Uploading jobs - package images option in tsIOS

Applies to: tsIOS

When uploading jobs to the Timestone Internet Ordering System (IOS), choices are available with respect to both the images used to display the packages on offer and whether to upload all or just some subject images. These options are selected in the Image Handling section of tsIOS and are set on a job by job basis.

This document discusses package images - the various options available to depict how products are displayed in IOS. For a discussion of subject image options refer to the article Uploading jobs - subject image options in IOS

Figure 1: Image handling options in tsIOS

Package images

A unique feature of IOS is the choices available with respect to how to represent the products on offer. Real time live rendering displays products with the selected images giving the customer a live preview of their completed products. On the other hand the photographer may wish to use 'static' graphics to represent their products. This is needed when images are not yet available (pre-ordering before photography).

  • Render (real time) - a process also referred to as 'live rendering'
  • Use preview - 'static' graphics are used to represent each package
  • Use preview if defined - 'static' graphics are used where defined otherwise live rendering is used

The preferred method is selected in the 'Package images' section of tsIOS as illustrated in Figure 1 above

Render (real time)

Live rendering displays the selected subject image inside the packages thus providing a real time, live preview of the products. Furthermore if the package includes a composite product (from NeoComposite or CompositeBuilder) or a group product from (NeoGroup or GroupBuilder) the customer will see the actual rendered composite or group belonging to the subject.

How live rendering works

Real time rendering works by uploading the templates required by the job's offer. Once online, selecting an image and a product effectively puts the image inside the template and renders the finished product in an analogous way to that formed by the Print queues in NeoPackProfessional for example.

Uploading a job for live rendering uploads the job's templates. If tsIOS cannot find a template when uploading. an error is received. For composite and named groups the page must be first formed in NeoComposite or NeoGroup before uploading the job.

Examples of live rendering

Examples of real time rendering are available on our demo website. Each of the following three links presents a different subject for the same job. Note each subjects' image is in the products - giving the customer a real preview of their products




Live rendering and customer versions of templates

As stated, live rendering places the image into the templates for the selected product. However since templates in NeoPackProfessional are normally designed with printing in mind rather than viewing they can sometimes look less than desirable from a customer's viewpoint. Customer versions of templates solve this problem and are described in the following document

Customer versions of templates

Example of live rendering with customer versions of templates

The link below shows a set of packages that have been defined with customer versions of templates. The template has been designed in the manner of a promotional graphic but instead of static, generic graphics, the subject's image is used.


Static graphics - use preview always

When images are not yet available (such as when ordering prior to photography), live rendering will leave blank 'holes' in the products where the images should be. In these cases the preferred method is to use static graphics for each package.

Such graphics are set in the Timestone Administrator.

  1. Launch tsAdministrator
  2. Select the appropriate offer
  3. Select the Online tab
  4. For each package set a preview graphic by double clicking the 'Preview' window and browsing to the desired graphic
  5. A 'Blurb' may also be entered - text that is displayed to describe the package

Figure 3: Using previews along with some 'blurb'

The 'Use previews only' option does not upload subject images since they are not needed to give a preview of the products. If you wish to upload images but use previews for all packages use the 'Use previews where available' option described below.

Example of previews only

The link below is an example where only fixed graphic previews are used to depict the packages. No matter what shoot key is used the customer will see the same package previews


Use preview if defind

It is possible to use a combination of live rendering and preview graphics. The 'Use previews if available' option will use the preview if one is defined for a package otherwise it will use live rendering. This makes the option ideal for say, sports jobs where products such as key chains and water bottles are best displayed with a preview while products such as memory mates can use live rendering.

Example of live rendering and previews in the same offer

The link below is an example where the 'Use previews if defined' option has been used. Note the water bottle and mug are static graphics while the other products render the subject's image.


Unlike the previous option 'Use previews if defined' will upload and display subject images. This makes the option ideal if you would like the customer to view and select their images but use static previews for the packages. In this case simply set a preview for each package.

End of article