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Image Processing Automation with Adobe Photoshop

Image processing automation with Adobe Photoshop

Adding content is one of the most challenging activities in an E-commerce web site. As a part of the content, images are playing a very important role. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Yes, by using the best images to show your products, you can improve greatly the conversion. Add as many as you can, but keep in mind that it will affect your page loading speed.

I am going to show you bellow how can you make your life a bit easier in terms of image processing. Usually, your brand manufactures will provide you hi-resolution product images (landscape or portrait), which need to be modified / cut according to your web design requirements.

Premise: For my example I will assume the following:

- Images are delivered in 300 ppi (points per pixel) in CMYK colour mode, saved as TIFF file format;
- The size of the images is larger than what we need with an aspect ration close to 4:3 (most common SD size).

What result should we obtain

We need to use Adobe Photoshop to modify our images for a 800×600 pixel in 72 ppi resolution and save them in a JPG format.

To work

We will use Actions and Automate Batch techniques to make this process repetitive and very fast to process. You can see the Actions Panel by accessing the Menu > Window > Actions or by pressing the ALT + F9 short-cut (PC or Mac). The Automate Batch option is found on Menu > File > Automate > Batch.

To start an automation process we need to determine first what are the necessary steps to be followed when processing a single picture. These process will be applied to all our images. And we can do that by analyzing our image requirements. We need to:
- resize / crop the image at 800x600x72 ppi resolution
- convert the picture from CMYK to RGB colour space
- save the image into a JPG format

For this example you can find the source picture here (it is 4288 x 2848 pixels x 300 ppi TIFF image, saved in CMYK colour space).

By analyzing your starting image you will notice that your aspect ration is different than what it is required: 4288 divided by 2848 (pixels) is 1.5 different than 4 divided by 3 which is 1.333. So the source image is a 3:2 aspect ratio, not a 4:3 aspect ratio, it means that your final image will be cropped and some details (the left and / or right of the image) will not be shown.

  1. Lets open our test image in Adobe Photoshop CS6, open the “images to be processed\source” folder, select our first image.
  2. Access the Actions Panel (see above ALT + F9), create a New Actions Set Folder (click the small icon on the bottom of the Actions Panel which looks like a folder icon) and rename it as Automation.Actions Panel
  3. Start recording your actions from now on, by creating a New Action (click the small icon on the bottom of the Actions Panel, which looks like a file icon) and rename it as Image Processing, after that press Record button.
  4. Convert your image from CMYK to RGB colour space by using Menu > Image > Mode > RGB Colour.
  5. Access Image Size information panel by going into Menu > Image > Image Size… (by pressing the keyboard shortcut ALT + CTRL + I on PC or by pressing ALT + COMMAND + I on Mac).
  6. Modify the Resolution number (in Document Size Group, middle) from 300 Pixels / Inch in 72 Pixels / Inch.Image Size Panel
  7. Now the most important setting: in Pixel Dimensions Group (top), find the most closest to your value size and modify it with your required value. In our example, once I have modified the document size resolution in 72 pixels/inch, the width became 1029 pixels and height became 683 pixels. My required picture dimension is 800 x 600 pixels. So I will pick to modify the height which is closer to my 600 pixels value. And the image after resizing will be 903 x 600 pixels on 72 pixels / inch resolution.
  8. We need to crop the width from 903 pixels to 800 pixels, and we can do that by accessing the Canvas Size Panel (Menu > Image > Canvas Size… or by pressing the keyboard shortcut ALT + CTRL + C / ALT + COMMAND + C). The new Width is now 800 pixels and the only things left is to save the image into a JPG format in the “images to be processed/output” folder.Canvas Size Panel
  9. Save the file by using Menu > File > Save as… (SHIFT + CTRL + S or SHIFT + COMMAND + S shortcut) into a JPG file (you can pick your own quality here, depends on your hosting most of the time).
  10. And finally, you can stop recording your actions. Now you have a set of actions ready to be applied to all your images to be processed. Of course, you can add your own tweaks to your image-processing actions, what I have done here is just a demonstration.
  11. . To apply the Automate process is relatively easy. Access the Batch Automate by opening the Menu > File > Automate > Batch dialogue, select the Source Folder (my source folder is “images to be processed\source”) and after, select the Destination Folder (my destination folder is “images to be processed\output”) press OK and watch the magic happen.

