iPhone Wallpaper

Chat about the original Pixelmator.
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2019-05-20 00:26:12

I'm no dummy. I've been a software developer for a long, long time. I have advanced degrees. I've sucessfully worked with the most Rube-Goldbergian systems ever created, so I know it's not that I'm simple-minded. But every.single.time I need to work with images, I want to bang my head against my desk, fall to my knees pleading, pleading to the heavens...WHY, WHY is this so hard for me to understand!?! Am I missing some sort of gene? Is my brain defective in some way?!? WHY? WHY?

I have a photo. One simple photo of my daughter. When I try to set it as my iPhone wallpaper, it is too wide. I can't pinch it down enough to fit my iPhone XR. I say to myself, "Self, you own a copy of Pixelmator. It must be a simple thing to make the image smaller."

I've now wasted the last hour and a half trying to use Image...Image Size to make a smaller image. No matter what I do, the image on my phone appears to be the same size but just of lower resolution.

Sure, if you're a graphics person, you're laughing your rear end off at me thinking this is the simplest and most obvious problem ever. Sure. Have your laugh. I totally get it. I would laugh too if I FRIGGING knew what the heck to do.

I'm begging for help. Please. Before I lose my mind. How do I make this photo smaller? It is currently 1647x1749.

Sincerely,

Sharon

P.S. I have been in this same situation so many times, I'm clearly at the end of my rope with this image stuff.
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2019-05-20 08:06:06

Hi Sharon.
The first step toward solving a problem is understanding it. I could be wrong (I often am), but I'm thinking that the problem is aspect ratio. The image size is 1647×1749. The resolution of an iPhone XR screen is 826×1792. So, when you attempt to place the image, your iPhone is making sure that the entire screen is covered by image and isn't letting you make it so small that it won't match the height of the display. Consequently I imagine it's cropping the sides of the image off. Resizing the image won't help as it's still the same aspect ratio.
So let's give the phone an image that it'll like. The resolution of an iPhone XR screen is 826×1792. So let's create an image that size and insert your picture in there. So, in Pixelmator, create a new image 826×1792 pixels. The iPhone screen has a resolution of 326ppi so let's use that value, too. Next, get your image in there. Dragging and dropping it is the easiest way. Resize it and place it to taste.
Now we run into the same problem that your phone did. Your image won't cover the whole canvas so we'll have to fill the empty space with something. You could just add a colour (grab the background layer in the layers palette (⌘2 to show/hide) pick a colour and hit ⌘delete to fill the layer) or do what lots of YouTube users do when they have a video the wrong aspect ratio, fill the missing space with a blurred zoomed copy.
If you want to give this a go, duplicate the layer (right click in layers palette and Duplicate). Select the lower of the two identical layers. Resize it to be slightly bigger than the canvas and give it a Gaussian Blur (⌘3 to show/hide effects, in the blurs, select Gaussian Blur and drag it onto the canvas or double-click). Adjust to taste. You may also want to brighten or darken this layer to make the image pop (in Effects, Color Adjustment, Brightness, drag to canvas or double-click).
Make any other changes you want. When you have the image to your satisfaction add the image to Photos (Share > Add to Photos), wait a few seconds/minutes for everything to synchronise, then go into Photos on you iPhone and set the image that has just appeared as your wallpaper.
I realise that there's a lot in there and that I've been rather wordy. Maybe all I needed to say was 'aspect ratio'.
If I've got anything wrong, am barking up the wrong tree of if anything is unclear, or if you're just plain stuck, just come back and post a reply. I'll do what I can to help. If not, I'm sure that someone else will.
Hope this helps.
- Stef.
(Instructions based on Pixelmator 3.8.3 for Mac. Let me know if you're using a different version and I'll do what I can to adapt.)
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2019-05-20 10:56:57

No, no, I think you are definitely barking up the right tree. I have the same version of Pixelmator and will give this a try once I drop aforementioned daughter off at school.

Back soon!
Sharon
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2019-05-20 13:35:54

There's also a quick and dirty (non-Pixelmator) fix and I'm kicking myself because I only just thought of it. Part of me hopes you go down the Pixelmator route because it has so much more elegance and flexibility but I really have to mention this just because of how ludicrously fast this is.

On your iPhone:
1. Find the image in Photos.
2. Frame it how you want. There will be limitations: you can zoom, but the image will be always be vertically centred with black letterbox bars top and bottom.
3. Tap to remove the UI then stare at your phone while you wait for the bottom 'home' bar to disappear.
4. Screenshot the image by pressing the volume up and power buttons simultaneously.
5. Find the screenshot you just took and set it as your wallpaper.
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2019-05-20 21:38:16

Halleluja!! st3f, thank you so much for your help! I tried the approach you suggested from your first reply. Holy mackerel!...It worked! I was able to try both a solid color background and a blurred background to see which one I liked best. This has been the first time that I've been able to successfully change an image size! Woo hoo! (Note to self, next time, ask for help, tone down the crazy lady stuff, etc. etc.)

So I guess the idea is to set my "canvas" (?) size first, then layer in the image rather than pushing and pulling the image like an old piece of Silly Putty?

Anyway, many thanks for your help again. (I preferred the Pixelmator approach as it gave me a great chance to learn something new.)

My best,
Sharon
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2019-05-20 22:46:03

You're very welcome. Like most things in life there's no fixed order of doing things and I tend to work with the mantra, "Do what works." In this case I recommmended setting the canvas size up-front as you had a specific output that you needed. Other times, your work may be more organic and an aspect ratio for the final image may only suggest itself as you develop it. Play, have fun, and keep learning.
All the best.
- Stef.