Photographs and Photo Administration XXXX

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The Aspect Property Manager has the ability to carry an unlimited number of photos for landlords, properties, tenants and suppliers.  It goes without saying the photos about properties will be the primary usage.

When it has become necessary photos of tenants has been used effectively by debt collectors and bailiffs.  It is very difficult to deny you are "Mr Brown" when the bailiff has your photo in his hand!  In apartment blocks tenant photos can be used a security measure.  Just make sure that the tenancy agreement includes the taking of photos as a pre-condition to being granted the tenancy.  You may be surprised who doesn't want the tenancy once a photo is required.

We anticipate photos of landlords and suppliers will have a much lower usage but providing a tenant with a photo of the tradesman who is coming in to their home may be helpful.  A picture of your landlord may remind you who you are talking to.

The following is temporary Photo help 

Introduction to Photo Help

The main features are :-
  • Photos are part of the database itself rather than being images in a disk directory.
  • Photos may be captured directly from a camera or scanned or loaded from a file.
  • The camera photo size is now irrelevant as photos are re-sized when loading into the database.
  • Photos may be rotated and cropped within the Aspect Property Manager.
  • Any number of photos may be assigned to a property, landlord, tenant or supplier.
  • Photos may have a caption and a description entered.
  • The backup routine allows for the (database) photos to be included in the backup or backed up separately.
  • Web page output of vacated properties creates now upload files for REINZ and TradeMe.
  • Important  When loading from a file only jpg (jpeg) images will now be processed.

    In the following explanations only property photos will be discussed as, in the main, the same process is used when dealing with landlord, tenant or supplier photos. Where exceptions exist hopefully the text makes that clear.

    Similarly the directory structure discussed assumes the Aspect Property Manager default directories are used and may need interpretation if you have installed or changed the defaults.

    If you have any doubts about any of these items please contact Aspect Systems for assistance.


    Directory structure change
    Because loading photos into the Aspect Property Manager may be done directly from a camera etc the previous directory structure requirement is no longer needed.  However, the ...\PropMan Photos directory is still provided should you wish to retain "full size" camera copies.

    Basic Photo Loading

    Select the property whose photos you wish to load and press [Photos]
    Press [Add] (the plus sign)
    Select the location / device from which the photos are to be loaded.  When selecting a device most often the device with "WIA" (Windows Image Aquisition) will be the one you will use.
    Select and load the photo(s) required.

    Now Enter Photo Information
  • Enter a caption and a further description as required.
  • Place ticks in the "Views" check boxes where you want to have this photo available.  More on Views later.
  • Click the tick to save the photo, caption, description and views required to the database.

    Repeat the steps above to add more photos.

    The photo may be rotated or cropped by editing the photo once it has been saved, see more on this later in the Photo Sizing section.


    Accessing Photos

    New Concepts

    Views
    From V3.10.0.0 onwards property photos can be managed by categorising each photo by who is able to "see" them.  This grouping has been termed a "view".  Any photo can be used in any number of views.

    Photos assigned to one property can be assigned to any one of (currently) six Views; Internal Use, Landlords View, Public, REINZ Upload, Trade Me Upload, Web pages plus the All Photos view.  There is only one photo stored in the database but who can see it is based on the View(s) assigned.  For example:- in the case of the REINZ, any ten photos can be selected, and Trade Me will accept any 20 photos.  You can restrict damage photos to "Internal Use".  Public would be available for flyers, your own website and so on.  The order of the photos within each view may be unique to that view.

    Occasionally a photo may be stored multiple times in the database and this is shown by the example of an apartment block which could have more than one property using the same photo of the exterior of the building itself, or common areas such as the swimming pool, gym etc.  The one camera photo will be stored multiple times within the database in this situation.  Since the size of the photos within the database will generally be much smaller than the camera image there will most often still be a sizable disk space saving.

