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Maintaining resolution in photo montage

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I have been given a number of excellent .jpg images with which to create a photo montage. The original images are 3872 x 2592 pixels. I require each image to be 9cm x 6cm, approximately. In order to retain the same number of pixels in the new image, the resolution has to be 415. I can save the image at that resolution, but I am unable to create a background of A3 size at that same resolution: a message, "Not enough memoray to create new image." appears. Initially, 180 resolution is accepted.

Several questions arise:

1. Is it the memory of my computer that imposes this limitation?

2. As I have in the order of 20 images to compose in this montage, am I likely to run out of memory as I progress?

3. If there are two operations to complete before importing the image to my A3 canvas (resizing/rotating and importing on to a canvas large enough to facilitate a white frame), will I lose definition by the number of saves that have to be made?

4. If the original image is provided as a .jpg, is there any advantage to make subsequent saves as .png files? The final product will be a small number of copies printed on A3 photographic paper.

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Hello Bob Hawkins. May I call you Bob?

I will try to be clear, and in order:

1) with a message like that, there are very few causes aside from memory requirements. So, more than likely, yes. May I enquire toward how much RAM you do possess?

2) Yes.

3) Only if you save in a lossy format. This is a term to denote a file format that loses data when saved (each pixel are data that composes the image). JPEG is one such format, with which you may notice 'artefacts' such as blotches. PNG, BMP and TIFF are not such a format ('lossless'), thus are usually better regarding quality.

4) Yes. It is a lossless format, so the image will look the same as the original quality after save, after save, after save. This may prove advantageous when printing. Be warned that PNG, as it loses no data, can produce bloated file sizes in comparison to JPG. There is a PNG optimiser in the Plugins section of this Forum.


In order to lighten the load on memory, you could try a lower resolution. Or install more RAM - it can be considerably cheap depending where you purchase it from, and it will be good for your computing activities as a whole.

Does any of this help you, Bob?

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I thank you for your swift and helpful response.

My desktop, upon which I carried out these tests, has 1GB RAM. My laptop has 3GB. I have found subsequent to my post that I can save an A3 canvas at 200 resolution on my laptop, but see that importing images and moving them takes some time. My difficulty is knowing what maximum resolution to use, if progressive importing and moving uses more and more RAM. I guess it might only be by trial and error that I eventually find out.

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Given your apparent RAM requirements, I hold-heartedly recommend your laptop over the desktop. (Funnily enough.)

You shouldn't notice any deformation of the image quality by simply transferring images to-and-fro laptop and desktop, as long as you use a lossless format where possible - I cannot stress that enough.

I wish you luck, and, please, do report back with your results. Of course, other members may be able to offer some advice, so keep checking back.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just completed my photo montage. I rotated and cropped 20 images as appropriate, resized them at 300 pixels per inch (118.11 pixels per centimetre), added white borders to 12, saved them as .png files and imported them in turn to my 420 x 297 millimetre (A3) canvas of the same 300 pixel resolution. The process of moving the images and reordering the layers became progressively more difficult and time-consuming. Sometimes, I received a message stating there was insufficient memory to load an image, but by saving, closing and reopening the .pdn file and Paint.NET, I was able to continue. Paint.NET crashed on three occasions. I had to resort to flattening and saving half the positioned images as one .png file, then use that as a single layer, adding the remainder to it in order to complete the task.

In spite of all that, I have enjoyed the exercise; I learnt a lot, and I am extremely pleased with the faithful reproduction of the originals in the final .png and .jpg files.

My purpose in telling this is that I cannot believe what I experienced is how it must be, and that there is not a better way to a result.

I worked on my laptop, which has 3GB RAM and 320GB hard drive, using Vista and Paint.NET 3.36.

I should dearly appreciate it if someone could offer advice on how more easily one should carry out such an exercise.

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Further to my previous post, I have discovered Layer Saver. It would seem from at least one person's post concerning Layer Saver that I am not alone in experiencing manipulation in Paint.NET becoming ever slower and more painful as I added layers. Perhaps the Layer Saver tool will prove useful in this regard.

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