Letters of 1916 Workflow 2: Image editing

This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Neale Rooney describes the next stage of our workflow, image editing.

image editing | Letters of 1916

The second part of our workflow picks up where Karolina finished; the documents have been photographed to a very high quality and now we need to condense them for the web and crop them to size. For this, we use an open source image manipulation tool called GIMP. It functions similar to Photoshop, allowing us to resize, crop, colour correct etc. The images we process may be tif, png or jpg format, but we convert them to jpg for uploading purposes.

While editing, we try to eliminate as much of the border surrounding the letter as possible and ensure that a transcriber can make out the written text clearly. For some letters this process is significantly easier than others; some of the most difficult letters to edit have been written from the trenches of the Western Front and prisons like Frongoch. In these examples, such as the letter above, the writer may have used whatever writing material they could find, be it brown paper bags, cartons or more and usually written without the luxury of an ink pen. In these cases, we use GIMP to alter the colour of the letter paper slightly to draw out the indentations and faint lines of the handwriting.

Once these changes are made, the images are exported as jpg files and renamed according to their institution and collection number. They are now ready to be uploaded.


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