Preparing and manipulating digital images are fundamental tasks for all digital-media designers when building websites.
There are three main methods for obtaining images in a digital format – scanning, screengrabbing and uploading images directly from a digital camera.
1) Scanner – Scanning requires an additional piece of hardware called an Image Scanner which connects to user’s computer, usually via USB. Physical documents (text, drawings, handwriting, print photographs etc) are scanned using the Image Scanner, which then coverts into a digital image to be stored on the computer. The resulting digital image is usually stored as a JPEG or PNG format file, which can then be manipulated in preparation for inclusion on a website.
2) Screengrab – Screen grabs are the ultimate WYSIWY(L)G (What You See Is What You [Literally] Get) form of digital image capture, and the only hardware required to create them are a computer and a keyboard.
Users take a ‘snapshot’ image of the current display, exactly as it currently appears in the monitor. On PC’s, this is achieved by pressing the PRINT-SCREEN key. On MACS, Cmd+Shift+3 is used. A screengrab of just the application currently active can be obtained by pressing Alt+PrintScreen on PC’s (for MACS, Cmd-Shift+4 followed by Spacebar is used).
The resulting image is placed in the clipboard (or desktop for MACS) and can then be pasted into an image editing program such as Photoshop or Paint. The resulting image can then be cropped using the CROP tool to show only the area of image required.This image was created using only the screengrab facility. 7 individual images were ‘grabbed’ from the internet, pasted into photoshop, cropped and then composed into a single image.
Screengrabs (also known as screendumps, screenshots and screen captures) are particularly useful for reporting system problems to technical support staff, preparing instructions and procedures or obtaining images from sources that cannot be directly copied into the user’s file directory. However, care should always be taken to ensure that copyrighted material is not being unlawfully obtained and used when capturing images for later use in this manner.
3) Digital Cameras – Digital Images can be uploaded onto a computer directly from a digital camera. Digital photographs are usually stored on the camera as JPG or TIFF files, and these can be transferred to the user’s computer either by USB connection or by removing the memory/SD card from the camera and inserting directly into the appropriate slot on the computer. Modern digital camera’s allow images to be stored in RAW format. This gives the user greater freedom in terms of manipulating the image before committing to a usable format that will usually result in compression where some information (and therefore quality) will be lost.