Technical Writing – What Constitutes “Doctoring” an Image in a Technical Document?

First of all, as a technical writer, make sure that you have the legal right to use an image in your technical document before doing anything with it. Period.

Then (assuming that you have the legal right to use the image in question) if you modify it, the new image is sometimes referred to as the “derivative” work or image.

An example: let’s say you buy a stock image of a kid eating a cone of ice cream on a background of a “school.” If you change the background in an image editor from a “school” to (let’s say) a beach or a movie theater, that would be considered changing the image. Then you would have a “derivative” image in your hands.

If such changes are done lawfully, as allowed in the copyright that accompanies the image, then it is not “doctoring.”

“Doctoring” an image is changing it “significantly”  without the original creator’s or vendor’s consent. It is against the law since it violates the image’s copyright conditions to which you’ve agreed.

However, minor color or brightness adjustments, or cropping an image or placing a border around it may not constitute “doctoring” since they may not be enough to change the original image “significantly.” That’s a gray area open to interpretation. When in doubt, only a licensed lawyer can decide if a change is “significant” or not.

It all depends on the copyright conditions of the image you buy or download and the kind of difference the modification makes in the original image.

Sometimes the copyright will allow you to change the image and make a new art work out of it and sometimes it won’t. It all depends on the conditions of the copyright contract you’re agreeing to.

If for example the image is in “public domain” then you can do anything you want with it except using it in an immoral or libelous manner.

(NOTE: This article is written for information purposes only and reflects my personal opinions based on my 20 years of experience as a writer and publisher. I’m not an attorney and am not pretending to be one. You should always consult a professional lawyer before arriving at any legal conclusions or making any business decisions.)

The Basics and Benefits of Image Compression

Thanks to technological advances and the advent of the internet, image files have become one of the most common file types to be used and shared today. But along with their convenience, image files are often large, making them difficult to store and transmit.

Some people do not have faith in image compression because they believe that compressing an image risks image quality. Others, having tried to magnify images they’ve found on the internet, have quickly discovered that image quality deteriorates.

While image compression does involve the removal of image data, it does not pose a risk to an image’s overall quality. Similarly, images on the internet have been optimized for faster download speeds when a surfer views a web page, and not necessarily optimized to preserve image quality. These kinds of misunderstanding are what often discourage individuals from compressing their images. As a result, they may experience frustration as they repeatedly attempt to transmit their uncompressed images over the web or email.

When the basics of image compression are understood, the benefits become much more apparent. There are two basic type of image compression: lossless and lossy. Both compression types remove data from an image that isn’t obvious to the viewer, but they remove that data in different ways.

Lossless compression works by compressing the overall image without removing any of the image’s detail. As a result the overall file size will be compressed, but only by a half to one third. Usually, lossless compression will be most effective on images with less color (such as a small image on a white background) as opposed to those with more color (such as a larger image with several shades of background color). When an image compressed using lossless is viewed, the image will actually uncompress and match the original image’s quality.

Lossy compression works by removing image detail, but not in such a way that it is apparent to the viewer. In fact, lossy compression can reduce an image to one tenth of its original size with no visible changes to image quality! Lossy compression is most often evident in JPEG images, and removes data from an image that, again, is not obvious to the viewer. For example, if an image contains 10000 pixels of green in different shades, lossy compression will save the color value of one pixel along with the locations of the other green pixels in the image. The different shades of green will be removed from the image, but the complete image will still be clearly viewable and easily interpretable by the viewer.

So what are the benefits of using compressed images? For one, the smaller file size that compression provides can take up much less room on your hard drive, web site or digital camera. It will also allow for more images to be recorded on other media, such as a photo CD. Compressed images also take less time to load than their more cumbersome originals, making it possible to view more images in a shorter period of time.

On the internet, compressed images not only reduce a web page’s uploading and downloading time (which keeps impatient surfers happy); they also take up less space on the server in terms of space and bandwidth. In email, compressed images take much less time to send and receive. If you or the recipient has a slower computer, compressed images will dramatically reduce the time wasted on downloading and viewing.

Overall, image compression is necessary in any instance where images need to be stored, transmitted or viewed quickly and efficiently. If you’re still skeptical, try downloading image compression software and run some tests on your own image collection. You just might wonder why you didn’t compress your images sooner.

Images of Tattoos – There is a Much Simpler Way to Find the Good Stuff

There’s no point to looking at images of tattoos is all you see is basic, generic stuff. In fact, most of the stuff you’re seeing is this awful, blurry, cookie cutter junk. It makes no sense to continue down that path, because seeing generic artwork can only lead to bad things, such as settling on something like that. If you want to see real, original images of tattoos, here’s how you’ll do it with ease.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much I hate cookie cutter tattoo art. Even sadder is the fact that over 80% of all people end up with generic tats. Most of them don’t do it on purpose, though. They do it because it’s all they could find, so they just “settled” on something. The worst part about this is that all of those folks end up regretting the fact that they stuck such a cookie cutter tat on themselves within a month or two. The quality of the images of tattoos you see can greatly influence the type of artwork you end up with. This is why you should really try to stay away form search engines when hunting for great artwork.

It might seem a bit drastic, but it’s really not. It’s just necessary. You will very rarely find any of the galleries that pack their pages with original, well drawn designs. They just don’t show up in their lists any more. A whole lot of generic laced websites do, though. This is why you need a new way to look for images of tattoos. You need a way that actually works for showing you all of the sensational image galleries out there. The best tool for this job will be large forums.

These huge forums are the perfect solution to this problem, because they have gigantic archives that are stuffed with topics about tattoo art. If you take a peek into some of the bigger ones, you can strip out names and links to every amazing gallery that other people have come across. People are constantly going back and forth, sharing and providing people with their recent findings of superb images of tattoos and the sites that are taking pride in posting the best available collections. It’s as simple as that.

The images of tattoos you get to see can have a very big influence on the type of artwork you choose for yourself.