Monday, March 12, 2012

Digital Supply Organization - Step 1 - Get digital images

In part 1 of this series, I'll share how I got digital images for my organizational system.  Last week, I shared how I'm organizing my stamps with a paper system, and why I'm going digital.

Method 1: Scan it

If you have a paper image sheet of the stamps or supplies you want to categorize, use a scanner to scan the images. If you don't have a scanner, or are unfamiliar with its settings, this is the time to learn!  Here are a few scanning tips:
  • PNG images are generally smaller in file size, and better for web applications
  • JPG are also small in size, but PNGs are preferred for image quality these days.  Every time you save a JPG, some image loss occurs, so minimize re-saving these images.
  • TIFF images are the highest quality, but also take up the most space.
  • To get high quality images, set the scanner resolution to 300dpi.  You can print these images later if you need.
  • If you're concerned about file size, 200dpi will get you very nice quality images while reducing the file size.
My Club Scrap index sheets back to 2004 were on paper, so scanning them was really the only option. A sheet feeder on my scanner (and a patient husband!) helped this process go more smoothly.

Method 2: Save it

Most craft manufacturers have great web pages these days. Navigate to their web page, and find the supply you're interested in cataloging. 

Web page image

If the photo is on a web page, "right click" on it and select "Save Image As...".  Give the file a name, and pick a location. I show below how I'm saving an image from my blog.  The screen shot is from Safari, but this option is available in any browser - the menu might look different for every browser.

PDF Catalog

Many manufacturers have great PDF catalog with wonderful images, and samples of how to use their supplies.  If you also want to capture some of that information, find the PDF catalog.

On a Mac?

  1. Open the catalog in Preview (included on every Mac) to the page you want to capture
  2. Select File...Save As...
  3. On the pop-up menu, select the format you would like for your image (I'm choosing JPG)

Finally, select the resolution, file name, and file location.

On a PC?

  • If you own Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not the free one) you can also "Save As..." a JPG (in version X) or "Export" to an image (in version 9)
  • Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and many other graphics programs can open PDF files. You can then edit your images as desired.
  • If you aren't concerned about image quality, you can take a screenshot of the page and save it in Paint.

Method #3: Take a picture

If all else fails, or you want to catalog three-dimenstional objects that won't scan well (like beads), use your digital camera to take a picture of the item.

After you have the images

Rename the images.

The scanner gave all of the files digital names.  These aren't very searchable.  I wanted to be able to search by company, date (for Club Scrap kits), or name.  On my mac, I renamed each file to contain:
  • Company name (CS = Club Scrap, HA = Hero Arts, SU! = Stampin' Up etc.)
  • Kit or stamp name
  • Date for kits
  • Type of stamp (Club Scrap has Borders and Backgrounds, Font Art, JR images, etc. in each month).  The screenshot below shows some of my Club Scrap image sheets.

Back them up.

After you've done all this work, you don't want to worry about losing them. For a project like this, I like to use Dropbox (join through this link and we'll both get extra storage space - free!).  With Dropbox, my files are:
  • Backed up - stop worrying about losing them!
  • Accessible anywhere - look at your images on a computer, iPad, or other device with Dropbox installed
As a caveat, the copyright policies of some PDF files may prevent you from exporting images in the ways I've described.  Additionally, some companies might argue that their copyright policies do not allow you to copy any images. In my reading of copyright law, I believe that the personal reproduction of these images for your own personal use is fair use, and perfectly acceptable.  Do not, however, try to sell any of these images or use them in ways that aren't generally considered fair use.

Next week, I'll share some ideas about categorizing my images now that I have them.  A little thought here will really help as you move toward a tool that allows you to search and store your images.

Do you have any tips to share or questions?  Let me know by leaving a comment!  If you liked this post, share it with your friends, too.  I think we could all be a little more organized.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...