Tips and Tricks for Astro Imaging

The web is clearly the method of choice for display of our astroimages. It is cheap and it gives others easy access to our images. There are few astroimagers that do not have a web page - but there are a few! Their usual reason is "I really don't have the time". A little known feature of Photoshop CS can fix that. Although it may not generate a perfect custom webpage, it will generate a basic page in just a few minutes and do so with no knowledge of html! This, plus the fact that PhotoShop is already something you have and are used to, makes it ideal for the beginner!

The first step is to open the folder that contains your images using the PhotoShop CS file browser. This is the "file and magnifying glass" icon near the top of the main window. Step two is to select the processed images that you wish to put on the webpage. These can be sized ahead of time for the page but do not have to be pre-sized unless you wish them to be larger than 800 pixels (wide or high) when displayed on the webpage. The only other preparation you may wish to do is to insert the appropriate text into the "metadata" area on the left side the file browser for each image. This is useful since the Web Photo Gallery can automatically put some of this information onto the page you are creating if you wish it to do so. Once the images are all selected, choose [Automate], [Web Photo Gallery], as shown in figure one. This will bring up the Web Photo Gallery dialog. This is shown in figure one.

Open Gallery Dialog
Figure One

Before you have PhotoShop create your webpage, choose from one of the possible styles at the top of the dialog as seen in figure two (A). There are about ten to choose from that come with PhotoShop. I have selected "Horizontal Slideshow" as it works quite well for astronomical images. You can insert your email address if you wish this to appear on the page. This feature is probably included since the main purpose of the Web Photo Gallery is to allow commercial photographers to show their work to customers. Two (A) also shows the General items under "Options" - I would leave these as the default (shown). Two (B) shows the options for the title banner. As you can see, I have input the site name and my name and left the others blank. Which, if any, you fill in is up to you. One thing you should remember is that the pages are generated very quickly so you can try one thing and see how it looks. If you don't like the result, you can always go back and try another option or even a different style. PhotoShop will preserve the last settings you used.

Options One
Figure Two

The next set of options to set is shown in figure three (A). This sets the options for the Large Images - the main image display. You can use the images as sized already by you, just be aware they may not fit the pre-made templates and will entail scrolling by the user if they are too large for the frame used in the selected style template. I have chosen to have the images re-sized automatically. Since my images are a mix of horizontal and vertical format, I found, by trial and error, that constraining just the height to 575 pixels worked best for these images. You can constrain the height, width, or both. What works best will vary with the images, the page style, and the user's taste. Also in figure three (A) you will see that I have elected to display the description and copyright with the large images. This comes from the metadata which can be input in the file browser and is automatically input by some cameras. In figure three (B), you can see that for the thumbnail size, I have selected 100 pixels and opted to display the same set of metadata. Note that I have also elected to place a 3 pixel border around both the thumbnails and the main images.

Options Two
Figure Three

The last set of options allow you to set various colors and security options. In figure four (A), you will see that I have selected black for both the background and the banner background. White was chosen for text where it is on the background or the banner. The remaining options were left at defaults as they are hyperlink colors and not used in this example. Be aware that you can change other apsects of these pages. In fact, you can totally change them. Since this requires knowledge of html, however, you will not be likely to do that. After all, if you were an html expert, you would probably not be using the Web Photo Gallery at all! The final options setting, shown in four (B), will allow various text to be pasted over your image to prevent copying. Since I am not making money here, I left this set to "None".

Color and Security
Figure Four

All that remains is to press "OK" and watch PhotoShop go to work! This will vary as to how long it takes, but for these 8 images it took under a minute. When it is done, you will have a set of files and folders as seen below in figure five. The file that is called "Aurora Gallery.htm" is the starting file. The original name given to this file by PhotoShop by default is "index.htm". I would suggest changing this, however, unless this is the only gallery on your webpage. This is because "index.htm" is a special default entry page that should probably be saved for later use. All that remains is to use an FTP program to move all these files and folders, just as they are, to the main html directory of your webpage. The page address will then be htttp://www.yourserver.com/Aurora Gallery.htm. You now have a webpage that looks like this!

Figure Five

©William McLaughlin - 2004   Go to Bill's Website


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