Red Hartebeeste, 8 x 10 Pastel (O, P), from photo by A. Phillips
Last summer my relative gave me six Kodak Photo CDs filled with wild animal photos he took when he went to South Africa around 2001, telling me I could do whatever I liked with them. I created one pastel (shown here), but then hadn’t done much more because this out-of-date format is difficult to work with and I couldn’t get very good resolution. They were barely good enough to make a 4 x 5 print.
My geek husband helped me figure them out, and now they will be much more useful. I thought I’d share, though you may need some tech help.
The CD-ROMS include .PCD image files. When you can manage to open these with a program such as PhotoImpact (wonderful ancient program I had on my XP system last summer but which doesn’t install on my new Win 7 system) or Microsoft Photo Editor (which opens them now), they may not be in the best resolution. This is because each .PCD file includes several resolutions, but the software mentioned seems to just pick its favorite.
So he had a program on his Linux box, Image Magick, which was able to convert them, and then we were able to install the application on my Windows 7. I’m sorry, some of this is going to be pretty user-unfriendly, but maybe it will help.
We downloaded ImageMagick-6.8.5-3-Q16-x86-windows.zip, extracted it to the Program Files directory, and added its path to the path variable. We logged out and logged back in to update the path, then opened a CMD window and typed “convert /?” There should be several pages of stuff scrolling by. If it’s only a half page, you didn’t set the path right, and it’s running the wrong convert program. Once you have it, the command line is something like this: “convert D:\PHOTO_CD\IMAGES\img0017.pcd img0017.tiff” So CONVERT, then the source file, then no space and you put  to get the highest resolution out, and then a space and the target file. It seems to know what type you want to make based on the filename extension. So that I can do this without retyping it, I saved this text into a .BAT file which is just a text file with a .bat extension, and the computer runs it instead of editing it. When I want to convert a file, I open my ConvertPix.BAT file to edit the target and source files, and then save and run it. Then I can open the target file with Photoshop. Janky, but it works.
Iguana, Kruger Nat’l Park, by A. Phillips
Using this method, these 4M .pcd files made 18M .tiff files, 3072 x 2048 pixels. At 300 ppi, which is considered “high res” and what I use for my .tif scans of my artwork for making prints, these converted images will make a 6.8″ x 10.25″ print. Possibly they would still look good larger, at lower than 300 ppi. Image shown is compressed for the internet.
These images have been on these CD-ROMS for 12 years. It’s probably time to back them up.