Using XNView

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You can prepare images in a number of programs, as well as some mobile apps, but this demonstration will use XNView, a freeware program.

Viewing images in XNView

You may wish to use larger thumbnail than the default setting in XNView. There’s a little trick here, since XNView uses the small embedded default thumbnails that are embedded in jpegs files. This means that, when you go to make them bigger, using the slider top right of the browser, or View > Thumbnails size in the top menu, they appear blurry.

To fix this, go to Settings (the cog icon  )
under Browser > Thumbnail, select ‘Create from original image if embedded thumbnail is smaller than thumbnail size’
and select OK.

[There may be another step here..]

 It’s also a good idea to be able to see the size information.
Go to View > View as.. > Thumbnails + Labels

Copy files

It is always good practice, if you are going to edit files, to create copies of them first, so you don’t lose anything. Keep the old files in a separate folder called ‘Original’, or something like that.

(For consistency you may wish to edit names and caption data before copying files.)

  1. In XNView Browser, right-click on an empty area and the context menu will give you a ‘New Folder’ option.
  2. Create a folder called ‘originals’, or another name if you want.
  3. Then select all the files (Cmd+A).
  4. With the Alt key pressed down, drag the files into the folder.
  5. Rename the files with the titles of the artworks

Since WordPress uses the filename to name the title of an image, it’s a good idea to prepare the name as you want it to appear in the title. This can be edited later in the WordPress Media Library, but it’s nice to avoid double-handling.

Right-click the thumbnail and select Rename – or you can click on the name itself.

There is also a handy ‘Batch Rename’ command under the Tools menu. Good for photos that belong in a set.

Editing captions

The metadata in an image file is its additional textual information. It’s particularly useful for storing information about an image, rather than relying on a long filename or a separate text file.

The caption metadata also automatically populates the caption field in the your WordPress Media Library.

To edit this info, right-click the browser thumbnail and select ‘Edit IPTC data’.

Use the tabs at the top to edit Captions and Credit info.

It is good practice to have a unique caption for each image – so that when users of your site contact you or your stockist they can refer to a specific image by its name or code.

You may wish to create a template for information such as copyright and contact details.

There are other ways to use metadata, such as keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and Catalogue tags – which can help with filing.

Cropping and Resizing images

This is where you definitely want to be working on a copy.
Double-click the image you want to edit.
First crop the image, if needed. Click on the  icon. Then drag to select the final image and click on the ‘crop’ button at the top.
Then to resize, select the  button and, with the ‘Keep ratio’ option checked, first change the Resolution to 96 pixels/inch, then change the Width to 1142 pixels. The height will adjust automatically.
1142 pixels  is the width of the images as they appear in the portfolio boxes. If you want to use the image full screen – i.e. extending to the edge of the screen, you should use 1600 pixels or more. You should resize these anyway as the process also reduces the file size, to speed up page loading.
However, only ever decrease the Width. Increasing the width will make the image blurry, so if the size is less than 1142 pixels, either find a larger original or leave it as is.
Never use very small images.
If all your images are the same dimensions, you can use Tools > Batch Convert and resize them all at once.

Brightness and Contrast

There are usually a couple of ways to go about this. I prefer to use histogram mapping.
With the image open for editing (double-click browser thumbnail) go to Image > Adjust > Levels… or click on the Adjust arrow and select Levels
or simply type ‘L’
Then drag the sliders to suit the outcome you’re after (matching the other images on the site). Dragging the right toggle to the left with brighten the highlights and dragging the left toggle to the right will deepen the shadows.
If an image has a cast of any colour, you can also adjust this. Click on ‘Luminosity’ and select the colour you want to edit. Dragging the middle toggle to the left will generally reduce the bulk of the colour, but play around with it.
To save the file, go to File > Save.

Batch Convert

There are a host of features in XNView not covered in these instructions. Batch Convert is one worth knowing about. Using this, you can apply a number of different kinds of edits in bulk. Do experiment, but make sure you have back-up copies of the files you are editing.

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