Dec. 99 Article summary: This is a tutorial for using IrfanView32, a freeware to convert fabric swatches gleaned from the Internet to usable bitmap files that quilting software Fabric Libraries recognize.
7: December 1999 continued
Step 4: In Internet Explorer, select Save Picture As. In Netscape, select Save Image As. (see examples above.) This brings up the Save As Dialogue Box shown below.
Step 5: Click on the Up-One-Level Folder until the Desktop appears in the Save in: section as shown below.
Step 7: Your are now ready to save your fabric to the Internet Fabric Search Folder by clicking the Save button.
HINT: You may want to name each fabric something that makes sense to you for future reference. See example above. I have named the file to be saved hawaii4. Keep the name to 8 letters or less just for good measure (Quilt-Pro 2 users this is required) -- do not worry about the type of file it is -- remember we will be coverting all files to 256 color bitmaps in the next section of this tutorial.
NOTE: If you continue to save fabrics during this search session, the Save As dialogue box will automatically open up to the Internet Fabric Search Folder each time and you will not have to repeat the above steps. If you end the fabric downloading session and use the Save As dialogue box for something else, you will need to repeat the above steps.
Step 8: After you have saved several files, you are ready to convert your fabric images. Go to the Tutorial for using Irfanview32 below to see an easy way to convert multiple fabric image files at one. Best thing about IrafanView32 is it is a powerful, fast FREEWARE that meets our needs as gleaners of fabric swatches!
Converts fabric image files that are downloaded off the Internet like jpegs, gifs and pngs to a useable 256 colors or less bitmap format for the our quilting software fabric libraries.
Shows thumbnail views of a folder contents so that you can preview your downloads before converting them.
Act as your scanner destination program.
Lighten or darken your images.
Tweak, swap or change color settings to create new color versions of a fabric
Add special effects to create interesting variations to an image.
Can create a slideshow of your favorite images for show and tell.
IrfanView32 does much more than the above list, but for our quilting software purposes this is more than enough and remember, its FREE!
When you are ready to download IrfanView32, go to and find instruction on how to download the file and locate Irfanview32 under the Freeware section. It is a self-extracting file, just double-click on the file and it will automatically begin the process. FYI: this is the first freeware that I felt was good enough to go and ask permission to have a download zip file availabe to you right here on my website because I did not want to risk the link going dead like other downloads I have recommended.
Step 1: Install the IrfanView32 on your hard drive so that you can use it and open the program. See information above for where to download the program for FREE.
Step 2: To view Thumbnails of the contents of the Internet Fabric Search Folder:
Click on the File Menu and select Thumbnail
Better yet try the shortcut for simple opening and closing of the Thumbnail box by using the Shortcut Key T. Hit T again the Thumnail Viewer will close
Note: Remember I said easy-to-use, most of the shortcut keys are single keystrokes, much easier to remember and the ability to close the options by hitting the key again is wonderful!
Step 3: To view the specifics of a file size and to allow you to see the variations found in downloads for type of file, pixel size and the byte size, use the following option:
Click on the File Menu and select Open
Use the keyboard Shortcut Key O to open and close the Open dialogue box.
To select the folder that contains the downloaded internet files: Click on the Up-One-Level Folder until the Desktop appears in the Look in section.
Highlight the image you wish to see by clicking on the file name (see example above.)
NOTE:At the bottom of the Open dialgue box there is a section that gives you the detail of your image. Make sure sure that Preview active is checked. (see two example below for closeups of Preview details) IrfanView32 lists the details of the preview. This preview feature is not in found most graphic programs and yet here it is in a freeware! It is a very useful in helping you identify the variable found in your image. The most important to note, is the COLORS: both these examples shown are 32 bpp (meaning 16 million plus colors using 32bit imaging.) Remember, Electric Quilt 4 and Quilt-Pro 2 & 3 will accept only 256 colors. These images will require converting.
To preview the next image in the Internet Fabric Search use the keyboard up or arrow key (remember I said simple.)
Convert multiple fabric files at one time
Reduce the number of colors in a bitmap
Resize multiple files automatically
Step 1: To open the Batch Conversion dialogue box, use one of two methods:
Go to the File Menu and select Batch Conversion. (See File Menu example above.)
OR use the Shortcut keystroke B. (remember hitting B again will close the dialogue box)
Step 2: To select the destination file folder for your output/converted files: NOTE: you want a separate folder from your download files or your original files will be mixed with the converted files. This will make it difficult to import converted files into the Quilt Software fabric libraries.
