Tutor Tanith

Fitting an Image with Least Loss of Pixels

Ok, you understand aspect ratios but now how do you apply that knowledge to get the best out of an existing image?

Let's say you have a photograph. You want to put it on the Greeting card. The photo and the greeting card have different aspect ratios. You also want to retain the very highest quality that you can. That means you want to not lose any pixels by making your image smaller. How do you put the photo on the greeting card with the least loss of pixels?

The bottom line is that you crop the photo to the needed aspect ratio. But you might not have the right software to do that, and you might not want to do the math. Here is how you can do it with any software that will resize your image in pixels.

The Greeting Card template is 1500 x 1100 pixels. The photo is 2048 x 1536. I want to fit the photo to the greeting card and preserve the maximum number of pixels. So I want to crop the photo only on the top or only on the side to get the correct aspect ratio for the greeting card.

  1. I will start with the greeting card template because I know it has the correct aspect ratio (width to height).
  2. Then I will increase either the height or the width to fit the photo.
  3. The photo should overlap so I can crop off the excess to fit.
  4. When you change the template size be sure the check the box that retains the aspect ratio.
  5. First I'm going to try increasing the height of the template to match the height of the photo.
    • When I change the template height to 1536 the width becomes 2095. That is wider than the photo. I'd have nothing to crop and there would be a gap.
  6. So I change the template width to 2048 to match the width of the photo.
    • Now the height becomes 1502. That is less than the height of the photo. There is something to crop.
  7. Now I copy and paste the photo onto the template.
  8. And I have an image that has the correct aspect ratio and the least loss of the image. (In some applications you may need to crop the excess but in most it will be automatically cropped when you save.)

NOTE: Ordinarily it is a bad idea to resize a template with "bleed" guidelines. The bleed guides let you know where to keep the important parts of the image to avoid accidentally getting trimmed off or looking misaligned if the fit isn't perfect. When you resize you change the relative positioning of those guides and they are no longer accurate for that purpose. In this example it didn't matter because there isn't anything to fit - I'm using all that I have. ... unclear? Play around with it for a while it is easier to understand when you get your fingers in the pie. The "correct" way of using the template is to fit the image to the template as shown in the Using a CafePress Template article.

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