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what's the best size for screensavers?


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starchild's Avatar
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15-Jun-2004, 01:57 PM #1
what's the best size for screensavers?
I'm making screensavers, and trying different size pictures- resolution and it all basically looks the same.

The pictures come from my camera at 144 resolution, but seems like I've seen that the average monitor only shows 72. So, having them higher would be a waste and just make the files larger?

Someone else once told me to use 800x600 pixel size.

if I set them as "enlarge picture to full screen" they seem to look alike, anyway.

But, one way might be a smaller file and faster opening, etc?

I thought maybe I could get some facts for sure about it.

Thanks,

Carrie
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15-Jun-2004, 05:51 PM #2
I think the 144 and 72 resolution you are referring to is DPI(dots per inch) which is print resolution and isn't relative to what you are trying to accomplish.
You want to focus on proper PPI(pixels per inch)which represents screen resolution. Quote from the link I am about to provide you:
"PPI is a function of your monitor. A pixel or "picture element" is a specific x,y coordinate (dot) on your screen. A high-resolution setting displays more pixels per inch. In practical terms, the same picture on a low resolution monitor looks larger than it does on a higher resolution monitor because the pixels are spread out over a larger area."

So in part it largely has to do with the quality of your monitor and your display settings. I have a 15" LCD monitor and have my display set at 1024x768. If you reduce the file size of the image to save space or in an attempt to have it open faster then you may notice a significant drop in image quality or "pixalation" when you try to view it full screen.
Also, I know that in W98 in display properties you can adjust background images between center, tile and stretch. The stretch setting will fill your screen with your background image.

You will find the article I quoted from here
I quoted from page 3 but you will find some very helpful and useful info to give you a better understanding of what you are experiancing if you read the entire article.

Hope that helps some

jjb
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20-Jun-2004, 05:07 AM #3
JJB is right, it all depends on the setting you chose for your screen resolution.

You can view your own screen's resolution by going to Start ==> Control Panel ==> Display ==> Settings

Typically, different users will use different resolutions, depending on the quality of their video card and screen. The most widely used resolutions today are 800 X 600, 1024 X 768 and 1280 X 1024, but other settings are possible.

You could make one wallpaper at a low resolution (800 X 600), and have the user "stretch" this to full screen, but this would result in a loss of quality in the higher resolutions.

Ideally, you should make a seperate wallpaper for the most common resolutions, and let your users choose which one to download.

Have a look at this Porsche website, they offer their wallpaper in 4 resolutions.
http://www.porsche.be/isapi/entertai...op/default.asp
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20-Jun-2004, 08:33 AM #4
I'm talking about screensavers, not wallpaper (background that doesn't change)

I've seen some (for sale on a cd) that have "hundreds of pictures" (that change). I don't know what the size of the file is. I'm trying to find an average size, maybe 20 pictures and not too huge a size.

I downloaded a small program to resize a whole file at once and making screensavers from this, and checking the size and quality.

The screensaver maker program I have has an option to "stretch to fit the screen" or not. With my screen size (15") there doesn't seem to be any difference.

I made a screensaver with the pictures 8" wide and 144 resolution and it was over 6 MB in size.

I made it again after changing them all to 800X600 pixels and it's 4 something MB.

I know the pictures can be compressed in a way, too. I want to find a good (average) size, that anyone could use. If I offer one for download or send them to my family on a cd, etc. At some point I'd like to sell them, but don't know how well this works. I looked on Amazon and they had them for $29 (don't know how many get sold) and on ebay, there were hundreds (none of them looked homemade) for $5-$15. Professionally packages with a lot on them.

Right now I'm doing it because it's create and I enjoy doing it and learning. I'm trying to figure out the right size, and best way to put "text" on them, also. My idea is to have beautiful pictures and scenery (I live in a scenic area) with affirmations of some kind on each picture. My screensaver program will add text, but only a certain amount in one line. So, I'm into PSP and adding text TO each picture first. Trying to see what looks best, right on the picture, or on the side, or in a text box (or maybe a box on the picture that's faded somewhat to have the text on).

If nothing else I'm learning a lot about it. I admit I don't really know or understand resolution and pixels all that much.

I now am clear that resulution is for printing, and pixels are what to look for, in having a picture on the web? So, 800x600 would be best for putting images on webpages, also?

I've been setting them at 72 resolution and 6 or 8" wide (because this works best, by trial and error) BUT I think this also comes out to 800x600 pixels at the same time.

Sometimes I feel like a sponge, there's so much I'm learning and still want to.

I've looked for info about making (and selling) screensavers. There's little to be found. I bought a downloaded book about this that was so bad (lacking in real info) I took advantage of their money back guarantee (they refunded my money)

I think there might also be the idea of making screensavers for people with business or websites (using their images, products, logo, etc) and charging them for this- they could then offer as a free download from their site?

I don't think there are many free screensavers that DON'T include hidden ads and spyware and I wouldn't want to be involved in that.

Right now it's something to learn (and learn from) and use up all the digital pictures I take. Takes up my mind.

Thanks!

~ Carrie
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20-Jun-2004, 12:50 PM #5
I don't know anything about selling screensavers commercially. Can't help you with that.

Regarding the technical side: there really isn't much difference between a wallpaper and a screensaver picture. Each one uses the same resolution for the screen.

The DPI or dots per inch really don't come into play when you're developing for a computer screen.

