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Displaying large images on the web

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Displaying large images on the web

Postby SSSdave » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:53 pm

Some work below from my recent week in the Eastern Sierra that included a 6-day backpack out of Onion Valley and a couple days day hiking in Little Lakes Valley. This spring bought a Sony A6000 mirrorless 24mp body and 4 lenses. Later after working through using the new body, multi frame stitching, and focus stacking in PS CS6, bought a Gigapan Epic 100 robotic head. At this point I have got proccesses down in the field and at home processing enough that I will more often bring this digital system out into the backcountry instead of my 4x5 view camera using film as it reduces my camera gear weight by several pounds and has significant advantages. Regardless there are still subjects where only my view camera can capture the best image.

A difficult issue with presenting large images on the public Internet is if an image can be displayed on a monitor it can also be copied and stolen. And one reason that happens is the Internet is so vast users that illegally grab copyrighted material of any media can easily hide in its vast sea and doing anything about it is only within the realm of large organizations with legal resources. If a large image is downsized to monitor size, much of what gives it value is often lost with results often looking boring. Accordingly a decade ago I provided 33% pixel downsized crops for images on my homepage gallery that served some purpose of at least showing what small sections of a large image look like. For instance with this image (Note mouse click the image as forum software by default downsizes images to our little center page frames.):

Image

Image

Recently worked on this some more because with wide panoramas the monitor sized images become even more pathetic. The below 3 image files show full downsized images at top with some text information then below three 300 pixel wide vertical slices downsized at 50% pixels. I've managed to process a couple dozen of these large stitched images from that week though not all are fit for public viewing haha.

As an example, the below Box Lake image is 12,000 by 10,600 pixels that if printed at 300 pixels per inch will produce a sharp print of 40 by 35.3 inches. I've standardized these presentations to 1000 pixel image widths since most all pc desktop monitors currently at least display at XGA graphic resolutions over that. And web browsers have followed by increasing the sizes of images they can handle. Beyond 1000 pixels in width is still asking for trouble while maximum vertical image sizes are just a matter of using vertical scroll bars. Because the image is displayed in pseudo mat borders,actual image widths are 952 pixels. Below the text are three long 300 pixel wide vertical slices downsized at 50% pixels. So in this example the 10,600 pixel full vertical image is reduced to 5,300 pixels as a source for the slices. Average pc monitors have a dot pitch of about 100 RGB pixels per inch so that is a 5300/100= 53 inches of monitor display. With a HD sized display, about 4 display screens. A professional print that displays more densely at 300 ppi, will of course look even sharper. The green arrows below the image at top, point to locations of the slices.

(mouse select to expand)

Image

Notice how the slices show all the trout surface feeding that are lost in the severely downsized image at top. And how much more there is to all the foreground wildflowers at the lake edge and up the near slope?

Of course stitching together images can be performed manually on a tripod with a panoramic head instead of using a robotic head and that is in fact how I proved the function to myself. Easily done when just stitching a few images in a single row or single column. But with multi columns and rows it is increasingly complicated. If a single frame within a set of stitching images has an issue, for instance not having all elements in focus or not covering the proper area, then the whole set becomes unusable. Thus a robotic head at least reduces that part of the difficulty. Most significant subject limitations are images with moving elements like clouds and water and elements within each frame that are at different focus distances. A single out of sharp focus element in a single frame can cause a whole set of images to be unusable. For landscape work that is the key difficulty. Subjects all in the background are easy because one can use infinity focus with open apertures where lenses are sharpest. With typical landscapes having foregrounds, middle grounds, and backgrounds, focus on each frame needs to be manually changed and multiple captures may be necessary that can later be focus stack blended. Intimate subjects can also work like this shot of columbine against a rock wall:

Image

This is an example of a large stitch of some famous peaks that could be printed sharp at an 80 inch width. Below are links to three horizontal sections I cropped just for the ridge skyline that provides some idea of the enormous amount of detail. Had to break the pic up into 3 sections so my Yahoo business site would not choke loading. Note at 80 inches @300 ppi that is about 3*80= 240 display inches for a usual desktop monitor. So in three sections each of the images are about 80 inches of monitor horizontal scrolling.

