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Editing digital images


There are a number of different software packages available for digital imaging. For the purposes of the FARNE project it was decided that Adobe Photoshop would be the most suitable. This particular software offers an array of tools, processes, and options for the manipulation of digital images. It is extremely tempting to use as many of these options as possible in order to create a ‘perfect’ Web-ready image. However, this is not necessarily appropriate when creating digital copies of archival material. FARNE staff were careful to limit the amount of processes images underwent, in order to give an accurate depiction of the original item. The main processes used by the FARNE team included:

  • Rotate Canvas: This process allows a crooked image to be straightened. The image can be rotated as much as 180 degrees and as little as a fraction of a degree).

  • Adjustments:

    Brightness/contrast. - This process can be used to lighten/darken an under/over-exposed image. This process is especially useful when editing archival photographs. Although we want to retain the character of the original item, lightening/darkening a photograph can allow users to see features in the photograph that would otherwise be impossible.

    Levels - The levels dialog box lets you correct the tonal range of an image by adjusting intensity levels of the image's shadows, midtones, and highlights. This process is often more preferable to changing the brightness/contrast of an image as it allows for a greater subtlety of change.

    Colour Balance – There are various ways in which the colour balance of an image can be adjusted. Adjusting levels, using the colour balance command or automatic adjustment can all be used to change the colour balance of an image. Although these tools can be useful, the Curves dialog box is often preferable as it lets you adjust the entire tonal range of an image. Although the Levels dialogue box also allows you to do this, using Curves means that instead of making adjustments using only three variables (highlights, shadows, midtones), you can adjust any point along a 0-255 scale while keeping up to 15 other values constant. You can also use Curves to make precise adjustments to individual colour channels in an image.

    Adjustments to the colour balance of an image should be made sparingly and only when necessary. FARNE found this process particularly useful when using the mounted digital camera for image capture. Because of the size of the equipment, exposure of the item to various hues, tones and external colours couldn’t be controlled to the same degree as with a flatbed scanner (where the image is scanned within an enclosed environment).

  • Crop: This feature allows images to be cropped at the edges. In this way it is possible to dispose of any unwanted background from the scanning process and help the image to look ‘tidier’. There are various debates about what degree archival images should be cropped to. Where possible FARNE has chosen to display images in their entirety and not to 'tidy' edges by cropping.

  • Mode: This process allows the colour type of an image to be adjusted. Images being scanned for the Web should be saved as RGB colour. This should still be applied to black and white images.







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    FEATURED STORIES



    Selecting a method of image capture
    Selecting a method of image capture
    Issues surrounding appropriate image capture for archival items

    Carrying out image capture
    Carrying out image capture
    Methods of image capture.

    Editing digital images
    Editing digital images
    Processes and practices involved in digital editing.

    Image standards and formats
    Image standards and formats
    Creating master copies and web delivery files.


    libraries@gateshead.gov.uk

    Gateshead Central Library
    Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, NE8 4LN
    Tel: 0191 433 8430