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The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the worth-a-thousand-words dept.

173

Michael J. Ross writes "To modify a digital image, most computer users turn to a GUI-based image processing application, such as Photoshop. However, while Photoshop and many other similar programs can process multiple images in batch mode, they still require manual usage, and thus typically are unable to process images via a command line or within a second application. Those capabilities call for a programmatic digital image manipulation tool such as ImageMagick, which is explored in a relatively new book, The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick." Read the rest of Michael's review.

The author of this title is Michael Still, a programmer who gained experience with ImageMagick during his eight years of working on imaging applications, as well as writing articles on ImageMagick for IBM DeveloperWorks. Apress maintains a Web page for the title, where a visitor can purchase the electronic version of the book, read its table of contents, or download its source code or a sample chapter (Chapter 4 — Using Other ImageMagick Tools) in PDF format. They also have a link where readers can submit errata — and apparently be the first to do so, as there are no existing errata listed on the Web page.

The book's 335 pages are organized into a dozen chapters, following an introduction and a few other standard sections, including a forward written by ImageMagick's principal architect, Christy, who briefly explains the product's 20 years of history, development, and lack of decent documentation. That is where this book is intended to fill the gap, and Christy notes that most future questions about ImageMagick will be answered by pointing people to this book, as is also noted on ImageMagick's homepage.

The first chapter of the book explains how to install and configure ImageMagick, for several Linux distros, as well as Microsoft Windows — using the precompiled versions, or by compiling from ImageMagick's source code. The chapter is wrapped up with a brief description of ImageMagick's online help, debug output, verbose output, and version information. The next ten chapters fall into two categories: ImageMagick usage as a standalone, and from within other applications. The first category of chapters covers basic image manipulation, compression, other metadata, ImageMagick tools, artistic transformations, other image transformations, and drawing commands. The second category discusses how to utilize ImageMagick from within programs written in Perl, C, Ruby, and PHP. The 12th and final chapter is quite brief, and describes where to find online help (Web sites, blogs, mailing lists, and forums) and where to report any apparent bug in ImageMagick.

For Windows users, the first chapter may begin badly, as the author fails to explain which precompiled version the reader should select if they wish to install ImageMagick on a Windows PC. For each version, there are four flavors to choose from. But which one is right for the reader? "static" vs. "dll?" "Q16" vs. "Q8?" What are the differences? The ImageMagick Web site and FTP file listings appear to have no README file or installation help file to explain which flavor you should download. The book should provide some assistance here, but does not. The former topic, static versus DLL, is mentioned only in reference to compiling ImageMagick from source — information which the reader will probably never see, should they choose to install the precompiled binaries and get started on ImageMagick as quickly as possible.

The latter topic is not covered at all — not even in the index, where a "quantum depth" entry would be useful. For those readers who are interested, "Q8" indicates 8 bits-per-pixel components, and "Q16" means 16 bits-per-pixel. The latter allows one to read or write 16-bit images without losing precision, but requires twice as much resources as Q8. Apparently Q16 is the best choice for medical or scientific images, or those with limited contrast. Otherwise, Q8 should be sufficient, and offers greater performance.

The material most likely to be read, referenced, and valued in this book, is the chapters devoted to explaining how to use ImageMagick for resizing, compressing, transforming, and drawing digital images. Most of these first-category chapters begin with a concise summary of the theory put into practice throughout the rest of the respective chapter — a wise inclusion in each case, since even the most experienced computer programmers and other users have had no instruction or experience in image theory. All of these chapters do a competent job of explaining what each ImageMagick command is used for, and then illustrating it with a straightforward example.

The most glaring deficiency in these chapters, and the book as a whole, is that far too many of the book's figures (digital images, naturally) fail to reflect what is intended to be conveyed by each figure. This is primarily because they are all in black-and-white, and in many cases do not offer the size and resolution necessary. In other words, there are many cases where the "before" and "after" images look almost identical. In the cases of color manipulation, most of those black-and-white images are of little value — occasionally laughably so.

The second-category chapters, covering ImageMagick usage with Perl, C, Ruby, and PHP, proved disappointing, primarily due to their narrow focus, and lack of tips, recommendations, and coverage of the APIs' capabilities. The details are presented in the form of a single example for each language. For instance, the Perl chapter devotes too many pages to source code listings of a Perl program written by the author, that few readers would probably download from the publisher's Web site, much less read.

Nonetheless, this book should be useful to any programmer interested in making the most of ImageMagick's capabilities, and that is not just because it is the only ImageMagick book on the market. Michael Still certainly had his work cut out for him when he agreed to document the bulk of what ImageMagick can do. It is unfortunate that the color images that he created for the book cannot be seen by the reader, and that the Windows binary versions and ImageMagick APIs, were given short shrift. We can hope that future editions of this book will be significantly strengthened, such as including color and higher resolution images where needed — even if it requires grouping them together within the book, if that reduces production costs.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that, as a smaller technical publisher, Apress is not resting on its laurels, and is not only scheduled to release an impressive variety of programming books this year, but their customer support — at least in my experience — was outstanding, as there was a problem with the shipping of this title, and they bent over backwards to make it right.

