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Old 10-24-2001, 09:39 AM
rmoss rmoss is offline
VT Support and Training
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: VisualTour Corporate Office
Posts: 739
Default Making Photos Fill the Entire Frame of the Viewer Window

Do your tour photos completely fill the frame on the screen?  If not, you will find this tip very useful.  It takes anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to learn this technique, but once you have it figured out, your photos will always fill the frame, and your tours will be more professional looking every time!  There are plenty of sample tours included with the software, so feel free to experiment with those while you are learning.  Also note the information at the bottom of this memo to learn how to protect your tours in case you make a mistake.

Image not filling the frame

When we designed the online VisualTour Viewer window, we gave the image portion enough width to accommodate a large part of scrolling panoramic photos.  Of course, if you are not using panoramic photos, the aspect ratio of your camera might leave your photos more square than the window so your photos do not fill the frame.  Notice the extra gray space on the left and right of this pool photo.

Image filling the frame

If time permits, you can give all of your tours a truly polished look by making even the non-panoramic images fill every frame.  Although your camera might take an image with more of a square aspect ratio, the VisualTour software has a built in cropping tool that allows you to change the aspect ratio so the exact same photo fills the frame beautifully.  Notice how the same photo now fills the frame.

The secret to filling the frame is knowing how to crop the image, but by the time you finish reading this memo, it will no longer be a secret!  All you have to do is crop the photos to give them an aspect ratio of 1.7 (width) to 1 (height) for the older small viewer or 1 (width) to 1.33 (height) for the newer viewer (released in May of 2004).  While you can do that in any number of software packages, the steps below will show you how to do it in the software you already own, your VisualTour software.

Before uploading your tour, follow these steps to crop your photos.

  1. Open the tour you plan to upload.
  2. If the tour name on the left appears with a plus sign, click it to expand the tour and see all of the caption names.
  3. Click the caption of any photo you wish to crop (never choose a panoramic image nor crop pieces that are to be stitched).
  4. Click the Edit/Modify (hammer and wrench) button at the bottom of the screen.  The photo will open in a new window with several toolbar buttons to the right.
  5. Click the cropping tool, which is in the lower left corner of the toolbar buttons.
  6. This next step is a little tricky until you have done it a few times, but if you make a mistake, do not panic.  Just click OK, and say NO when asked if you want to save the changes.  Your mistake will be not be saved, and you can try again.  Drag a rectangle around the part of the image that you wish to keep.  Everything not included in the rectangle will be cropped off.   You want to keep the entire width of the image but crop a little off the top and bottom.  As a guide to know what part of the image to keep, use the buttons on the right (as well as the image below, which shows you how much to keep).  The proper amount will vary depending on the aspect ratio of your camera, but as a guide, the approximate amount to to take off the top is everything above the center of the first row of toolbar buttons.  The approximate amount to take off the bottom is everything below the top of the button labeled "Default."

Cropping Guide

The red rectangle in this image shows how much to crop out as an initial test.  Depending on important elements in the image, you might elect to remove more off the top and less off the bottom or vice versa, but use this guide to determine the total amount to remove from one part or the other.  You might also try cropping several photos with different amounts, then use the Preview button to see which is best for your camera.  Make sure you make a safe copy of your tour (see steps below) before altering it too much!  Keep in mind that if you crop too little out, the image will not fill the frame, and if you crop too much out, the image will take on a slight panoramic proportion and slide left and right slightly in the VisualTour Viewer window.  If you cannot get it exactly right, it is better to crop out too little than too much.  After all, you can always crop more if you have not removed enough.  Of course, if you do accidentally crop too much, you can always crop the sides a little to get the proportion back to normal.  Practice with the sample tours, and use VisualTour's PREVIEW button to see the results while avoiding the need to upload test tours and then having to delete them.

7.   Click OK, and if you cropped it properly, click Yes to save the new image.  Remember, if the cropping did not go well, you can click No and try again.

Important Advice:  When you are ready to try cropping on a real tour instead of a sample, you will want to play it safe.  Make a copy of your entire tour before you start cropping, and place the copy in another folder.

To create a new folder, follow these steps.

  1. Open the VisualTour software. If necessary, cancel the tour guide.
  2. Click the FOLDERS button at the top of the screen.
  3. Click the NEW button.
  4. Type in a folder number (or a name like Backups) up to 12 characters, and click OK. You will have the opportunity to type a longer name later.
  5. VisualTour will show you the location where it is placing the folder on your hard drive.  Click OK.
  6. Choose to "Create Blank Folder," and click OK.
  7. Type in a name for the new folder, and click OK. This name can be up to 30 characters (i.e. Backups of my tours) or you can use the shorter name you type in step 4.
  8. Click SELECT to exit the Folder Manager screen.  You now have a folder for your backups.  You can copy an unlimited number of tours to this folder, so there is no need to keep making new folders.
To copy a tour from one folder to another for safekeeping, follow these steps.
  1. From the Edit Menu, choose COPY/MOVE.
  2. On the left side of the screen, choose the old folder from the drop down list at the top of the copy/move screen.
  3. On the right side of the screen, choose the other (new) folder.
  4. On the left side, single click on the tour you want to copy, then click the blue arrow that points to the right.
  5. Choose to include All Images, then click OK. The tour is copied.
  6. Click DONE to exit the Copy/Move screen. You can now crop the photos in the original tour secure in the knowledge that you have a safe copy in case something goes wrong.   Once you know everything is fine, you can always delete the copy.
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