> Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:59:59 +0100
> From: for...@gimpusers.com
> To: gimp-user-list@gnome.org
> CC: notificati...@gimpusers.com
> Subject: [Gimp-user] How to shrink photo,     retain quality?? Business card 
> design
> Hi guys!
> I'm an amateur photo-editor, and have a decent understanding of Gimp basics.
> I am designing a business card for myself to be uploaded to gotprint.com
> I am using a 2.5inx3.5in. vertical layout. In the past I have used the basic
> online editor provided by gotprint to design a logo, this time I wanted to do 
> it
> on Gimp to leave myself more options for editing.
> I need to include a photo of myself on the card....

Short, witty answer: Your image canvas is too small, you need to think bigger.

Long answer:

Since this is a project that will ultimately be put onto physical media (i.e. 
business cards), you need to think about your image less in terms of its raw 
pixels (as shown in GIMP) and more in terms of its physical printed size.  An 
important thing to note is that the preferred "dots per inch" setting (the 
conversion between image pixels and real world) is generally MUCH higher for 
print processes than computer displays -- a computer monitor might have a 
resolution of, say, 72 pixels per inch (hold a ruler up to your screen if you 
want to measure it yourself), but printing processes demand a resolution like 
300 or 600 dpi, which is at least four times larger.

So if you want to create your business card as a GIMP image, the FIRST thing 
you need to do is set your DPI.  You can check (and change) the dpi setting on 
your GIMP image from the Image > "Print Size..." menu option.  Keep in mind 
this doesn't actually change the raw 'pixel size' of the image (i.e. how it 
appears displayed in GIMP), it only calibrates how the pixel size translates to 
physical size.  You can also set an image's DPI setting from the Image > 
"Resize..." command, however, to truly resize an image to a specific resolution 
you will also need to ensure the target size shown in that dialog is displayed 
in physical units (not percent or pixels!) .

To reduce some of the work ... if your business card will be 2.5x3.5" 
(portrait) and you need a print resolution of 300dpi, your whole image must be 
750x1050 pixels; if you want a print resolution of 600dpi then your whole image 
must be 1500x2100 pixels.  Then zoom out until the entire image canvas fits in 
the GIMP display.  NOW you can begin drawing what the card looks like, add your 
photo to it (as a layer, of course), and worry about resizing the photo to 
match the rest of the card.  Try to keep the number of resizes on the photo 
layer to a minimum -- i.e. if you resized the photo layer but didn't like the 
result, Undo the resize before you try again.

Alternately, if you want to create a business card without having to worry 
about specifying a fixed print resolution (dpi), you should probably be drawing 
it in a different app, like the vector editor Inkscape.  Vector editors have 
the advantage of being able to freely scale elements placed on the canvas 
without losing detail (vector elements are geometric, not pixel based), but the 
tradeoff is you probably can't submit the vector file directly for the final 
processing step (you'll need to do a rasterization/bitmap export for that 
purpose -- which involves specifying the desired target size, either in terms 
of pixel dimensions or dpi).

-- Stratadrake
Numbers may not lie, but neither do they tell the whole truth.

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