Ask Dr. Bob - Adding Information to Websize Image

by Robert Whetton 22. August 2008 01:00
Ok, no time for a running Ren and Stimpy joke, so we'll just crack on with this.

shannyD over on POTN wanted to know how to produce a certain look that she'd seen on another photo.

So first we need to sort out what size we're going to make the web sized image, i've chosen 800px for the longest edge. So we'll open a landscape photo up and resize it to 800px wide.
 /><br />We now need to select an area which will be the height and width for our custom strip. Using the Marquee Tool, select the area you want.<br /><img src=
We need to create a new layer so we don't end up editing the photo, so go ahead and click on the new layer icon in the Layer Palette.

Once this is done, we'll fill it with White. This is done using Edit>Fill.

And selecting White. With White selected hit ok.

Great thats filled it, but its not the look i'm after..

Don't panic, in the Layers Palette, go to Mode and select Multiply. Under the Multiply white is transparent. Good eh?

Right, time to create the gray bar. Using the Marquee tool and holding down Alt/Option drag from the bottom up to the point where you want your gray strip to begin.

You'll see the selection area change. We now need to fill the new area with 50% gray. So go to Edit>Fill.

Select 50% Gray and hit ok.


Wow yeah, thats more like it!

So now we have the strip we want, Ctrl/Cmd Click on the Layer (this will highlight it all.

Now we copy the selected area, Edit>Copy

Create a New Document, File>New. Notice that the Dimensions of the Copied Selection have automatically been assigned into the Height and Width. Hit ok.

And now its time to paste the strip in to the document. Edit>Paste.


Go ahead and Save the document using Save as. Saving as a JPEG will automatically flatten the image for you. Remember to Save this in a place where you won't forget where it is. It is important that this file does not move once you have saved it.

And close the files.

Automating the strip along with text, now begins. Open a full sized Photograph.

In the Actions Palette, create a new action.

Now we need to resize the Photo to have 800px as its longest side, to do this, we'll use a built in script within Photoshop. Go to File>Automate>Fit Image...

In the height and width boxes, enter 800 and click ok.
img src="http://www.pbase.com/bob_hall/image/102001744.jpg" alt="" />
The Photograph will now change its dimensions to match 800px on the longest side, so whether you have a landscape or portrait image, they will resize to the same ratio and dimensions.

With any image that is re-sized, it will need some sharpening. I just use the Sharpen Filter. Filter>Sharpen>Sharpen.

I find this can be a little harsh on most of my images (too sharp), so i use the Fade Filter command. Edit>Fade Sharpen (this will be Fade X, where X = last filter used)

I find that a setting of 60% and Mode Luminosity works best, but you may find that a different setting works best for you.

Ok, now that the photo looks nice and sharp, lets go and add the strip to the photo. File>Open.

Now you have to find the strip you saved earlier.

But you're saying, Dr.Bob isn't using the Place Command a better way of doing this? The place command inserts the image into the document, but it also scales it to fit the width. This isn't what we're after, having an image that comes in to the document at the size it was intended is a much better option in this case.

Select All, Select>All

Copy the area, Edit>Copy

Close the Image, File>Close

And finally Paste, Edit>Paste.


Select both layers by holding the Shift button and click on the Background Layer.

Then go to Layer>Align>Bottom Edges.
The Strip layer will now snap to the bottom edge of the document.

In order for the layer to work, we need to give it the Mode of Multiply once more, so click on the layer and in the Mode box, select Multiply.

With the strip in place, we need to add the text. Grab the Text Tool from the Tools Palette

Draw a Text Box to cover the area needed, you can also adjust it when you've tapped in your text and adjusted the type size. You'll need to set the alignment to Center. You want to place the text in the middle of the gray box and adjust it so the bottom of the text box aligns with the bottom of the document. This will help when you run the automation later.

Now you've made your text, we need to make sure everything is aligned in the right place. Holding down Shift, click on the Background Layer, this will select all the layers inbetween the Text layer and the Background Layer.

We're going to align the Horizontal Centers of all the layers (becuase the Bottom Layer is locked and can't be moved, all the layers will align to that). Layer>Align>Horizontal Centers.

And because we're working on a landscape image, when the text is put into a portrait image, it will be placed much higher (co-ordinates recorded are to blame). We need to align Bottom Edges. Layer>Align>Bottom Edges.

We're nearly there! In the Layers Palette, selet the layer menu and Flatten Image.
img src="http://www.pbase.com/bob_hall/image/102001737.jpg" alt=""/>

The next steps are only nessesary if you edit in 16bit and aRGB.
First we'll change the colour mode to 8bit, Image>Mode>8Bits/Channel.

And last we'll swap the colour profile for sRGB for posting on the Web. Edit>Convert to Profile.

Select sRGB as the Destination Space and click ok.

Hit stop in the Actions Palette and you should be looking this.

And your finished product.
Test the Action on a Portrait Photograph to make sure the Action works.

If everything works as advertised, you can also use the action to batch a whole folder of your photographs.

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About Me

Robert Whetton
Dorset Photographer

Dorset Events Photographer in the UK. Portraits, Weddings, Events, Gigs, Sports and Photo Re-Touching.
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