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General Information


This workshop will cover the basics of digital image acquisition by scanning, downloading from the web, and importing images from a digital camera. Once the image is in the computer, the user will then be able to adjust colors and contrast, rotate, crop, and/or resize the image as desired. Tips about file size, image size, thumbnails, special effects and image editors will also be shared. After editing, images can then be saved and posted to a web site in either of two image formats (JPG or GIF).



Digital Camera: Digital cameras can be used to take photographs on digital media instead of film. The photographs can then be uploaded to the computer for use in web, e-mail, or other digital deployment.

Scanner: Scanners are used to acquire digital images from existing hard copies. The image or document is placed into the scanner, which is operated much like a copy machine. Instead of producing more hard copies, the scanner creates a digital copy of the image or document which can then be used just like any other digital image.

Drawn: Images can be drawn directly into the computer, using either the mouse or a special graphics tablet designed specially for drawing on the computer. Some popular drawing software packages are Macromedia Fireworks, Adobe Photoshop, MetaCreations Painter, and Microsoft Paint. Microsoft Paint is included with the Windows operating system (look under Start | Programs | Accessories for the Paint program).

Borrowed: An image from another web site can be saved to your hard drive and then can be used on your own web site. Keep in mind that there may be copyright issues involved with using other people's images. When in doubt, send the owner an e-mail requesting permission to use their image.

Loaded: An image may be loaded from media such as Zip, Jaz, CD, or floppy disk.


Software included with a digital camera will download the images and save them to the hard drive. The images can then be loaded from the hard drive for adjustment in an imaging package.

Most imaging software will include an option to acquire an image from the scanner. In this case no "transition" is required; the image will be scanned directly into the imaging software. If separate scanning software is used, the image may be saved to the hard drive and loaded into the imaging package.

If your drawing software is the same software that you will be using for adjustments, then no "transition" is necessary. Otherwise, you may save your drawing to the hard drive and load it into your imaging software.

When using images from web sites, you should save the image to your hard drive by clicking on the image with the right mouse button and selecting "Save Image As" from the pop-up menu (Mac users, click and hold the mouse button for the pop-up menu). The name of the file may be changed, but the extension (.gif or .jpg) should not be changed. Once you have saved the image, load it into your imaging software.

If you are loading the image from media such as Zip, Jaz, CD, or floppy, you can load it directly into your imaging software, so no "transition" is necessary.


Color / Contrast Adjustment: Your imaging software allows you to adjust color balance and change the contrast of an image.

Crop / Resize: You can discard all but a selected portion of the image (crop) or stretch / shrink the image to a desired size (resize).

Rotate: The image can be rotated, usually in 90-degree increments. You can also flip the image horizontally or vertically.

View: The imaging software allows you to view the image and any changes you are making.

Thumbnails: You can make thumbnails of your images to make them fit better with text or so your page loads faster. The thumbnail is hyperlinked to the full sized image so when the user clicks, they can view the full image.

Slide Shows: Image programs such as Irfanview or Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to display a series of images as a slide show.

Special Effects: Effects such as blurring, paint effects, edge detection, text, or other effects can be added in your imaging software.

File Conversion: File conversion is performed by simply using "Save As" and selecting a different format.

Save & Export Considerations:

  • File location: You must remember where you saved the file in order to utilize it. To find lost files, use "Start | Find | Files or Folders" in Windows and "File | Find" in MacOS.
  • File size: File size affects how quickly the image will load. This is especially important if the image will be downloaded over a modem.
  • Image type: JPG is better for photos, while GIF is better for low-color diagrams or monochrome text.
  • Naming conventions: It's best to use lower-case letters, avoid special characters, and name the image something concise and relevant so that you can remember what the image is called. Names with eight characters or less are preferred.


  • Save to media: Save to a floppy or CD to give your image to someone else.
  • Post to web: Post to the web to share your image with others on the internet.
  • Print: Print your image to distribute on paper.
  • E-mail: E-mail your image to someone else
  • Other: Include your image in a Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation - it can be used in many different programs.


Graphics Tools

  • IrfanView (PC) is a freeware program for viewing, scanning, converting, adjusting, thumbnailing, and cropping images.
  • GraphicConverter (Mac) is a shareware program for converting images to different formats.
  • Macromedia - makers of Fireworks, a digital imaging package.
  • Adobe - makers of Photoshop, another digital imaging package.
  • JASC Software - makers of Paint Shop Pro, a digital imaging package with a free trial version available.
  • GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a free imaging package for UNIX operating systems (including MacOS X!)
  • Canon sells excellent digital cameras as well as scanners.
  • Wacom sells pressure-sensitive tablets for drawing on your PC.
Links to commercial Web sites do not represent endorsement by the University of California or its affiliates.