Although the database is supplied with a numerous plant pictures, an important original concept of Plant Base is to enable more images to added by the end-user.
All image management is done using the Picture Maintenance window. This is opened by clicking the "Add Pic" button on the Plant Master window. If may also be opened directly from the main menu or toolbar and by selecting "Edit" from the "right mouse-button" context menu of any picture or thumbnail.
Pictures may be added to any of the three picture libraries used by Plant Base, provided they reside on writable media, e.g. hard-disk. Source images in standard JPEG format (.jpg) are the most common and preferred type. Bitmap and GIF format (.bmp and .gif) are also supported. There is no size restriction but in most cases it makes sense to use image dimensions that fit well on the screen and of the smallest file size that gives acceptable quality. As well as the disk space overhead, very large files may impact on performance of the program.
Alterations, cropping and re-sizing are not performed by Plant Base and should be done using an appropriate application before adding the image to Plant Base. However, existing images can be replaced by newer versions, using the Edit function.
Images captured with digital cameras are ideal. It is normally preferable to take the pictures using the best quality setting available on the camera. The resulting images will be too large for direct full size viewing on-screen but can be reduced or cropped as needed.
Pictures taken with film cameras can be scanned to create computer format files.
A vast number of good plant pictures are available on the Internet. These are perfect for use in Plant Base, however before doing so, you must check their copyright status. Some may require permission, but in many cases free personal use is allowed (as with our own pictures).
Pictures from magazines, books and catalogues could also be scanned, but again you should check on the copyright status before using them.
Note:- If the picture file is already a good size for displaying on-screen, then skip directly to Step 3.
(Step 1) Prepare the picture file:- this usually just involves reducing the size so that it fits comfortably on the screen. All the image editing applications have a re-size function:
here is an example using Adobe Photoshop:
and here is how it looks using Paint Shop Pro:
In these examples the image is being reduced to 602x400 pixels, but any reasonable size is OK.
The resolution is best set to 72 or 96 pixels/inch (DPI), which is suitable for screen display.
It is usually necessary to sharpen the image slightly, to compensate for lost clarity. This may be possible during the re-size process or otherwise afterwards. Photoshop has a very efficient Bicubic Sharper option, whilst in Paint Shop Pro the best method is to apply Unsharp Mask after re-sizing.
(Step 2) Save the image as a jpeg file on the disk:- You will almost always want to keep the original file, so use "Save as" with a different filename. During the save action it is possible to specify a jpeg compression factor. This is a good idea as it makes the file smaller, although excessive compression will reduce the quality of the image. Refer to your image editing software for more information about this.
(Step 3) Now add the picture to the Plant Base database:- Show the relevant plant in the Plant Master window. If it does not exist, then create a new record for it. Click the "Add Pic" button and select your image file, as prepared above. Enter any other details such as a picture caption, photo credit or other notes (all optional). Click "Save" to create this new picture record.
For Picture Libraries 1 and 2 the image itself is copied and stored within the database and the source file is no longer required. For Library 3 the database entry is a link to the original selected disk file, no copy is made. (read more about picture libraries)