by Gwyn Headley
It’s our job at fotoLibra to make uploading as easy and painless as possible for our members.
It’s our job at fotoLibra to make sure the images we sell are print repro quality, ready to go without endless expensive manipulation by the purchaser.
How do we reconcile these two sometimes opposing forces? By publishing our Submission Guidelines, and enforcing strict parameters on uploaded image files. If we say we want 300 ppi, we won’t accept 200 ppi or 400 ppi. If we say we want 8 bit, we won’t accept 16 bit. if we say we want a minimum width or height of 1750 pixels, we won’t accept 1700 pixels.
Tough but fair.
The snag is, how can we tell if your images won’t made the grade until you upload them?
And that can take hours.
So what happens is that a member collects his images together, does what he can to ensure they meet our specifications, then drags them across to the fotoLibra DND (Drag And Drop) window. An hour or so later he gets the message “Image is 1514px high. Minimum height is 1750px.”
The upload has been rejected.
How annoying is that? I know I would throw something at the screen and storm off in a sulk. Yet we couldn’t figure out a way round it. How could we tell what members’ images were like BEFORE they were uploaded to us?
“We can’t, so let’s ask the members to do it.”
“But we do, and they don’t always do it. Then they get annoyed. With us.”
“So make them do it.”
“Yes, but how?”
“Make the pre flight check part of the upload process.”
If we build a piece of software that reads an image file and checks that
- it’s 300 ppi
- it’s a top quality uncompressed JPEG
- it’s 8 bit
- its shorter side is longer than 1750 pixels
- it’s between 1 MB and 100 MB in file size
then it can report any errors back to the member before all that time is spent uploading a file which will be rejected.
So that’s what we’ve done. We’ve built it for Windows Vista and XP, for Intel and PowerPC Macs running OS X, and for Linux. We’ve built it into the forthcoming fotoLibra DND v3, so all you will have to do is to drag the files you want to upload into the DND window. The app will check your images and tell you what’s hot and what’s not.
Then you can upload safe in the knowledge you won’t get those nasty unfriendly error messages after a failed upload.
Is this a dream? A fantasy? Or simply vaporware?
No. It’s here, it works (I’m using it right now on an Intel Mac running OS 10.5.6) and we’re testing it at the moment. When we’re confident it’s bug free, we’ll release it.
Jacqui will tell you when it’s available for you to download. It should be in the next couple of weeks.
We haven’t yet got the resources of a Microsoft or an Apple, so we don’t have the facilities to test to exhaustion. But we think it will work well.
And if by chance it doesn’t, no doubt you will tell us.