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 Post subject: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:26 am 
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When I wrote this post on the F-Skewb thread, I started a little bit of research concerning a certain problem I had for some time. I want to share my findings with everybody who might be interested.

Sometimes I like if my pictures melt with the background of my post.
(An idea that I picked up from TomZ some time ago).
So I spend quite often the effort to remove the original, usually white background.
As you are aware, the TP background of posts alternates between white and light grey.

I use Picasa/Google for uploading my pictures. In cases where my post is going to be on TP grey, I make a grey background using Photoshop and picking up the grey background of a TP page.

Here is an example with grey background:

Image


This picture would melt completely with the TP grey as I'm going to show in a second post below.
Problems started when Picasa/Google inroduced an "Auto Enhance" feature roughly a year ago.

After introducing this feature, a white background became light grey and a TP grey became darker grey.
In this picture the background in original upload photo was flawless white:

Image

(I used a different Picasa, non Google+ account to show this effect.)

As you can see the optimization by Google made the background a very light grey.


Earlier, I did not have this problem. White was white and my grey didn't become darker.

It could be considered a bug, but it is called "auto enhance" as I have read here:
https://productforums.google.com/forum/ ... TDYXRTdk6E

I found lengthy discussions on a Google forum where many people were annoyed by this unexpected "Auto Enhance". It seems that you have to switch to Google + (at least temporarily) to get a choice to turn off this function :( :( :(

I turned off optimization in Google + and now the picture background is white:

Image

Originally, I wrote about this problem in the F-Skewb thread and I got a nice PM from Justin (he allowed me to quote him):
Justin wrote:
Subject: F-Skewb being produced?

Konrad wrote:
Here is a technical question (I do not want to derail the topic, but I can demonstrate the problem here very well):
I use Picasa for uploading my pictures. I made a grey background using Photoshop and picking up the grey background of a TP page.
As you can see above (EDIT3: not any longer, because I corrected it; see comments below), the background is a bit darker than it should be. (I would like the pictures melting with the TP background)

If the image background is made transparent, the colour of the forum tile becomes irrelevant. I use Paint Shop Pro but this should work similarly on other programs:

'Magic wand' the picture, then: File> Export> PNG Optimizer

Select these transparency options:

Image

>OK >Save> Choose location

Example image with transparent background:

Image

Direct link to image if you want to copy it to try on a grey TP background:

http://s338.photobucket.com/user/justin ... t.png.html

Btw, I'm using the Chrome browser and assume other browsers can handle transparency alright.
I knew about the transparency feature in .png pictures before, but Picasa creates automatically .jpg files when uploading them.
The nice thing with Justin's proposal is that the transparent background is working on TP white or grey.
Here is the very same image using the identical link
Code:
[img]http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n430/justineplett/BackgroundTest.png~original[/img]
on white TP background:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:28 am 
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Identical picture as the first photo above on TP grey background

....Here is an example with grey background:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:39 am 
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Location: Bay Area, California
Hi Konrad, why don't you just use PNG images and use an alpha channel instead of trying to match the background? For example I edited your image so that it will work on either white or light grey:

Image

Don't let the slightly rougher edges in my version compared to yours bug you though, they're rougher because I used your version which already had the grey blended in. You would not run into this issue if you used a transparant background after editing the original out.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:45 am 
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When you include photos like this, without being attachments, doesn't a 3rd party website hold the photos? I prefer to upload the photos to TP directly and then all the photos are stored in the one server, and they might not become disassociated accidentally in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:49 am 
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Burgo wrote:
When you include photos like this, without being attachments, doesn't a 3rd party website hold the photos? I prefer to upload the photos to TP directly and then all the photos are stored in the one server, and they might not become disassociated accidentally in the future.

Yes you're right and yes I agree with you a whole bunch. It's really too bad PHPBB doesn't provide a facility for seamlessly embedding a photo into a post as an attachment rather than the [ img ] markup tag.

I use attachments wherever possible because I don't like crucial data that belongs together to live in two separate places.

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:50 am 
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Hi Brandon, it was a long post and you didn't read everything, of course :wink:

I knew about the transparency option before. Thanks for the hint anyway.

The problem is again Picasa/Google that doesn't support .png correctly (png gets transformed to jpeg automatically, transparent becomes black!)

I might get an account at Photobucket, though.

I'm a bit hesitant, because I have seen broken picture links in older TP posts. I concluded that the service provider went out of business and I don't think that this will happen to Google very soon :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:54 am 
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Burgo wrote:
When you include photos like this, without being attachments, doesn't a 3rd party website hold the photos? I prefer to upload the photos to TP directly and then all the photos are stored in the one server, and they might not become disassociated accidentally in the future.
Brandon has replied already.
Why should I bother about "melting the picture with the background" at all, when I get a clear boarder line around the attached picture?

Picasa gives me the nice opportunity to size my pictures easily and to make them clickable for better resolution.
Here is a grey attachment:

Attachment:
14-07-15-524-3grey.jpg
14-07-15-524-3grey.jpg [ 1.73 MiB | Viewed 138 times ]

No melting and I would like that picture bigger without clicking!

Here is an attachment with transparent background:
Attachment:
14-07-15-524-3-transparent.png
14-07-15-524-3-transparent.png [ 6.95 MiB | Viewed 131 times ]

Melting, but too small and the box around it displeases me.
The size of the png file is much larger.
If you click onto it, you'll get a black background first and afterwards a light grey - at least in Internet Explorer V11.

And: I could not place a few small images in one line.

I find my original F-Skewb post much more aesthetic using my linking technique.

I use Picasa/Google for a lot of purposes - besides puzzles - as well. Many TP pictures I have uploaded already and can link to them directly without uploading again.

As I said, I do not suspect that Google will go out of business so soon. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:56 am 
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Maybe I am missing the obvious, but when I edit my photos I use Gimp, it is free and provides transparency as well (not that I ever use it though), after which things are uploaded to TP.


Konrad: the person who posted the photo may have simply deleted their account as well, which is what happens most of the time. Also a lot of free accounts can be subject to random deletion of files to free up space. Imageshack is one of those that does this: "Images in free accounts and subscribers who have who cancelled their subscriptions can be removed by ImageShack to free up resources, to prevent abuse or unauthorized use of ImageShack service."

It's most of the time not because the host went out of business :)

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 Post subject: Re: Editing background of photos
PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:09 am 
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Kattenvriendin wrote:
Maybe I am missing the obvious, but when I edit my photos I use Gimp, it is free and provides transparency as well (not that I ever use it though), after which things are uploaded to TP.
...
As I said, I knew about the transparency option (actually I do all my Museum Editing for Andreas using transparent background. It is easy to handle in Photoshop), but Picasa does not upload png!!!

You are probably right, that broken links are caused by the subscribers to some service.

BTW, when I started this topic, I didn't have a problem anymore, I just wanted to share my experience.
Thanks anyway to all coontributors who were trying to help me. :)

I understand that using attachments has its benefits, but it has essential drawbacks as well.

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