Computer Bytes Articles - DLL Files and what they do.
Computer Bytes - No. 71

How to Turn Old Picture Negatives
Into Pictures

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Found a box of old picture negatives the other day while cleaning out the closet. Remember those? You would get a negative along with the actual print of the photo. This was before we had the ease, convenience, and I might add, instant prints provided by today's digital cameras.

Wanting to see the who, what and where on these negatives, I headed straight for my computer to convert them into photos. If you have a good graphics program, you can convert almost any negative into printable photos right at home by following these easy steps.

First, scan the negative into your computer. A flat bed scanner works best. However, if you have a scanner that feeds, you can place the negatives in a clean, clear plastic sheet to feed them through. Securely place the negative in a corner of the sheet to eliminate the possibility of it shifting or jamming. Once scanned, I recommend saving the images in a dedicated folder making it easy to find them.

After you have your negative scanned, open the image in your graphics program. Crop the area you will be working with and resize it. Most good graphics programs will let you select resizing in inches rather than pixels. Once resized, you want to select the program's function that will allow you to create a 'Negative'. Selecting this function will reverse the negative image making it appear as a photo.

Next you will want to adjust the colors. If your negative was for a black/white photo, select the program function that allows you to set the picture to 'Grey Scale'. You can now adjust the brightness and contrast to make the picture pleasing to the eye. If your negative was in color, you can use the various 'Colors' functions to adjust the hue, saturation, and gamma settings to get the desired results. Use the 'Effects' function to enhance, sharpen, despeckle, or clarify the image. Your photo is now ready to print.

Before printing use the 'Page Setup' to select print size, page orientation, and black/white or color options. Once set-up is complete, use 'Print Preview' to see what the printed picture will look like. By doing this you will know if your photo is too big, too small, or if you are wasting paper. Before you print is the time to make corrections or changes. Should you have several smaller sized pictures you want to print out, 'copy and paste' the finished images into a single graphic that will print on one sheet of photo-paper. This allows you to print all of the pictures at one time eliminating the waste of pricey photo paper. You can also share your photos on line by uploading them to one of the free photo albums like Google's Picasa.

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