With Actions Automation in Adobe Photoshop you can process hundreds of photos in just one minute, the hardest part is to structure your files and organize the Actions so they can be applied to your images. Of course, there are even more tricks that can be applied to make this automation easier, but I believe that is the best way to demonstrate for you to understand how it is done.

Creative Resume for Your Inspiration – Facebook CV Created with Microsoft Word (Free Download)

Creative Resume Facebook CV Built in Microsoft Word

Applying to jobs is a stressful and rather unpleasant period. But who says you cannot have a little fun? If you are a person who applies to creative jobs, there are ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd. To help you out, I want to share this free Facebook resume template with with you, hopefully you will get other ideas or you can use my template to create your own.

Any recruiter will require your Curriculum Vitae to be printable on an A4 paper in a Microsoft Word format (.doc, .docx).
To create a resume which looks and feels like a Facebook profile can be challenging because:
- you need to work with pixels and centimeters, some of you might know, any web page is measured in pixels and your document needs to be printed on an A4 paper format (width: 21 cm x height: 29.7 cm);
- you need to adapt your professional experience to the Timeline (written with a more direct and relaxed language).

Okay, lets get to work

If we are analyzing a Facebook profile page, we notice it is split in 4 columns:

Facebook Profile Explained
  • 1. left side: general information like “About”, “Photos”, “Friends” etc;
  • 2. central side: the Timeline (here are presented in chronological order the lifetime events);
  • 3. right side: advertising area (part where Facebook is displaying ads);
  • 4. the very right side of the web site (Facebook Chat and last minute updates), which is only available on wide screens with large resolution.

Resizing the whole Facebook web site to fit into an A4 paper format will not work: images and especially the fonts will not be easy to look at or to be read. Eventually, the recruiters will get tired to read it and that can be a bad sign for you. So having a pretty resume is not the everything, you need to follow some basic readability rules like: fonts not smaller than 9 points (approximate 12 pixels, depends on browser, font and Operating System) and use only the printable area in the A4 page.

What I have done is just used the left and central side of the Facebook page since the right side is only advertising anyway.

Technical details (what you need to replace on the template)

How to use Format Painter in Microsoft Word

I tried to keep the image dimensions as close as possible to the reality, but some elements had to be resized. What you need to replace in the template is:

  • Cover image: 696 x 317 pixels
  • Profile picture: 163 x 163 pixels;
  • Header picture: 21 x 21 pixels;
  • Main post picture: 40 x 40 pixels;
  • Comment picture: 32 x 32 pixels;
  • Interests / Likes picture: 110 x 165 pixels;
  • Timeline portfolio picture: 420 x 315 pixels (can be any size in height, keep the 420 pixels size width;
  • And of course, the text with your information! Use Format Painter Tool to modify the text with your own.

Note: Dimensions are presented as width x height in points at a resolution of 72 Points Per Inch.
Dimensions of pictures in Facebook CV

Pros

  • A way to differentiate you from the crowd. Your CV is guaranteed to be read;
  • Fun to build it and you will learn a lot about Facebook page elements;
  • 100% compatible with the standards (You are able to include every section of a classic resume: Bio, Work Experience, Education, Interest and On-Field Activities).

Cons

  • If you decide to include a lot of pictures in your Curriculum Vitae (in the Timeline section), the file size can increase quite a lot (most of the recruiting web sites will require a Resume of maximum 1 Megabyte);
  • To customize this CV requires advanced Microsoft Word knowledge and some Adobe Photoshop skills (in the archive which you can download bellow I have included PSD files too, hopefully they can help you further more). Adding more companies in the CV will require some table manipulation, which has to be pixel perfect and that is not so easy to do.

Some things you need to consider

  • Having your resume so different can sometimes become “viral”. This is a bad idea when you are the type of person who likes the privacy or if you are currently employed and looking for another opportunity;
  • You might want to build a classic version of your CV as well, in case the recruiters will request it.

More tips

  • When writing the experience, remember that you have to do it like you are doing it in Facebook’s Timeline, letting your friends know about your lifetime professional events;
  • Be all the time creative but do not fall into ridiculous with the pictures used and information about yourself;
  • Use the left side column of your document to include more information about yourself: interests or skill set (but please keep it relevant: e.g.: you can say you like watching TV shows but do not list every TV show you are watching unless you consider it relevant for the job you apply);
  • Image optimization knowledge is useful: to know when to use PNG, GIF or JPEG format images can keep your Resume at a decent size and quality (as mentioned before, try to keep it under 1 Megabyte);
  • If necessary, change your name font color to black if your cover image is lighter.