Open the Browse for folder Window by clicking Browse. (See example above.)
Select the folder for Converted Fabrics or the destination folder of your choice from the Browse for Folder dialogue box (See example to the below.)
Step 3: To select the conversion options for the downloaded fabric files from the Set for all images dialogue box:
Check, select or fill in the appropiate boxes. (See example.)
Determine your optimum fabric file size. Somewhere between 100 to 200 pixels in width and height is best.**
Check Aspect ration so that the image does not distort or skew to something different when converting the file.
Check resample because it creates a better quality conversion.
If your fabric is colorful, select 256 colors. If you have downloaded solid type fabrics, 16 colors may be OK. Or limit your colors by using CUSTOM. (Remember the process is so simple, that you can redo with another color option if needed.)
**Too large of pixel image for fabric can cause program slowing, freezing or in EQ 4 error messages on importing.. Also the fabric may look like it is not filling the patch because the tiled view is only a tiny portion of the fabric. Therefore, it is best to stick with pixel sizes no greater than 200 in height or width.
Step 4: To select the file formating to save your files to: Click the arrow and select BMP-Windows Bitmap.
Step 5: To select the folder that contains the fabric files for conversion: Click on the Up-One-Level Folder until the Desktop appears in the Look in section. (See example below.)
Then select the Internet Fabric Search Folder or the folder your files are in, your files will list in the white box to the right. (See example below.)
Step 6: The fabric files to be converted to the selected options in Step 2 must be moved to the left Files box. (See example below.) To move the files from the right to the left Files box, you can use several methods:
Highlight 1 file from the right list shown above and click Add.
To move all the files from the right to left Files list, click Add All
To select a portion of the right list in order, hold down the shift key and select the first file and the last file (all files between the two will hightlight). Click Add.
To move random files from the right list to the left Files list, hold down the Control keyboard key and select the files you want to move and click Add.
To remove a fabric file from the left Files list, select Remove.
To remove all the files from the left Fiels list, select Remove All.
Step 6: To convert all the files listed in the Files box: Click .
Now that you have converted the fabric files, you want to preview them to see if the conversion produced the results you want. Sometimes a bitmap conversion to a smaller file can result in darker image or a color change. This problem often arises when converting a large image. IranView32 allows you to quickly preview each fabric conversion and make adjustments if necessary.
Step 1: To open your fabric files: (See example above.)
Click on the File Menu and select Open. (see example below.)
OR use the Shortcut Key O. Hit O again the Open dialogue box will close.
Step 2: To select the folder that contains the downloaded internet files: Click on the Up-One-Level Folder until the Desktop (or the location of the folder of your fabric images) appears in the Look in section.
Step 3: Open the fabric you wish to view:
Double-click on the fabric name with the left mouse.
Click on the fabric to highlight and click the OPEN button
Step 4: To quickly preview the next fabric file in the folder, click the keyboard spacebar. (Remember I said this was an easy program). Repeat TIL you have viewed all the fabrics and determined which ones might require some tweaking.
Step 5: After returning to the fabric that needs lighten or darken or to create a number of lighter and darker variations of a fabric, I have found that the Gamma Correction option is a great choice.
In the top Menu Bar, click Image.
From the Image Menu Select Gamma Correction and the below dialogue box will appear. s
Here are two variations of a converted fabric to show how dramatic of a change you can get with gamma.
Now I have two fabric of the same style for my library and I could have made more.
Well now you are ready to fly on own! Here are some ideas to follow:
There are several more options for changing color, swapping colors, and more under the Image File Menu. Experiment here and find out how easy making fabric variations are.
Use Capture under the Options menu to snag a picture of your favorite quilt on the screen and send it to your buddies.
Use Wallpaper under the Options menu to set your favorite image as the computer desktop picture centered or tiled without having to go into Windows Display options.
Use Effects under the Options menu to play around and create new inspiring images for quilt, fabric and other things.
Create a slideshow of your favorite imaes using Slideshow under the File Menu.Check out Sort Directory files under the Options menu to see additional details about your files.
Use IrfanView32 as your scanner desitination file. Find Twain Source under the File Menu and then use Aquire to bring in the scanned image. (I will be doing a tutorial on this in a future issue of Computer Quilting BYTES).
Remember, IrfanView32 can be downloaded right here. For instruction on how to download and the file, go to and locate Irfanview under the Freeware section. It is a self-extracting file, just double-click on it and it will automatically begin the install proceedure.