    Image Size
    For consistency, especially for display and reports, all photos are by default converted to the same height regardless of having a portrait or landscape orientation.  You may override this preset on any individual photo if you wish.  The initial default height is set to 600 pixels which will give widths of 800 pixels landscape and 450 pixels for portrait.  This initial default height may be set to your own requirement in which case the width will scale proportionally.

    Photo Retention
    Once the photo has been loaded into the database the original camera photo can be deleted from the camera or the "originals" saved to the disk using your normal camera software.  While you are coming to grips with the new photo processing method you may like to keep the camera photos so they may be re-loaded if you decide to change the default size of the photos.  See the Photo Sizing section below.

    Exporting Photos from the Database
    Photos in the database may be exported and saved to the disk to be used for advertising flyers, attachments to emails, letters or be embedded in the text of printed letters.  As covered later the view assignment makes it simple to export just the photos you want to use in a particular situation.  For example you may wish to send the landlord photos of the newly painted exterior say.  Providing those photos are in the Landlords View they may be exported as a group for attachment to an email.


    How to Access photos
    On the Properties main screen press [Photos].  The new window may be resized, the central vertical splitter moved and the Navigator Bar operates as elsewhere in the Aspect Property Manager.  The left hand "index panel" displays a system generated PhotoId, any Caption you wish to add to a photo, a thumbnail image and the location from which the photo was loaded into the database.  Note that once it has been loaded into the database the original "camera" photo may be deleted to save disk space and although the original location (and name) is still shown it may no longer contain the photo.

    Description of other screen items

    The photo size (in pixels) is shown at the top centre.

    When loading a photo the "Override Sizing" checkbox permits you to load the photo into the database at the full size of the original camera image.  In most cases this will simply waste disk space and not improve the quality of any image you print, or attach to, or embed in an email.  See the Photo Sizing discussion below.  The size of the image is displayed after the system assigned PhotoID number.

    The "Export the Photos" buttons.  There are three buttons, two on the tab shown above and the third on the "Arrange the Views" tab.  These buttons allow you to export any photo(s) from the database to the hard disk for external use such as attaching to an email, or for use in a flyer, or as damage exhibits at a tribunal hearing etc.  The two buttons on the tab displayed above allow you to export a single photo or all the photos of the property.  The button on the "Arrange the Views" tab exports only the photos assigned to the view chosen.

    The Load Photo button only becomes active when adding a new photo or editing an existing one and is used to reload the photo.  Examples of use would be; having cropped a photo and saved it you want the original photo back; or you have attached the wrong photo to the property; or the house has been repainted or decorated and you want the new livery to be shown.  By reloading the photo any caption and description and view selections are retained with only the photo changing.

    To have a full size image double click either the thumbnail in the left-hand panel or the larger image on the lower right.  The full sized image may now be rotated or cropped by first clicking the Edit button on the Navigator Bar then performing the required action.  Remember to save any changes by clicking the [OK] or [Save] (tick) button.
     

    Arrange the Views tab
    This tab allows you to organise the order in which photos will be displayed or printed.  It also will allow you to group photos taken at different times together, e.g. damage before and after repairs in the kitchen.  Select the view in which you wish to change the viewing order then select the photo to be moved then use the up and down arrows.  The order of photos in each view may be different to other views.  The default order is the PhotoId which is the order in which the photos were loaded.

    Photos may be removed from a view by using the "Remove from View" button.  What a surprise!  This is the same as editing the photo on the "all photos" tab and removing the Views tick.  Removing a photo from a view does not delete the photo from the database.

    Where the maximum number of photos allowed in a view is exceeded a warning will be issued.  The extra photos will be viewable but any file uploading will take the first "x" photos and ignore the remainder.

    Most Important
    The [OK] and [Cancel] buttons refer to any changes you have made to the order of photos in the view AND any "removal" of a photo from the view.  If you do not click [OK] and just click [Close] or move to the All Photos tab the changes will NOT be saved.  If you realise a mistake has been made before pressing [OK] then [Cancel] will "undo" the changes made and you can start again.