Thank you for reading, you can download the CV template by clicking the DOWNLOAD BUTTON and if you liked my article please share it or leave a comment bellow.

Skype Now Free for Group Video Calling

Skype Free with Group Video Calling

Good news everyone – Skype Group Video Calling is now free! This is the second big news from Microsoft that I hear lately, the first one being that Microsoft Windows is free for Smart Phones and Tablets under 9 inch. Looks like the giant corporation is now adopting a friendly policy in the effort to compete better with Google – with this measure is competing directly with Google Hangout.

Features offered

  • Talk with up to 10 people (although 5 is the recommended number of persons);
  • Screen sharing;
  • Available for Windows Desktop, Mac and Xbox One platforms (no mobile devices yet).

Being far away from my family, I use Skype a lot, so on my behalf: Thank You Microsoft! :)

The Must-Haves Elements in a Product Page in an E-Commerce Web Site

The must haves elements in a product page in an E-Commerce web site

I hope this article will help people that are thinking of starting an e-commerce web site. It is very important to begin with a good basic product structure. Even though these elements can be easily identified by analysing a popular e-commerce web site, I think it is better if you have them structured in one place. Also, I will comment a bit about the importance of each element (from SEO and Usability point of view). Click the picture above to see a graphic structure.

Product Title

Usually reflects the official name of the product. However, for a better understanding, you can include more elements here.

Composed from: [Brand name] + Product name + [Code] + [Attribute] + [Collection] + Category name

  • [Brand name] – Can be omitted if you are selling one brand or if you do not want to disclose manufacturer’s name;
  • [Code] – Product’s unique identifier (like SKU). More details below;
  • [Attribute] – An identifier which helps the user to identify user’s needs. If it is a clothing product for example, attribute can be the genre or colour: “Men’s Running Shoes” / “Red Dress”;
  • [Collection] – Optional attribute, present for items belonging to collections;
  • Category name – Like the attribute, adding category’s name in product’s title will help the user to understand if this product is what is he looking for. Also, useful for SEO.

Usability: The customer will understand from the beginning if he is on the right page.
SEO: You are building a powerful long-tail expression.

Tip: In an e-commerce web site, most of the URLs are built using the Product Title

Model identifier

Unique code used in your web site to identify the product. Can be the SKU (stock-keeping unit) code.

Usability: In case of phone orders, this is the quickest way to identify a product.
SEO: By adding manufacturer’s SKU, the Search Engine will identify your product and will be easier for data consolidation.

Breadcrumb

Path used for user’s navigation. Like in Hansel and Gretel’s story by Brothers Grimm, you can trace your way back home.

Usability: Reconstructing user’s path while browsing your web site. In case of landing on a product’s page from another web site, you will be suggested a default breadcrumb (home page > category 1 > category 2 > product).
SEO: Developing a good path can also be useful for Search Engine Crawlers to understand your web site’s tree structure.

Manufacturer / Brand

Link where you can browse all products from the same manufacturer.

Usability: Some people (including myself) have favourite brands. This will help in cross-selling various items.
SEO: By adding this field to your product’s details you will make things easy to crawl and consolidate.

Description

Details used to describe all product’s features. Can be split in two: short description (used for listing the basic details) and long description (here you can write everything about the product, use it to convince the customer to buy it).

Usability: Like described above, customer will have all details listed here.
SEO: By doing a keyword research and after a good copywriting, with the description you can generate on-target relevant content, which will help you rank higher in SERP.

Images / Video

Product’s photos and videos. Better if present with captions and in hi-resolution.

Usability: A picture is worth a thousand words. Until you see it, you won’t buy it, right? By adding images of your product, even pictures for additional finishes, variants or close-ups, you can convince further more the customer to make up his mind. A short video demo can improve a lot the conversion as well.
SEO: Especially good for Image Search. For popular searches, SERP will include results from Images.

Shipping and availability information

Another factor that can be decisive for buying on-line. It is important to let customers know long will take until the product will arrive or how much they will be charged for transportation.

Usability: A factor in greater conversions.
SEO: With the introduction of Microdata, the Search Engine will offer this information directly to the end customer.

