Your imagination and just a little planning is all that’s required. My wife Barbara came into my office. At the time I had several images displayed on my computer screen, doing a contrast and compare. I was attempting to select which image(s) of the apple blossom set, to show on As I Found It.
“I like this part, of this one,” she said.
“I think that would look great handing over my piano. Make it 24 X 8″ (3 : 1),” she called from the next room.
I mumbled something about all the other images I had and why wouldn’t one of them do. Okay, I am a man, I just don’t understand these things. I do claim to identify creativity when I see it. Barbara examined all my offerings, rejecting the Apple flowers in favor of the Crabapple.
She looked carefully at all 21 of the Crab images and said, “No, I like this part of this one, just the flowers, no sky and no background.”
Crabapple14 (the master or starting image)
Barbara had a vision of what she wanted. It was not planned so much as insipid, i.e. creativity. Sure she already knew she wanted something hanging over the piano. She had no preconceived idea what that was. When she saw the Crabapple images she knew how to make that vision into a reality. I saved a copy of the image in question and went to work cropping it to her specifications, I thought anyway. That result is image Crabapple22. I was quite pleased with myself, that is why it is part of that gallery today. (24 X 11.5”)
Crabapple22 (my take on the subject)
If you have a hard copy of the full image, the larger the better, then you can take two “L” shaped pieces of mat board, a couple of rulers or straight edges, anything like that and slide or position them, to frame the desired part of the image. Since I was working on a very large computer display (30”), I reduced the image to fit the full screen and using the crop tool, that comes with the image display software, began moving the lines until she was satisfied. Commanded a crop or trim and behold, what I thought was a finished product. That result is called the intermediate crop (shown above) or Crabapple22 in my gallery. Note: standard sizes do exist, frames and precut mates come that way. If you plan on using the resulting image in a standard format you will want to keep this in mind.
Now you will notice the aspect ratio, i.e. the ratio of the length to the width, is now just under 2.1 : 1 and as I understood, requested. Sometimes men don’t listen carefully to their wives.
“No, no, no, not what I want.,” she said.
I copied Crabapple22 and cropped again, to the physical size she required. That result was acceptable and is Crabapple23. The ratio works out to 3 : 1. Barbara was not concerned with things like standard ratios or purchased frames and mats. She had a specific space that need filling and a presentation technique in mind that is independent of standard purchased frames and mats. More on that below.
Crabapple23 (final selection)
Lesson learned. My taste is not everyone else’s. I am not sure it should be either. You can do exactly what Barbara did. Select some portion of any image found here at As I Found It or any worthy image you may have, and make it fit your artistic vision or as in Barbara’s case, the physical space available. Even if you are not skilled at the computer, it is still possible. Just take the image file to your local image processor, camera shop or sometimes framing shop and ask them to print out only the portion you require.
Your images can be saved to a memory stick, pocket drive or for some service providers, emailed. Remember two important things. 1. Always work from a copy or duplicate (saved at 100%) of the original file. 2. If a small portion of the image is to be greatly enlarged, start with one of the larger file sizes. It is always better to shrink things then make them bigger. Images 22 and 23 started their life at full resolution, file size ± 4 mb after compression. (JPG images are always stored in compressed form.)
Barbara’s idea was to have the print laminated, flush to the edges, onto a plaque (wooden) background. I followed my own advice and took my file, on a memory stick, to my local image reproduction shop. They have the high resolution plotters and high quality paper one needs for these things. They printed a test strip and when I approved it, printed my 24” X 8” image. Now this could take a couple of days. She was delighted with the results and wound up choosing a plaque with white edges.
I of course made the mistake of accompanying her to select the mount. I knew better, experience counts for something, not to do this on my own; except for my office, my turf as it is. Selecting frames or mounts for works of art is always problematic, when more then one aesthetic vision is involved. It is like selecting wall paper or paint color. No man in is right mind accompanies his female partner to do more then approve the material quality or express utter revolution at the shades of or patterns, being considered. My advice men, do this and get the hell out side or depending on the store, find a sudden necessity to inspect the fishing lures.
This is an image of the result. I like it. Barbara did well here and she is quite satisfied. It fits her vision and that is ultimately what is most important. My liking it is only a bones.
It is obvious from the above photo that Barbara had more room to work with then she thought or estimated. When in the least bit of doubt or when working in tight spaces, it is always best to cut a piece of paper or cardboard and see exactly how it fits. My original size of 24 X 11.5 would have worked here just a well as 24 X 8 perhaps even better. That is one of those matter of taste, so no real rules apply. That is not to say the interior decorator crowd would agree with me. Given the length of a standard piano, the image could easily have been 36” long. Again a matter of taste or vision. Still it is better to be smaller than to large.
Not every image can be cropped like Crabapple14. Some judgment on your part is critical here. Most image processing software, even the most basic programs, allow the inexperienced to do basic things to images. The important thing is to experiment. That is why you always work with a copy or duplicate of the original. Just try it and if you like the result great. If you don’t, don’t save it. Bits and bites are cheep and completely recyclable.
I have a large variety of professional level image software but I also have a number of basic programs, e.g. iphoto and a couple of shareware programs. Several of the programs came with my cameras and they are quite good for the price. You don’t need the professional level programs I used to crop the image above, as I did. Had I not already been working with one of them I would have used iphoto. Simple tasks like cropping, requires only simple tools, often a pair of sizers.
Approximate Cost: 24” X 8” plotter print on glossy paper: $ 22 CDN
Plaque Mount: $ 40 CDN
Depending on the cost of the image, if any, something like this example can be done for under $100. It can be done at even less cost if the mount is less expensive or already in hand. (Most large images are priced by the square foot. I just had a 24 X 22” print made from another of my images, its cost was $50 CDN.)
The Plaque mount is more expensive then some other mounting options. Custom framing is often more expensive them plaques, however standard frames with or without pre-cut mats are likely to be less expensive. A smaller print size would have been cheeper too and requires a less expensive plaque or frame.
I know how we operate in the Nikols household. You will probably be different but for what it is worth. Most of the art on my walls is original work from living or recently dead artists. (They were alive when purchased.) Some of it is even my stuff. Most cost several hundreds or more. My stuff can be expensive once it is custom framed. With few exceptions most of that art has been on the walls for many years. If you amortize the cost over the number of years enjoyment, even works costing several thousand dollars become relatively inexpensive.