Early on in documenting some of my work on this project, I noted needing to use VIPS to massage images enough to get them working in IIPImage. Since creating a proof of concept and showing it to Professor Botsman (and since being overwhelmed with other work), we’ve decided to bump up the size of the images in the website. This time, using VIPS is not as much a necessity as an affirmative choice for streamlining the workflow a bit.
Our scroll was scanned at a high resolution, and appropriately so. The TIFFs output by the reproduction process are in the realm of 250 Mb per file at 400 ppi, and there are some 30 files. Doing the stitching to get all the images into a single scroll leaves you with a file over the 4 Gb standard TIFF ceiling. While there’s a BigTIFF format option, it’s not supported by Photoshop CS 5.5, which is what our machines have. (And besides, since we are not predominantly a graphics shop, we don’t have machines that are quite specked out enough to make handling all these files anything but dreadfully slow.) Re-enter VIPS, which will allow me to batch process the original TIFFs down to web-appropriate 72 ppi while keeping the pixel dimensions and allowing for some compression and thus filesize reduction.