    Photo Administration

    Go to Admin menu > Photo Administration for other entries now associated with photo processing.

    Select Photo Size sets the default image size of the photos as they are loaded into the database.  As mentioned above you can only select the height of the photo which, unless you modify it, will default to 600 pixels which will give widths of 800 pixels landscape and 450 pixels for portrait orientation.  If you think 600 is too small or too large you may be set the height to your own requirements in which case the width will scale proportionally.  See the Photo Sizing section below for more information.


    Reload Photos from original locations.
    This menu entry applies to both photos which had the "old style" 1234-0.jpg file naming and any other naming convention you use such as those discussed in the "Directory structure change" section at the start of this temporary help.

    The reload function can overcome the "lost" photo problem by giving you the opportunity to leave in place any database photos which no longer have the initial photo in the original location.  However, all the photos must be selected manually.

    As in the Bulk Load option it will also allow you to resize the photos being imported should that be desired.  

    Photo Views Set Up
    This menu entry sets up the manner in which the photos are controlled when they are loaded into the system and subsequently displayed on the "Arrange the Views" tab.

    Users should not make changes to these entries without guidance.

    This entry would normally only be used in situations such as; if a new upload interface was introduced (e.g. Trade and Exchange), and the entry had to be made manually; Or a cheaper price was offered (from say Trade Me) if you load fewer photos. 

    If you wish to limit the number of photos sent to a lower number you may reduce the maximum number of photos entered against the REINZ and Trade Me Upload entries.


    Other Functions XXXX  ????

    There are now three entries associated with placing vacant properties on your web pages.  The Create Web Pages is the choice used when using "model" Html pages or transferring an Access database.  It is followed by two entries for uploading files, one to upload files to Realenz and the second to Trade Me.  As other public web sites provide this capability they will be added to this sub menu.  If you have such a requirement please let us know.  Uploading to your own web site is handled differently.  More information on these processes can be found below.


    Web Page Setup

    Matching Suburbs for Realenz and Trade Me

    For your uploaded properties to let to be displayed in the correct place on the Realenz and / or Trade Me websites it is necessary to match the suburbs which you may have entered into the Aspect Property Manager to suburbs which are recognised by the website software.

    For example you may have properties available for rent which are in a locality known as Highbury but this may not be a recognised suburb as far as the Realenz or Trade Me website software goes.  The suburb matching process allows you to retain the properties within the Aspect Property Manager as being in the "Suburb" of Highbury but when you send a "listing" off to Realenz or Trade Me the listing will be shown in their "approved suburb of say Birkenhead.

    Note that it is possible for Realenz or Trade Me to have different approved suburbs such that your vacant Highbury listings appear on the Realenz website in Birkenhead while on the Trade Me website they are in Northcote.  Your own website would show them in Highbury.


    Setting up the web page provider details and creating web page data

    Setting up your web page provider details was previously located on the Company Details > Web Pages tab and is now found on the Admin menu > Upload Files > Realenz or Trade Me > Create Trade Me Upload files > Setup tab.  The Setup tab is at the bottom of the window.  There are (currently) three different upload options:-

    Setting up your web page provider details was previously located on the Company Details > Web Pages tab and is now found on the Admin menu.  There are (currently) three different upload options:-
  • The first - Admin menu > Create Web Pages is used to upload data to your own website using either the model templates, or by transferring an Access database containing pre-selected information.  The information required is on the Admin menu > Create Web Pages > Setup tab which is located at the bottom of the window. You will also need the FTP address and login details from your web page provider.  Most often that will be your own ISP.
  • The second - Admin menu > Upload files > Realenz is for use only by Realenz members.  To use this function you will need to obtain the data shown on the screen image below from Realenz and enter the details shown on the Setup tab which is located at the bottom of the window.
  • The third - Admin menu > Upload files > Trade Me Upload files uploads vacant property information to Trade Me.  To use this function you will need to obtain the data shown on the screen image below from Trade Me and enter the details shown on the Setup tab which is located at the bottom of the window.

