Resizing a Photo to Reduce File Size:

There will be file size limitations when submitting digital portfolios. It is important that you not submit images that go over the requested size or that are drastically under the file size limit. Paying attention to small details like file sizes will demonstrate to the admissions board that you possess a sense of professionalism they are looking for.

Knowing Your File Size:

First you want to determine the size of the file. This can be done by opening the finder or search window and checking the properties.

In Photoshop you can check the rough file size by saving the image.
Here’s how:

Go to “save as” and change the format to jpg, click “save”, in ‘JPEG Options’ window look below the “Cancel” button, here you will see a preview options button. Ensure that the preview option is check on. Below you will see a number indicating the rough final file size. Remember how to access this number we’ll be referring back to it frequently, let’s call this ‘the final .jpg size’.

Note that by changing the ‘quality’ slider in the ‘JPEG Options’ window, the final file size will go down the closer the slider approaches 1 (low quality). Never reduce file size by saving an image at a ‘lower quality’ setting, this results in massive amounts of lost information- colour range, amount of colours and pixel sharpness.

Changing Your File Size:

We will use an example to illustrate this process. We are starting with am image that is 7.1 M. The school guidelines ask for images to be under 2.0 M. Therefore we must reduce the file size by 5.1 M. We begin by opening up the image in Photoshop. Then we go to “image”, click “image size”, making the window labeled ‘Image Size’ appear. Next we make sure the ‘constrain proportions’ button is clicked on. We’re going to resize the file by changing the dimensions not the quality. The pixel dimensions of our image are 3504 wide and 2336 high. A word of warning: this process will take some trial and error. Into the pixel width field we type a new number of 2200. This is a random number and at the moment there is no way to judge what the final file size is until it is saved and verified. Because constrain proportions is clicked on all the other numbers on the page also change to keep the image in it’s proper aspect ratio. Our document is now 2200 pixel in width and 1467 pixel in height.

Now we click “ok” and go through the saving process mentioned above to verify the change in size. It indicates the new final .jpg size is 2.9M. Not quite the 2.0M we wanted to compress the image down to so we don’t save the file.

So after this set, unfortunately, you have to start over. Do this by undoing the last action. Go to “edit”, click “step backward”, or “undo”. Alternatively you can also undo the action through the history menu. It is important to undo the action rather than just continuing to fiddle with the dimensions. If you curious to know why this is important, try changing the pixel width to 100 pixels, clicking “ok”, then changing the pixel width to 2000 pixels. Observe the blurry image.

Now that we’re back at square one, knowing that the pixel width dimension must be smaller than 2200, we can go back to the “image size” pop-up menu and change the pixel width field to 1800, making the final .jpg file size exactly 2.0M.

Now we can save that image into its appropriate folder with the appropriate name format the school requests. Never save over the original image, or the file that was created in the ‘school portfolio’ folder.

It is always in your best interest to verify the file size once more (I know this seems repetitive) by opening the finder or search window and checking the properties of the file. Why is this important? Because when looking at our file with this method it indicates that the file is actually 2.2M not the 2.0M Photoshop had displayed. Which means we have to, once again, play with the pixel width. However, with a small adjustment we end up with a file that is 1700 pixels wide and 1.8M in size, which displays properly outside of Photoshop. Although this process takes some time it will ensure that you send files that are properly formatted and that have not lost any content in the file reduction process.

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