I want may avatar back ! - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Talk about and show off personal signature and avatar images.
To improve the definition of an image, don't crop it or resize it to 100x100, instead, crop it to YxY pixels. Bigger Y the better.
That doesn't really improve the definition, it just means that it will be resized without any proper filtering being done on it, so we are just seeing that image with aliasing which looks distorted, and is also wasting bandwidth.

The only reason that it looks 'sharper' (read: not really sharper at all but just harsh) when you do this, is because usually when you resize an image in Photoshop it is put through a bi-cubic filter to remove the aliasing and make it look smooth, but by you refusing to do that, it means that no filtering is applied because it gets quick-resized by our browsers instead.
Soixante-Retard, I'm not sure I understand your post. To re-size the image by means of changing the pixel no. I.E. 100x100 pixels surely the image would quickly become too large to upload? I'm really not sure I fathom how that could work; however as Rei Merasame mentioned above, that may simply not work.

I do wonder, Rei Murasame, how your avatar has remained so well defined? (My computing knowledge is minimal).
Well, when I turn something to greyscale in Photoshop (Photoshop CS2 is what I use) for PoFo, I do it by dragging the saturation down to very near to total greyscale, like say -98 saturation. Then I adjust the highlight, mid-range, and shadow group balance in such a way that it brings the image back to looking vivid again without making it look 'over-exposed' (trial and error on this), just it now has no colour. And then I resize it to 100 x 100 pixels with bi-cubic filter on.

And then I put it side-by-side with the colour one and make sure that it still looks the same. If yes, it's usable. Then save as a png file and upload.

And that's basically it.
I see. So in short-term (basically) my mistake was in both trusting Picasa and ImageShack to preserve the definition of my image. That being said I'm going back the the drawing-board. Thank you ever-so much for replying quickly and graciously.
These are actually not all that hard. I use The Gimp myself, which is freeware, but as I understand the user interface is much less friendly than the other programs mentioned here.

To make an easy avatar (for the amateur):

1) Find a pic. Copy it to your own hard drive in whatever folder you find easy to find. I usually just use the desktop for working images.

2) Use whatever sharping tool is available from your program. In The GIMP, you use "Filters->Enhance->Unsharp Mask" first, then continue to sharpen as necessary until you get the look you want.

3) Convert to black and white. In The Gimp this is "Image->Mode->Grayscale"

4) resize to the largest possible square image first, depending of course, on how much of the original pic you want to show. If your original image is 640 x 480, crop the 640 down to a 480 x 480 square. However, as noted, if this ends up including too much of the body of person in question or other unwanted images, crop the pic down to the biggest possible acceptable image of the portrait you want. By making it a square of the same proportions as the 100 x 100 required by PoFo you avoid stretching and other weird effects.

5) With that established, scale the image to 100 x 100.

6) If the image is too light or dark at this point, play with the lighting effects to lighten or darken the image. In The Gimp this is "Colors->Brightness and Contrast"

7) To preserve image quality, when you save (if jpg) click "save as" then when the file is correctly named and you have guided the program to the correct save folder, click "Save". In newer version the process is a little different but the end result is the same. I don't have my laptop handy to detail the exact process but basically you do the same thing. When the "Save As" window comes up move the "quality" slider bar all the way to 100%. Click on the "+" sign beside advanced options, and make sure the radial box for "Subsampling" is set to "Best Quality". Click "Save" again and you're done!

8 ) Upload to whatever hosting service you use. PoFo has an account created by a member that anyone here is free to use to host their image. Simply click on the sticky in this forum to do so.

9) Note the "direct link" http and copy it.

10) Go to your "Account->Profile->Edit Avatar" settings and paste your url into the "link off-site" dialogue box.

11) Click "submit".

12) Go show off your new bling!

Hope that helps. For the real pros, feel free to add anything I might have missed or overlooked.

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^ @annatar1914 You nailed it.