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Websites for artists and galleries


Websites have become increasingly important for artists. This column provides basic information to help artists and galleries prepare for online exhibition.

Galleries and artists use digital pictures of artwork for many different reasons, including printed invitations, advertisements, website thumbnails or larger web images. A much higher resolution image is needed for printing than for web images. Artwork should be photographed as high-resolution images so smaller versions can be made later. On the web, for example, images are displayed at 72 pixels per inch, which is less than a quarter of the resolution required for printing (300 pixels per inch).

Here's a guide of recommended values for digital cameras.

number of megapixels maximum print size maximum web image size
less than 1 under 2" thumbnail < 100 pixels
1 4 x 6" 150 x 200 pixels
2 5 x 7" 190 x 250 pixels
3 8 x 10" 300 x 400 pixels
4 or more over 8 x 10" 500 pixels or more

To get an idea how large an image will look on a website, right-click with the mouse on any website image, open "Properties", view the dimensions, and compare them to this chart.

Scanners take pictures of photographs using the exact dimensions of the original. If slides are being scanned, the scanner takes a picture of each slide at real size (1 x 1.5 inches). The only way to get a larger image is to scan using as high a resolution as the scanner allows. For photos, the scanner resolution should be at least 300 pixels per inch. Slides require a scanner resolution of at least 1200 and preferably 2400 or 4800.

Once the image is in Photoshop, check the Image/Mode to be sure the colour is set to RGB, which is computer colour. Alternatively, images should be saved in CMYK if they are going to a printer. Files sent to clients or web designers must be less than 1 MB for simple email transfer, or transferred using CDROMs.

Under copyright law, copyright is automatically assigned to any file as soon as it is first created on a computer. For more information about authorship, file information about the author and source can be added to images in Photoshop using File/File info. For those concerned about protecting their work, consider using an object identification system such as one found at http://www.doi.org. This system adds invisible data to files that allows them to be tracked anywhere on the Internet.

A final important factor to consider is the storage size of each image. Files on websites should be less than 50kb each; in fact, an entire page of images should add up to 50kb. This means that each thumbnail file should be 10kb or less. Image sizes can be reduced in Photoshop using File/Save for Web. Set the view to "2-up" to preview the results of the compression. Move the Quality slider down until the second image is just above the threshold of fuzziness. Note the file storage sizes displayed along the bottom. If the thumbnails will be linked to larger images, a second file will need to be made for each thumbnail. Larger images that open in a separate window can be up to 50kb each.

Mia Johnson has reviewed art exhibits for Preview since 1989 and is the owner of www.kitsmedia.ca, a web design company in Vancouver, BC. She teaches Multimedia and Human Factors at Kwantlen University College.

WEBSITES FOR ART AND ARTISTS: Images for the Web | Six Tips for Text

FEATURES, NEW & OLD: Archipenko: A Modern Legacy | Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style | Tori Foster: Traces of Beings | Royal Nebeker: Dreams and Allusions / Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded Territories | Peter Aspell: Saints and Sinners, Mystics and Madness / The Mad Alchemist | Paradox of Place: Contemporary Korean Art | Art AIDS America | Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris | Fred Schiffer: Lives in Photos | Future Station | Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form | 2014 Bonifacho | The Art of the Louvre's Tuileries Garden | Edgardo Aragón: Ley Fuga | Vanishing Ice | Kingston Prize | Charles Edenshaw | Jillian McDonald | William Perehudoff | Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough:The Treasures of Kenwood House, London | Carrying on Irregardless | Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou | James Nizam: Trace Heavens | Gaugin & Polynesia | Leslie Dill's Poetic Vision | Preview's 25th Anniversary in Print | The Surrealist Revolution in Art | Carl Beam | Shadows of a Fleeting World: Seattle Camera Club | Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National, Paris | Show of Hands: Northwest Women Artists 1880-2010 | Fleeting Beauty: Japanese Woodblock Prints | Judy Radul: World Rehearsal Court | Requiem: BY Photographers Who Died in Vietnam & Indochina | Andreas Gurksy: Werke/Works 80-08 | Chris Jordan: Running the Numbers II | Action-Camera: Beijing Performance Photography | Hiro Yamagata: T R A N S I E N T | Henk Pander: History and Typography | Mandy Greer: Dare alla Luce | Generation: Images of Youth | Rembrandt & Dutch Art's Golden Age | Seattle Art Museum at 75 | Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings | Joanna Staniszkis: Silk City | Rodin: In His Own Words | First Nations Art: Historic to Contemporary | Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes | Three Rivers: Wild Waters, Sacred Places | Portland Art Museum | Acting Out: Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore | Isamu Noguchi: Sculptural Design | Rhythm and Change: The Bow in Contemporary Art | Douglas Curran: The Elephant Has Four Hearts | Fay Jones: Recent Paintings | Massive Change: Bruce Mau | Web Images: Quick Guide | Treasures From the Kröller-Müller | Gerry Deiter: Give Peace a Chance | InFest: International Artist-Run Culture | Silver: Dreams, Screens & Theories | Paul Wong: COLLECT | James Turrell: Knowing Light | Joanna Staniszkis: Linen’s Edge | Daniel Joliffe/Jocelyn Robert: Ground Station | Bratsa Bonifacho: Habitat Pixel | Edouardo Kac: Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics | Douglas Gordon at the VAG | Walk Ways Explore Body-Mind Connection

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Preview: The Gallery Guide, in print and on-line, lists current art exhibitions in galleries and museums in major cities and towns such as Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Search for artists, galleries, museums, media: painting, sculpture, print, photograph, installation, performance, etc.

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