - Corona & Riverside Real Estate
Bringing you Home!
The Jet Team, Keller Williams Realty, Corona Real Estate

Oh boy, do I need some serious help! I subscribed to your series and look forward to figuring this out. Thanks!

October 02, 2010 08:18 AM
Rainmaker
169,003
Menlo Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale
WendeByTheBay.com - 650.504.0219 - SF Peninsula
Wende Schoof

Thanks, Craig!  This is helpful, and I'm off to apply what I've learned with my next post.

October 03, 2010 08:17 PM
Rainmaker
384,765
Robert Schwabe
Orange Park Real Estate
Keller Williams- First Coast Realty

Craig - Great tutorial. What are you using to get all the little red arrows on the pictures.

October 08, 2010 10:58 PM
Rainmaker
261,430
Wayne B. Pruner
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI
Oregon First

Thanks for the post. I've bookmarked it for future reference.

 

October 17, 2010 08:04 PM
Rainmaker
142,363
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC

Had to subscribe as well as bookmark this information. You offer a wealth of tips and advice that are practical and in a format that is easy to understand.

October 19, 2010 11:28 PM
Rainmaker
283,111
Eva Aliaga
South Florida Real Estate - Boca Raton Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty Boca Raton IdealFloridaLiving.com

Hi Craig, got this bookmarked. Quite abit of info to digest.

October 20, 2010 12:43 AM
Rainmaker
233,907
Kim & Kristine Halverson
Realtors, Santa Monica Real Estate, CA
www.KimAndKristine.com, Santa Monica Real Estate :)

Super cool and simple.  Thanks for sharing.  It's great to learn about quick simple techniques that have a big impact.

 

Kristine :)

October 21, 2010 07:17 PM
Rainmaker
173,321
Betsy Schuman Dodek
SearchPotomacHomes.com
Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate

Craig - you  are a fantastic teacher. I will keeping reading your top 10!!!

January 01, 2011 03:19 PM
Rainmaker
76,402
Jimmy Gilley
(269) 362-4841 - Search Niles MI Home For Sale
Gold Star Realty

Excellent post!  Thank you for sharing, bookmarking for future use.

January 03, 2011 11:29 PM
Rainer
32,633
Ron Wood
Johnston, Harnett, Sampson & Wake
HTR/Wood Realty Group, Inc

I have been using Irfanview for several years and even though I am not the best at graphics software it is easy to use.

Ron Wood

January 04, 2011 01:44 PM
Rainmaker
187,925
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co.

This looks awesome, I've downloaded it and am going to try it today....looks like a big time saver.

January 06, 2011 10:40 AM
Rainmaker
126,286
Jeremy Joslin
Professional Real Estate Marketing and Sales
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

I played a little and seems like a great easy to use photo editing software.  Surprised this one is free.  Thanks I will use it.

September 05, 2011 09:08 PM
Ambassador
390,628
Mimi Foster
Realtor - Colorado Springs
Managing Broker EPIC Real Estate Group

So I downloaded Irfanview and I am pulling my hair out trying to figure it out.  The two things I need most are watermarking (or adding a caption) and resizing.  I have always used Picnik.  I thought this would be a good solution, but how the devil do you figure it out????????????? :)

February 26, 2012 09:42 AM
Ambassador
271,331
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Mimi - you have questions, I have answers! I'm going to see you in class right??? :)

February 26, 2012 09:56 AM
Ambassador
390,628
Mimi Foster
Realtor - Colorado Springs
Managing Broker EPIC Real Estate Group

Will class answer those questions?  Yes, I was actually just signing up

February 26, 2012 10:09 AM
Ambassador
390,628
Mimi Foster
Realtor - Colorado Springs
Managing Broker EPIC Real Estate Group

What I had been reading was that you did a long series on Picnik.  Obviously that is not going to be the case now.  I'm excited and frustrated at LEARNING CURVES :)  I thought I read somewhere that you had a Picassa class.  Help me, Craig, help me :))))  I am signed up.  NOW WHAT???   LOL

February 26, 2012 10:15 AM
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