Friday, February 26, 2010

Resizing photos for ebay listings - a simple 'right click' in Ubuntu

Should you need to be a photo editing expert to do a simple resize? I think not. A simple 'right click' will do in Ubuntu and I will show you how.

I write this article in a Tutorial style and begin with a slightly historical* task - that of getting an image in the correct (traditional) size for ebay listings (400x300 pixels)

[ *Ebay now have their own 'site help' methods for image resizing but regardless the ability to resize images is a generally helpful thing for users to know (family photos, simple websites, etc) ]

Here is what to use:

Now this context menu is a screenshot of the default Ubuntu Gnome file manager (Nautilus), but with an extra install, that makes 'Resize Images' appear when right clicking image files.

If you want to run ahead and do the install then skip towards the end of this post otherwise read at your leisure and do the install last.

A typical 12 megapixel camera will throw out a 4000x3000 pixel image, which is too large for uploading to ebay, and too big for website illustrations also.
This kind of quality is great for when you take your family snaps to the photo processing place - you get real good quality prints! Not so great for ebay and website work.

My aim is to reduce this picture (original size 800x600 pixels): a more ebay friendly 400x300 size.

What you do not need is a fancy bells and whistle graphic editor (GIMP, Photoshop, whatever), which unless you are already skilled in them, might be considered a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Here goes ...

...then... I am asking for 50% of the original image size to be placed in a new file which has the helpful suffix 'resized' :)

...and clicking the 'File Properties' then 'Image' tab tells us all about the new image:

and we are done.

Installing the Nautilus extension 'nautilus-image-converter':

From the 'Ubuntu Software Centre' (or 'Synaptic') you search for 'converter' and locate the package named nautilus-image-converter. Install it.

or if you are reading this in Firefox then you might have some luck by clicking the following link:
( command line folks will probably just go for apt-get install nautilus-image-converter )

Now that your install has completed, you should see, when you are using Nautilus, that 'right click' on an image has the extra menu entries 'Resize Images' and 'Rotate Images' (not applicable for non-image files as you would rightly expect)

By using this 'Resize Image' option you can also help lower the filesizes of your images, making it possible to stay below ebay limit of 4MB per image.

( 'high end' cameras will often produce photos that exceed this 4MB limit which ebay has imposed )

*** end of main article ***

For those who might be wondering about the silver item in the picture - it is a catering bain-marie and in some cafes you might find it used to warm your baked beans and peas :)

I am a capable user of GIMP. I like it a lot, and use it a couple of times a week in my work. This article is not intended to suggest GIMP will not do the job for you. It is my tool of choice generally, but I think there is value, also, in providing a tutorial that shows an alternative that 'right click' fans can use to get the job done.

When I read on the Internet questions like 'where is Linux equivalent of Microsoft Paint', and I scratch the surface, it turns out that what the user is really trying to do is a simple 'resize' or 'rotate' operation. This article provides the solution.

Personally I urge Linux users who are likely to regularly do a bit of image editing to learn GIMP - it really is very capable, and the hours you put into learning it will be repaid. If you really take a dislike to GIMP (for whatever reason) then here is a list of programs that you might look to as a (less preferred by my reckoning) alternative:
  • Gwenview
  • Gthumb
  • KolourPaint
( Eye of Gnome is a viewer rather than an editor so see Gthumb perhaps )

If you want something that manages your photos (personally I feel no inclination myself) then you would look to programs such as:
  • F-spot
  • Digikam
  • Picasa

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