Image

left section 3.4mb
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_C/M ... ridgeL.jpg
center section 4.1mb
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_C/M ... ridgeC.jpg
right section 2.8mb
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_C/M ... ridgeR.jpg



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Re: Displaying large images on the web

Postby fishmonger » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:01 am

A difficult issue with presenting large images on the public Internet is if an image can be displayed on a monitor it can also be copied and stolen


There are two simple solutions:

a) don't care. I could care less if anyone copies and uses my mountain images, so that is my solution. I don't restrict full size downloads on anything, even stitches that are near 40,000 pixels wide. Virtually nobody looks at anything above screen size anyway, and those who do are mostly looking at detail to see how some lenses work, etc. I don't print my images, and I think the rest of the world has moved away from hardcopy a long time ago. Facebook is where they look at photos, and selfies are more interesting to them than a mountain vista.

b) show the larger images only via something like Microsoft Photoshynth or some Gigapan viewer that never downloads more than a handful of tiles. I am hosting a few of those on my own web server and there is no high resolution original to access - one panorama is chopped into thousands of JPEG tiles, in various resolution levels. The deeper you zoom in with the viewer, the fewer of those are loaded by the viewer, and none are in the browse cache. The drawback of those applications is that you cannot control the JPEG compression level. They all seem to be rather fuzzy and optimized for fast response by the viewer browser plugin. But you still can zoom in and see what detail is actually available in the original, without accessing the actual original. Too bad virtually no web forum or other public space lets you post an embedded player. Over at the Whitneyzone forum, I think you can do that, as they allow html iframe embeds, but over here, you simply cannot show these things inline with the text.

example remote link

Which brings me back to option a. People don't care about high quality. I am sure 95% of the viewers here in the photo forum don't even open up the scaled down small images that are fit into the narrow text boxes to see them clearly without browser scaling artifacts. There are only a handful of photo dweebs like us who care :D
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Re: Displaying large images on the web

Postby vitaminC » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:35 am

fishmonger wrote:There are two simple solutions:


Exactly!

I would put out a third solution of putting some sort of watermark on your images. I have a fairly small and unobtrusive one that goes in the lower right corner (see image below). In some images it's not even visible, but I don't worry about it. Many people put in a giant one that goes across the entire image. I'm not making money from these photos, and I don't think anyone else is, either! :D

Image
----------------
Lots of photos
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Re: Displaying large images on the web

Postby fishmonger » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:56 pm

Yes, big watermarks down the middle of the image, I guess I hate those, too, but it is about the only way to do effective watermarking. A small watermark is just one "content aware fill" in Photoshop away from disappearing.
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Re: Displaying large images on the web

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:58 pm

Of course there are a lot of amateurs dumping full images on the web straight out of their digital cameras since they are too lazy to process and like you they don't care if people use their images. Given the significant increase in sensor sizes those image are suddenly larger than monitor screen sizes. Many over at summitpost.org for instance. But such images are still small compared to what those stitching images or in my case scanning large format film produces.

As for printed images, large professional images are still as relevant as they used to be for art and wall display purposes. However as someone that has dozens of big Lightjet prints, making, framing, storing, and transporting about anything more than a few large prints is expensive, awkward, and time consuming. What has changed are all the vast numbers of ordinary folk that a dozen years ago were going down to drug stores then picking up their stack of puny 3x5 color snapshots. Then during the recent decade bought digital cameras plus consumer level inkjet printers and began printing out images at 8.5x11's. But have now wearied of that given a pile of dusty crinkled sheets on coffe tables, and are simply posting little images on social media sites taken with their cellphones. Like you say they (most) don't care. Actually few of them are aware of much less ever looked at large prints other than possibly a few down at their local art and craft fair. Funny thing is when such people actually get in front of large highly detailed prints their jaws often drop in amazement. Else your local consumer electronics warehouses would not have been going nuts the last few years selling all those large HDtV's. The numbers of people that ever visit serious art galleries for paintings or photos or whatever art has always been a tiny fraction of the population though obviously are usually the more well to do.

I personally see us in the dawn of another era, that of large displays. Of course the first 4k HDTV and computer monitor products s are starting to be delivered with prices already showing signs of dropping like a rock. With that out of the public mindset are video walls of multiple 2x2 2x3 and 3x3 pc monitor panels like one sees every day when the local weather person is standing in front of their expensive studio display pointing out where the rain be. Although most of the myopic media hype thus far has all been about video blah blah blah and how transmission media bandwidth ain't there, such displays can also display static images and the effect on the audience at the big CE shows has been significant. Thus I expect really large images to find a new home.
Last edited by SSSdave on Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Displaying large images on the web

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:59 pm

Solution a.
Don't use the web to make direct sales much anyways, only from existing/repeat
clients that are aware of the high standards and quality of my work.
People are not doing to spend large sums of money on something they are not
emotionally involved with anyways, especially over the internet, and this can
only be done face to face with the client in my niche segment of the market.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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