Price

Maybe the most important factor of all, here you can include information about RRP (Recommended Retail Price), VAT, Sale etc..

Usability: By displaying price and availability information you show transparency towards the customer.
SEO: With the introduction of structured data / product schema / rich snippets, this field became very important cu SEO. Your products will convert more likely in SERP.

Buy / Add to cart / Add to favourites / Add to wish-list

This button provides great utility. You can place your order via phone or by visiting the physical store if any, but this is not how e-commerce is suppose to work.

Usability: The core button of e-commerce. Enough said.
SEO: No importance.

Other important entities

Social media sharing, product reviews, stock, cross-selling products, awards and certifications, warranty, FAQ, returns etc..

Five Free Applications That Every PC User Should Use

Please note that this article was written on April 2014 and it will not be updated on a regular basis. These applications are free to use for home users. Please check the web site for licenses if you want to use them at work.

Notepad++ (notepad-plus-plus.org)

Notepad++ logoAn improved copy of the classic Windows’s Notepad. Why do we want to use that? For a lot of things like: spell check, character count, auto-completion etc..

This should be the primary tool of any web programmer, and not only that, has support for a lot of programming languages. And if that doesn’t work, then you can define your own set of rules while writing code. And if you will configure it, this app will have automatic back-up like Microsoft Word.

Compatibility (according to Notepad++ manufacturer): Works only Microsoft Windows (all versions) environment. Sorry Mac users, you are missing a great application!

Meisio’s Rating:
Stability: 5/5
Usage for common users: 3/5 (occasional use)
Usage for professionals: 5/5 (daily use, I am writing my article with Notepad++)
 

Faststone Image Viewer (faststone.org)

FastStone Image Viewer logoEveryone uses an Image Viewer, right? You will want to use Faststone because it has support for all major graphic formats used. And you can resize / resample, rotate / flip, crop, sharpen / blur, adjust lighting / colors / curves / levels and many many other things you can do with images :) I am using it for batch processing: changing resolution, renaming files, adding a fixed size to all images. Sometimes I prefer Faststone instead of a graphic editor because it is faster to operate.

Compatibility (according to Faststone Image Viewer manufacturer): Microsoft Windows (all versions).

Meisio’s Rating:
Stability: 4/5
Usage for common users: 5/5 (daily use)
Usage for professionals: 4/5 (daily use)
 

Jing (techsmith.com/jing.html)

Techsmith Jing logoThis application saves a lot of time and it is easy to use. You can capture your screen and make your own video demo in a matter of seconds. You will get a flash file which you can share quick and easy with ScreenCast.

Compatibility (according to Jing’s manufacturer): Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8) and Mac (OS X 10.6.8 or later)

Meisio’s Rating:
Stability: 4/5
Usage for common users: 3/5 (occasional use)
Usage for professionals: 3/5 (occasional use)
 

TeamViewer (teamviewer.com)

TeamViewer logoTalking about life saving applications, TeamViewer saved me a lot of times. I am using it in personal purposes, to assist my family and my friends with small computer issues (Yes, my mother is one of those persons that owns a computer and often gets in trouble). But this application can do so much more, it is very useful for professional users to remote control other computers or for on-line meetings and presentations.

Compatibility (according to TeamViewer manufacturer): Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile (Android and iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch))

Meisio’s Rating:
Stability: 4/5
Usage for common users: 2/5 (occasional use)
Usage for professionals: 5/5 (daily use)
 

Dropbox (dropbox.com)

Dropbox logo This application is already well known by a lot of people. With Dropbox you can back-up, share, sync your files in cloud (2 GB). This application provides a lot of utility and you can get even more free space until 16 GB if you refer it to your friends. And it is totally secured!

Compatibility (according to Dropbox manufacturer): Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and mobile (Blackberry, Android, iOS and Windows Phone)

Meisio’s Rating:
Stability: 4/5
Usage for common users: 3/5 (occasional use)
Usage for professionals: 5/5 (daily use)
 

Bonus application: Prey Project (preyproject.com)

Prey Project logoThis anti-theft application is useful especially for laptops or mobile devices (phone, tablet etc.). Can help you recover the data from it or you can play with the thief’s mind, I will let you discover for your own the features :). Better safe than sorry, right? Get it while it’s hot!

Compatibility (according to Prey manufacturer): Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Ubuntu and mobile (Android and iOS)

You are welcome!