Digital picture frames are getting pretty popular these days, with the price coming down and the quality going up drastically. I myself bought one of these gizmos recently, and am quite pleased with it. The first question I had after I bought it, though, was how should I put my pictures on it in an optimized manner (meaning, without taking up a whole lot of disk storage space while at the same time allowing the images to look pleasing to the eye)?
I did some research, and tried out a few freeware software programs, and would like to share my results with you. Just to give an idea of my results, the digital picture frame I have has 12MB of internal memory, and I was able to fit over 200 pictures on it with outstanding viewing quality!
Basically, putting pictures onto a digital picture frame involves the following steps:
These steps are described in more detail below. Please beware, it's going to be necessary to do some math in some of these steps, albeit not very complicated math. Also, I'll admit the steps might take some time to get through, probably the first time through at least. However, I'm pretty confident that after getting through the steps, the results will speak for themselves.
Cropping the images is necessary in order for the aspect ratios of the digital picture frame and the digital camera to match so that the digital picture frame displays the images properly. If the aspect ratios don't match, the digital picture frame might display the images streched, skewed, or with parts of the images cut off that you don't necessarily want cut off. Keep in mind, cropping the images is really the same as cutting off a part of the images too, however, at least you'll have control over which part of the images to cut off.
First, figure out what the ratio is of the digital picture frame. My digital picture frame has a resolution of 720x480 pixels. Therefore, the aspect ratio can be calculated by dividing the height by the width:
480 (height) / 720 (width) = .67 aspect ratio of the digital picture frame
Next, figure out what the ratio is of the pictures taken with the digital camera. The pictures taken with my digital camera have a resolution of 2272x1704 pixels. Therefore, the aspect ratio for these pictures is:
1704 (height) / 2272 (width) = .75 aspect ratio of the pictures
If the ratios happen to match, you're in luck, and can immediately skip to the next section, Resize the Images. If the ratios don't match, as in the case of this example (since .67 does not equal .75), the images should be cropped first.
To crop the images, I used a free program called JPEGCrops. This program can be used for cropping multiple images at once to save time, instead of cropping the images one at a time. Basically, here are the steps I took to crop the images (I did these steps using version v0.7.5 beta of the software):
For this step, I used a free Microsoft download called Image Resizer. I don't think this download works in Windows Vista. However, Windows Vista users can try a program called VSO Image Resizer, which I haven't tried but from what I saw does the same thing as Microsoft's Image Resizer. After installing the software, here are the steps to take (these steps apply to Microsoft's Image Resizer).
This will resize the pictures to fit the exact resolution of the digital picture frame. When I performed this step on my images, the size of each image was reduced from 2MB down to about 50Kb, which is a significant disk storage space savings!
The final step required is to copy these resized images to the digital picture frame (either to the digital picture frame's internal memory, or to a memory stick/USB flash drive that will plug into the digital picture frame).
That's it, enjoy viewing the pictures!
Comment by Andrew:
I have been using a DPF for almost 2 years and found not being able to change the order of pictures they display very frustrating and with help from a friend have produced software to do this (and a few other things). Our software has been specifically developed for these displays and as you will see we have added features to make it more versatile. In particular, it allows user to create and save themed "lists" of pictures for display in a particular order, which are then automatically resized and exported to the device or card. There are full user instructions accessible from the application. See Digital Picture Frame Software for more information.