While preparing any kind of imagery for storytelling, digital picture books etc., sometimes we will need to edit images. Although there are many programs for image editing, beginners might find them too difficult to navigate – that is, until we learn some basic steps in simpler programs.
It is quite important to remember that no matter what type of images we use, we should always use visually clear images – crisp images without any watermarks. There is a plethora of free image databases where we can find images to use, such as:
PIXABAY (you can choose “photos” or even “illustrations”)
TWINKLE – this is a platform dedicated to teachers where you can find many illustrations from well-known fairy tales (in the search area, write the name of the story and then “sequencing”, in order to find images following the plot of the story).
Before editing any images, it might be beneficial to mention that there are many image formats. The most common image format is .jpg. While an JPG image may be appropriate when using it as a background image in our digital stories, characters we wish to animate should be illustrations/images in PNG format. In the image below, you can see the difference between a JPG and PNG image. What can you notice?
*If you wish to check what type of image you have, just click with the RIGHT mouse button on the image file on your computer and then on “Properties”. A window will show up where you can see the name of the file and the appropriate format.
Unlike JPG images that consist of a shown element (Red Riding Hood) and a (white) background, a PNG image allows us to see only the character, without its background, which may be very useful when making a visually attractive digital picture book. Look at the example below…
So, how can we find or make a PNG file?
The simplest way is – search for it on the internet!
Using Google images or any other search engine, write the term you are looking for and simply add .png.
For example, in a search engine, we could write “wolf.png” or “wolf ISOLATED” (which means we are looking for an image that shows a wolf isolated from the background).
On our computer screen, that image will probably look like the image shown below, with a checkered background. However, if the image is PNG, once downloaded, the background won’t be visible anymore.
Sometimes, we will want to isolate a part of an image from its background ourselves, and for that, we will need a little bit of effort and – a MAGIC WAND!
Choose an image which you wish to work on. You can remove the background using a free platform – PHOTOSCISSORS. In images with a simpler background, the program will automatically recognize the background and remove it.
Explore the program and when you are done with image editing, simply click on the disk icon in the right upper corner and save the image as a PNG file.
In its free version, this platform offers removing the background in images with lower resolution, but the quality is usually good enough for beginners in image editing.
Download and install the free program Paint.net.
Watch the video tutorial and learn how to use this simple program to remove the image background and make a JPG image into a PNG image that can be used in making digital picture books.