thinking outside the box
Photo Editing Guide Part 1 - The Basics
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Saving Your Edited Photo

You can just select File > Save or Save As... to save the photo back over the original. It will be saved at the same pixel size as you see at 100% zoom - which, if you’ve not adjusted the size, will be the same pixel dimensions of the original.

Non-Destructive Saves

Suppose you edit a photo, as described here, perhaps adjusting the crop, brightness values, etc, then save this back - this replaces the original JPG. This is a destructive operation. Besides losing your original photo it is not good for another reason - each time you save a JPG it gets distorted slightly - this is because JPGs use ‘lossy’ compression - the image loses a bit of fidelity every time you save. So if you open a saved JPG you’re starting with a slightly worse quality image. Each open-edit-save cycle makes it worse. But in Xara it doesn’t have to be this way. When you save a JPG you are prompted to save the original file. This is like keeping the original negative (in old film speak). With the negative you could always start from the original and re-do any changes you want. You can elect to save the original alongside your edited JPG, then the next time you wish to edit that JPG, we recover the original master instead, with all the edits you’ve done to the image. This means no lossy cumulative distortion, no matter how many times you open and save that JPG. It means you can change your mind and undo or adjust any of the edits you’ve done previously. Try this: Open a JPG. In the Photo Enhance tool drag across the image to crop it. Now save this JPG back to disc and select ‘Save original’ when prompted, and close the tab after this. Your JPG has been cropped, as you can tell by opening it in Windows preview. If you did this with other software it would be final and you could not recover the missing parts. Now open this cropped JPG in Xara again - you can now un- crop. You’ve got back all the missing parts of the image. This is just one of the many ways in which Xara photo editing excels. This is the first part of a series of guides to editing photos in Xara. 1. Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing in Xara The basics of opening photos, zooming, sizing photos, and saving. 2. Summary of the Photo Tools A summary of the tools on the Photo Tool fly-out menu. 3. Photo Enhance options An overview of the ‘work-horse’ range of Enhance options. 4. Changing colors in photos How to select and enhance or adjust specific colors. 5. A real-world example Combining many of the techniques described above, to transform a poor photo. In addition there are more detailed guides covering other photo tools: The Shadow and Highlight controls Intelligent Photo Rescaling and Zooming Erasing Backgrounds and Combining Photos Brightness Levels and Color Balance Panoramic Photos For more tutorials by Xara and third parties, check out our Resource index, which offers a searchable and browsable list of movies and tutorials created by Xara and third parties.

Advanced Users

There’s one slightly complex aspect to image resizing. Xara provides what is called non-destructive editing, which means all the original pixels of your photo are preserved when editing. So when you resize an image down to, say, half its initial size, you are not actually shrinking the original image. You’re just fitting all the original pixels into a smaller area - in effect, just making everything twice the resolution. And you can see this on the status line (bottom of window). Images are shown at 96dpi when first opened (which is the same resolution as your screen). When you resize it, you can see the dpi figure change. Resize an image down to half its initial size and you’ll see the dpi figure show 192dpi. The smaller you make the image, the higher the pixel resolution goes. This is different to Photoshop - which has destructive image resizing. If you resize an image down to 10% of its original size, and then resize it back up again in Photoshop you get a blurred image as it has removed 90% of the pixels in doing this. In Xara you get back the full original image - no pixels are destroyed. In Xara, start with an image 1000 pixels across. Resize it to be 500 pixels across - what we’re doing is squeezing all 1000 pixels into 500 pixel screen image (doubling the dpi resolution). If you zoom in you’ll see all the detail is there. Resize the image back to 1000 pixels and all the detail is there. But the important thing is that when saving the JPG it saves at the pixel size shown on the InfoBar. So in the above case if you now save the image it will save a 500 pixel wide JPG. This would be a destructive save operation were it not for the non-destructive save option described above.