DPI is used in the print world, when your end result will be on paper. 300 dpi means that the printer will print 300 individual colored points per inch. Likewise, 1200 dpi means 1200 different colored point per inch. Obviously, the 1200 dpi image will be much more detailed, much sharper and of a higher quality than the 300 dpi image.

When we're talking computer screen, forget about the dpi and measuring your picture in inches. Just look at the resolution of your picture, set your drawing program to use "pixels" instead of inches as your preferred measurement unit.

When you start of with an 800 X 600 picture, and stretch it to lets say 1600 X 1200, the quality of the picture will decrease. You will notice that the picture becomes more blocky.

As for filesize: some graphic formats such as JPEG have a quality setting. You can either choose to have a small, low quality file or a large, high quality file. It's up to you to determine what's more important : high quality or small size. Websites often choose small size, because it makes for faster download times.

Anyway, I can understand that this is all very overwhelming at first. Have a look at these articles below, they explain about graphic formats and screensavers is a simple language.

Digital Pictures:
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question289.htm

How Screensavers Work
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/screensaver.htm
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20-Jun-2004, 03:09 PM #6
thanks for the info and links. It would probably help if I knew more about the basics

My screensaver program has a setting to check (or not) to "stretch the picture to fit the screen". I should probably leave that unchecked so if someone has a bigger screen (or higher setting) it won't distort it.

And make them 800x600 pixels.

My camera has 4 settings, with 4 being highest, and I've been using 2. Setting 1 takes 90 pictures and says they are good quality for the web, but I suppose not for printing. Since I'm not going to be printing them, maybe I should be using that one to start.

Even if I never actually do anything (commercially) with screen savers, I'm learning from it.

~ Carrie
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21-Jun-2004, 03:48 PM #7
If you're serious about making a screensaver, what you need to get is a photo editing program. There are lots of them on the market, Personnally, I use Adobe Photoshop, but it's quite expensive (+/- 900$ in europe) and has a steep learning curve. Here's some alternatives:

Free : http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/ima...eephotoedw.htm
Budget : http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/ima...etphotoedw.htm
Beginners : http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/ima...inphotoedw.htm
Advanced : http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/ima...dvphotoedw.htm

When you get your picture in the photo editor, you can start experimenting. Open a picture from camera and check the resolution. Take the same picture in quality 1, 2, 3 and 4 and compare. Is the resolution different ? Or is the compression ratio different?

Resize a 800 X 600 picture to a higher resolution, and look at the effect. Have fun !
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21-Jun-2004, 06:19 PM #8
That's sort of what I've been doing now. Experimenting with it and the size of the final file.

I just made one of close-up pictures of flowers (from outside around the house)and used 800x600 and didn't check "stetch picture to fit screen". I think I had one picture smaller (without realizing it) because it came out with a boarder around it, instead.

I'm trying to get a generic size and settings, so if I ever do make them to sell they'll work with any screen size. If I set it to stretch to fit the screen size and someone has a huge monitor, it might distort it. I also don't want to get into having to do something too complicated with each picture. (right now I'm experimenting with putting text on the picture, like affirmations and quotes. The screensaver program will do this, but online in a sigle line across so I'm doingit in Paint Shop pro) PSP also has an option for compressing the JPGs. I never did anything with this before this.

The ones I've seen for sale don't seem to be different ones for different screen settings and sizes.

I like to use what I'm interested in doing to learn all I can at the same time

~ Carrie
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21-Jun-2004, 07:06 PM #9
Just a couple quick comments.
First, on your camera settings. General rule of thumb is never sacrifice image quality for quantity. You may get more pictures at your #2 setting but you are getting half the performance your camera is capable of. Memory is cheap, but you can't replace lost image quality. You paid for the higher megapixel settings on your camera, why not use them. I have a 4 MP and on its highest setting can fit just over 200 images on a 256mb card. I picked the 256mb up for like $49 USD after rebate. You didn't say how many megapixels your camera was, I will use 4mp as an example, you have 4 settings so each would approximate at 1 mp increments, so at 2 you are shooting about 2 megapixels. From everything I have read 2 megapixels is the minimum that is recommended for even purchasing a digital these days. So if your camera is less then 4 mp you are most likely shooting your pics at less then 2 mp and the minimum recommendation.

As far as PSP having the option of compressing jpg/jpegs, that is a common characteristic of any program that deals with jpegs. It may be more apparent or user friendly in some programs then others, but I am not even sure if a jpeg can be sent or saved without some compression. JPG/JPEGs are what is called a "lossy" file format. Every time a jpeg is saved some of the data is randomly lost. In other words, if you send me a jpeg file and then I save it to my hard drive, some of what you sent is lost. I send it on and the next person saves it more is lost, and so on and so on..........................dunno how many times this has to happen before it becomes noticable, suppose that depends on how much it is compressed each time.

Anywhoooooooooo............................go get yerself more memory

jjb
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22-Jun-2004, 02:18 PM #10
JJB, I agree with you on the memory issue if you're talking pictures that will end eventually end up on paper.

On a computer screen, the situation is different. If you need and image of 800 X 600, it will use 800 X 600 = 480.000 pixels = 1/2 megapixel. If you put your camera in 4 megapixel mode, you will roughly end up with a 2400 X 1600 picture (2400 X 1600 = 3.840.000 or 3.8 megapixel). No one will be able to display a 2400 X 1600 picture on the screen, so the photo editing or photo viewer software will have to reduce the size of your picture to a lower resolution anyway.
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