Please note, this tutorial was updated on 29/8/2013. We now project at 1600×1200 pixels, so for all references to 1400×1050 pixels in this post, please replace with 1600×1200 pixels for 2017 onwards.
It’s the start of a new competition season and I though I would give a few pointers to getting the best out of the digital projected section.
First a little plea on file names. Please use only the title for the filename (with the .jpg extension), do not put your name, Member number or any thing else. Can you use the appropriate title case with only the first letter of important words capitalised – it looks MUCH prettier when displayed.
If you are sending them to me on CD or USB stick or other physical media please put all your entries in a folder with your name as the folder name (only one name for one set of entries if you are supplying entries for several members on the same media). If you are emailing them to me simply attach them to the email and make sure your name is in the body of the email (also if you are sending the maximum number please indicate the order of the files) and a subject line that states OPS and the comp name please (I get such a lot of emails it is useful to be able to quickly identify the OPS comp ones).
Remember you can enter a maximum of six images in each media (Print and Projected) If you are entering the maximum number in any media please indicate either on a list of file/image names or on the back of the print if you prefer the order of the images just in case we have too many and your last selection can be removed and saved until next quarterly so we can keep the entries at a manageable level for the judge to give reasonable comments.
Our first judge this season is our good friend Geoff Robinson so get those images entered.
Some people are a little unsure of the best way to convert images so as to get the best out of them in competition. Here are a few hints.
We project in landscape format 1400 pixels wide and 1050 pixels tall so the images will look their best if presented at this size. If you get the size slightly too big the software we use will scale the image to fit on screen but if it is too small you will end up with a small image to be judged.
Each image should have an sRGB colour profile embedded, if there is no profile embedded then sRGB will be assumed and no conversion will be made to display it. Any other profile attached will be used to convert to sRGB for display using default parameters, these will generally give an acceptable conversion for most images but it may not be as good as you could do yourself.
**(Update: Surprise the action still works in CS6)
It doesn’t matter what method you choose to get the images correctly sized and the colours looking good. Here is a Photoshop action to size any image correctly and convert to sRGB. The only requirement to use it is that the images look good to you in Photoshop. to load this action download the file, copy it to “C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS4PresetsActions” for photoshop CS4, “C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS3PresetsActions” for photoshop CS3, (CS3/CS4 now use the windows preferred method of storing local data so if you like you can save the file in “C:Documents and SettingsUSERApplication DataAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS3PresetsActions” AND “C:Documents and SettingsUSERApplication DataAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS4PresetsActions” respectively [ replace USER with your Windows login name]) C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS2PresetsPhotoshop Actions” for CS2, C:Program FilesAdobePhotoshop CSPresetsPhotoshop Actions” for CS. In Photoshop open the Actions pallet (Alt F9) and using its menu select “Load Actions…” with any luck it will already be pointing at the correct folder but if not simply navigate to the relevant Actions folder and click on OPS.atn and Load. When you close Photoshop it should remember to load this set of action next time it opens. Please note: If you update to a later or different version you will need to re-load the action and to keep any changes you make you must save the actions group.
If you are looking for this action, it’s gone, sorry. It was so old and out of date and the wrong size… I’ll see if I can do another one using the later spec for competition images and later versions of Photoshop.
To use this action open the image file in Photoshop click on the Size for OPS Comp in the Actions pallet and then click on the Play icon at the bottom of the pallet. If you prefer you can set the action pallet to “Button Mode” then all you need to do to run it is to click its button.
I would recommend that you look at the steps the action takes and try to apply them to your image yourself so you get a feel of what it does and if you can improve it to suit your images. There are three places that it would be good to intervene and make sure it is doing what you want (click on the box in the second column of the actions pallet to enable the user to choose the action parameters).
The first is at the convert to colour stage (step 2). I have selected ‘Relative Colorimetric’ as the intent you may find that with some images ‘Perceptual’ give an image more to your taste. Only trying it will show you and if it works better for one image does not mean it will be better for others.
The second place to take control is the sharpening stage (step 5). I have added only a small amount of unsharp mask to compensate for the size, colour and depth change, you may prefer more or less. If you also pause it at the Save stage (step 7) you can rename it (and tell it where to save it).
These are the steps in the action:
1. Flatten Image (just to make sure there are no layers – layers may blend differently with a different profile)
2. Convert to sRGB (using Relative Colorimetric intent)
3. Fit to 1400 x 1050 (resize to fit within 1400px x 1050px box)
4. Convert to 8 bit
5. Sharpen for final use (Unsharp Mask, Amount: 70%, Radius: 0.3px, Threshold: 1)
6. Make canvas size same as screen size and fill empty areas with black
7. Save for Web (JPEG, quality 100%, embed profile – by default it “should” try to save the file on the desktop Drive C: To change the default save folder, double click on the Export line with a file open, do not change any of the save options , unless you want to change the default parameters, click on Save and navigate to where you want to save the files, making any new folders you require and save the file – you can always go back and bin it after. Remember: do NOT change the name of the file or all the files it saves will have the same name. )
8. Close (and do not save – just so it does not write over your original)
Please leave questions or comments below. It is difficult to test all possible situations on a single computer so if you try it and it doesn’t work PLEASE leave a comment so that it can be sorted out for the next person.