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Photography file transfer


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#1 nosmiley

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:58 PM

My Vista OS is corrupted to the point I need to remove "personal effects" and start over. I have approx 75 pictures saved from the internet, mostly very sharp quality that I want to keep. I read that TIFF format maintains this quality, but can cause size issues. Please give an opinion about this. Tutorials here don't seem to address what I need to do.
I've never done this before. Is one storage method better for the quality aspect I want? Do I use flash drive, external hard disk, or burn dvd? I have a few new,unused flash drives;My machine will burn dvd's, and I can buy an ext HD. I am hearing good things about intel's SSD. Please give procedural tips as well. Can I move the entire pictures file at once, or do I need to do it one pic at a time ? If anything I've mentioned is foolish to consider, go ahead and say so. That's why I joined bleeping.
Thanks in advance.



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#2 Platypus

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:09 AM

As long as there is no fault with media (eg corrupted files, scratch on DVD) it won't make any difference to the image quality what media it is stored on. In other words, a given file is the same whether it has been stored on a flash drive, hard drive or DVD. And as many files as you wish can be copied at once using Explorer or burned to a DVD in one session, it makes no difference.

The file format (the type of file that has been saved) can affect the image quality under some circumstances. What is the existing file format?

I use .TIF files when I want to maintain image quality. They are much larger than, for example, .JPG files.

However an important thing to understand is that if you are just copying the file to another location, there will be no change to the image quality, regardless of its format. So if they're .JPG files, and you just burn them off to a DVD, then copy them back onto the computer when it's restored to operation, the images will still be exactly the same. In this case there would be no advantage in using another file format.

If they are important and/or difficult to replace, it would be best though to have more than one copy in case of a disaster. If you have them on both a DVD and a flash drive for example, if the flash drive is lost, you still have the DVD. Any storage medium can fail, be lost or stolen etc.

What will cause loss of image quality is re-saving a format like .JPG after the image is modified in something like Photoshop. Say you re-size an image and crop it so it looks neat, then save it again as a .JPG. There will be a loss of image quality as it's re-compressed. That's when it's best to start with an uncompressed format like .TIF, and once all processing and re-saving is completed and the image is in its final state, it can then be saved as a .JPG or similar compressed file in order to be much smaller. That way there's only one compressing process that loses quality.

Edited by Platypus, 25 January 2010 - 12:17 AM.

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#3 nosmiley

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 01:10 AM

Thanks Platypus.
Thats exactly the type information I was looking for. You have been a big help.
Most of the pictures were taken off the internet as Jpeg.
At least I know how to proceed safely, and still accomplish what I am trying to do.
A few of the pictures look as if they might be able to be enlarged somewhat without getting grainy. I thought I might try it after getting the computer cleaned out, and starting with a clean disk.
Thank you again.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:15 AM

You're welcome.

If you want to experiment with enlarging a .JPG, here's what I'd suggest.

When you load the image into graphics editing software, save it immediately as a .TIF file. That means you're not changing the original .JPG and it's there to start from again if you get it wrong. It also means you can save and re-save the .TIF version as you experiment, without losing any quality from lossy compression.

When you have a final version how you want it, you can then save as a .JPG again, vary the name so you don't wipe out the original file. JPG files can be saved with a wide variation in the degree of compression, and correspondingly more or less loss of quality. So you can experiment with the balance between the size of the final file, and how much deterioration you get in the image quality.

To enlarge an image you should choose the resample function, which will make a "best try" at reconstructing the image at a larger dimension. Simply expanding the image to larger dimensions usually gives poor results. Resample typically has a choice of a number of methods, which one is best may vary with the type of image, so experiment. But I generally haven't found enlarged images look really good, because the original image only contains the amount of information relevant to its existing size. Some image enhancement effects can help, the oddly named Unsharp Mask can improve the appearance sometimes.
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