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Calculating TIFs
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Let s start with the easy file formats There are file formats out there that are considered lossless (Recall from 7, lossless means no matter how many times you open and resave the file, no loss of data will ever occur) That s because the image isn t really being compressed in a way that destroys information in the original image Every pixel is preserved forever The most common lossless file formats are BMP and TIF files To figure out how much space either of these files will take up, just use this equation: File size in bytes = x-dimension y-dimension 24 / 8 In other words, take the pixel dimensions of your image and multiply them Multiply that by 24 (because there are 24 bits of color information associated with every pixel in the image), and then divide the result by 8, because we want the answer in bytes, not bits Divide that answer by 1,000 to get the answer in the more popular kilobytes Here s an example Suppose you want to know how much space two dozen images will take up that were shot with your digital camera on its lowest resolution setting (which is 640 480) The camera saves its images in the lossless TIF format The math would be 640 480 24 / 8 = 921,600 bytes Divide that by 1,000 and you get 921KB which is just shy of a megabyte Multiply that single image result by 24 (the number of images you plan to shoot), and you get a total storage size of 22,118KB, or 22MB That s a lot of space
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Calculating JPGs
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That s all well and good, but most of the time digital cameras shoot in the lossy file format known as JPG JPG files can be adjusted to compress more aggressively that makes the files smaller but the quality lower or compress less for bigger, higher-quality files There s no easy equation you can use on JPGs, because the compression varies not only according to the image quality setting you use on your camera, but also according to the amount of color information and overall complexity of the picture Nonetheless, I ll take a stab at it In general, you can assume that JPG files will be about this size, depending upon the quality setting:
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JPG Quality High (low compression) Medium Low (high compression) Compression Approximately 95% of the original TIF size Approximately 75 85% of the original TIF size Approximately 25% of the original TIF size
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CHAPTER 9: Keeping Images on the PC
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These are ballpark figures, but you would be able to store about 440 average JPGs in the same hard disk space that it would take to store full-resolution TIF files of the same pixel dimensions What does this say about how you should store your images In general, high-quality JPGs are good enough for most applications, and they take up a mere fraction of the space TIFs or BMP files would consume When you can, use the JPG format, and your hard disk will thank you Be careful about using too much JPG compression, though I recommend sticking with a fairly low compression level, or your image quality will suffer
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Archiving Images
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Eventually, your collection of digital images may grow too large for your hard disk If that s the case, you have a few choices:
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I Delete nonessential images from your hard disk I Archive the images on another storage device, like CD-ROM I Add another hard disk for additional storage space
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Deleting images is the easiest route, but it has the least potential You probably want to save many of your images forever, so there may not be that many images to get rid of Instead, consider archiving your images to another device If you have a CD-RW drive, you can copy dozens or hundreds of images to a CD (depending upon the file size) that will last more or less forever CDs do degrade over time, but they will last for a hundred years or so longer than the ink on many kinds of photographs A CD-RW drive is a kind of CD-ROM drive that can write to blank discs Most CD-RW drives come with software like Adaptec s Easy CD Creator, seen in Figure 9-4 This software lets you simply drag and drop image files from the hard disk to the CD and then burn the disk, a process that takes a few minutes to copy all the data to the CD After it s done, the CD-R is playable in any computer with a CD-ROM drive When you archive your images, be sure to use CD-R discs, not CD-RW discs The two media are quite different, and CD-RWs are generally not readable on other PCs In addition, data copied to CD-Rs can be deleted, so it s possible to accidentally overwrite your images later on To be safe, always use CD-R media, which are a lot cheaper anyway