Gathering Your Source Materials

Before you start importing your files into Album, it's a good idea to gather all your source material. Granted, you don't have to get every digital image you've gathered over the years into Album in one sitting, but may find the process to be more time efficient if you have some materials handy before you get started on the first import session. Here are some items you may want to round up:

^ Digital camera: If you have images stored in your camera, connect your camera to the computer. Or if you're using a memory card (CompactFlash, SmartMedia and so on), insert the card into your reader or adapter, which should also be connected to the computer. If you have a digital video camera, connect that to your computer as well.

^ Photo CDs: If you have had images burned to a Photo CD by your photofinisher or service bureau, and you want to have a record and thumbnail of those images, be sure and import them into Album. You can store the actual, high-, or full-resolution files offline, which means Album retains only the low-resolution proxy version of the files on your hard drive, and prompts you for the Photo CD when it needs to access the actual file.

A proxy is like a stand-in image for the real thing. For more on storing images offline, see the section, "Importing Photos from CDs, DVDs, and Adobe Sources," later in this chapter.

^ Picture CDs: These CDs, which are offered by Kodak photofinishing centers, contain digital copies of your prints. You may even have some really old digital copies of your prints on, gasp, floppy disks. The images are low resolution and in JPEG file format, which is great for posting on the Web or e-mailing. But they may not be appropriate for creations that you will ultimately print.

If the only digital version of an image that you have is a low-resolution JPEG, you may want to rescan the prints yourself at a higher resolution. For more on resolution and format, see Chapter 3.

^ Stock photography CDs: If you have acquired any stock photo CDs, you may want to have a record of the images within Album. As with Photo CDs, you can store the full-resolution files offline so your hard drive space isn't eaten up.

^ CDs and DVDs: Dust off those CDs and DVDs to which you dutifully burned archived photos, video clips, and audio clips. Although you can't import music directly off a music CD, Album does recognize MP3 files. So any music that you have either converted to or downloaded in the MP3 format can be imported. For more on acceptable file formats, see Chapter 3.

^ Prints, slides, or negatives that need scanning: It's time to dig out those photo albums, binders, and shoeboxes that contain years of memories. You can scan and store the images in a folder on your hard drive and import them from your hard drive, or you can import them directly into Album via the scanner. For details, see "Getting Photos from a Scanner," later in this chapter.

If you have a lot of photos to scan, you might want to hire a sharp, quick-learning neighborhood teenager (or maybe you have one in the family) who will scan for meager wages. However, before anyone scans anything, be sure to check out Chapter 3 on resolution. Believe me, you don't want to do this job twice.

i Videotapes that need digitizing: Those priceless home movies need to be digitized in order to get them into Album. If you don't have the hardware and software to digitize tape, some service centers will do it for you for a reasonable fee. Album accepts Motion JPEG (commonly saved as AVI), MPEG-1 (MPG), QuickTime (MOV), and Audio/Video Interleaved (AVI) formats.

i URLs of Web sites that contain images you want: If you and your family and friends have shared photos online on Web sites such as Shutterfly.com, MSN Photo.com, and others, you may want to have those URLs handy so you can download those images and import them to Album.

i Removable disks: If you have files stored on Zip disks, Jaz disks,

Bernoulli disks, or even floppy disks, have them at the ready so you can "insert and import."

i External hard drives: If you have any external hard drives that you use for data storage, make sure they're connected and ready to go.

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