    For more details on the "own web pages" and Realenz options see the main help topics.  Trade Me is new but the general requirements are much the same as Realenz.


    Photo Sizing, Pixels, Rotating and Cropping

    Photo Sizing
    This section attempts to briefly explain what happens when photos, or any image, is resized.

    What's a pixel?
    Firstly images are most often referred to as having/being so many pixels.  Like so many things in computing the term pixel has many meanings which doesn't help any explanation.  If you want more information try Wikipedia.  In loose terms a pixel is an area of an image which may be the equivalent of a single dot on your screen, or a single dot on your printed output, however, the "dot" in both cases may be the equivalent of several "dots" of information in the disk file but which can only occupy a single dot/pixel on the screen or paper.

    As a simplistic example.
    If you "draw" a line across your screen one "pixel" high and say 2 cms long the image will for our example will contain 200 pixels.  If that is saved as (say) a jpeg file and then image/photo processing software is used to resize that image so the line is now 20cms long we really need 2000 pixels to draw the line properly.  So the software spreads out our 200 pixels does its best to fill in the gaps between the "true" image pixels (dots if you like).  In the case of a straight line in black that is not so much of a problem but if the line is curvy or has a range of colours the software will have to guess what should be in the generated pixels and will try and average out colour changes or changes in direction.  That's why curved lines or those on a slant becomes zigzags when they are resized upwards.

    In the case of a line which consisted of 2000 pixels to start with the reverse applies.  We have to drop 9 out of 10 pixels from the original image and once they have gone they have gone for good.  Resizing the downsized image back up to its original 2000 pixels means the guesswork in the preceding paragraph happens.

    Now consider an image such as a photo which has two dimensions and potentially millions of colour shades, shapes, curves, lines, shadows and so on.  If we downsize the image we lose heaps of definition which can not be restored by resizing the image upwards.

    It is not all doom and gloom though because the current (and foreseeable) printer and screen technology is such that the really high definition photos from a digital camera are generally well over anything a printers or screen can not display so they do not print/display each individual camera pixel.  So a lower definition photo can be used for web pages, flyers etc without detracting from the picture as we see or print it.  Try it out by taking the same picture at the highest and lowest settings your camera will permit and have a look at them.  The high definition one will be too big to print on a page and probably occupy more than your screen size unless it is scaled down in which case you have lost some of the definition forever.

    Camera image size vs database image size
    The Aspect Property Manager now allows you to set a "standard" default size of all the photos you load into your database.  As said above the standard height is 600 pixels which may be changed if you wish.  Thus any photo loaded, regardless of the size produced by your camera will be automatically resized (pixels taken out most often or added in much less) to this height and the width scaled accordingly.  This provides a uniform vertical height on any images printed or displayed.

    When you send a photo to Realenz or Trade Me, in fact probably any website, it will be resized by their software to fit within their rules as well.


    Rotating and cropping images

    You may have taken photos while holding your camera both horizontally and vertically and need to rotate them so they appear the "right way up", or there may be only a portion of the photo you want to display.  To rotate or crop a photo first select the photo on the "All the photos "tab then click the larger image at the bottom right (circled).

    The full size database image will then be displayed.  

    Click the [Edit] button on the Navigator Bar then rotate the image with the Clockwise and Anticlockwise buttons.

    To select just a portion of the photo to be retained press the [Edit] button, outline the area you wish to retain by holding the left mouse button down and dragging the cursor, then press Crop.  The Aspect Property Manager will enlarge the selected area to the full database image size.  If you like what you see click the tick to save your changes.  If you don't like what you have done press the "X" [Cancel] button on the Navigator Bar and try again