Michael J. Ross is a freelance writer, computer consultant, and the editor of the free newsletter of PristinePlanet.com."


You can purchase The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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AAARRRGGGHHARRRGHHHARRRGGHHH... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909002)

Aaarrghh, aarrgghhh, arrghhh *bullshit* arrrggh, arrgh, arrghh, aaarrghhh, aaaarrghhh *troll* arrrghhh, arrghhh, arrrghhh...

yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909013)

Just create an action which does what you want, then you can export an "EXE" which takes as command line argument the file you want to process, and optionally, the output. Works like a charm.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909089)

Oh, yes, that's much easier than
for img in `ls *.jpg`
do
  convert -sample 25%x25% $img thumb-$img
done
And the million other things you can do from the command line without making task-specific exes.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (0)

niskel (805204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909242)

Except for when you run into an image with a space in the name :)

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909251)

Real_men_don\'t_put_spaces_in_file_names.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909289)

don't be a dummy

for i in *jpg; do
  convert -sample 25%x25% "$i" "thumb-$i"
done

works perfectly with any special characters, including spaces and newlines, in the filename

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (3, Informative)

niskel (805204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909745)

I was refering to the original script that used `ls *.jpg` instead of simply *.jpg. The original script will choke on images with a space in the file name.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909792)

works perfectly with any special characters, including spaces and newlines, in the filename

Wow. Anyone who puts newlines in a filename should be beaten publically.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Funny)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909283)

for img in `ls *.jpg`

Am I the only person who laughed out loud?

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

lubricated (49106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909371)

only after you pointed it out. I kind of scanned over it and missed it the the first time ;) .
Yeah, that was a rookie move.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Interesting)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909788)

Am I the only person who laughed out loud?

Probably not, but I think it's kinda silly. If you're on a machine where you're worried about spawning off one more process, I feel sorry for you. :)

Remember, there's More Than One Way To Do It. That's kinda the beauty of Unix. I do like that 'for i in *.jpg' takes a lot fewer keystrokes, mind, but just because it uses fewer keystrokes and doesn't exec ls doesn't make it the Only Right Way.

Indeed, for some things, it may not be the Right Way at all. Ferinstance:

for i in `ls fullsize`
do
convert -scale 800x800 fullsize/$i $i
convert -scale 150x150 fullsize/$i thumbnails/$i
done

It's cheaper to exec ls here than it is to crunch $i each time to strip 'fullsize/' off the front. If you really wanted to streamline it (and if you're that worried about it, why the heck are you writing a shell script?) you could throw $PWD at a temporary variable, cd into fullsize, run your converts, but why bother with the extra typing or lines of code when this runs correctly, makes sense, and is only exec'ing the ls once?

But really what it boils down to, to me, is if exec'ing ls once instead of using the shell builtin * is causing problems on your system, you've got bigger problems than your shellscript-fu.

-F

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910306)

What a long, strained, and ultimately pointless defense of an obvious GOOF. Congratulations, you've won the weekly Overthinking Award.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909286)

You know, I don't know what the problem is but whenever I try to do a large batch (20 or so images) with ImageMagick inside a loop it hangs my machine. It only started happening when I upgraded to a 7MP camera and the images (not at full resolution either!) were in the 4.5MB range.

Now I have to break the images up into batches of 5 and run the script each time for those. Bleh.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (2, Informative)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909583)

if you're using windows, and are taking directly from the camera or memory card, it's a bug in the Mass storage class driver.

The MSC driver can hard lock (requireng removal of the USB device).

If the problem happens no matter where you locate the images (local hd) then it've got no clue what your problem is. but from the sounds of it you've been using IM to parse pics from your cmaera directly to some local folder, likely the new camaera has faster memory that causes the MSC lock up issue (it does not happen with slower/older devices)

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910035)

Straight from the local HD. Not from the memory card and not on Windows.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909767)

I've got no problem with 85MB files (14MPix 16b tiffs). But when I do my 6x6 and 4x5 stuff I have to let it run all night (768MB RAM, Athlon 2600+, Linux 2.6).

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909995)

>convert /?
Converts FAT volumes to NTFS.

No! Argh! I don't want to do that!
Anyway, with the demise of popular text adventures, it probably is easier for artists.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (2, Informative)

Black Perl (12686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909131)

Command-line control implies a bit more than creation of a canned .exe file. OK, let's say I need to automate the creation of graphical "Tabs" for a web layout. They have to contain text (determined at runtime from, say, a database), blended and drop-shadowed. Can I do this using the technique you mentioned? Nope. I can do it in imagemagick though.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (2, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909139)

On Windows, maybe. But what about Linux? And what are the license restrictions for including the exported EXE with other applications?

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909195)

Just create an action which does what you want, then you can export an "EXE" which takes as command line argument the file you want to process, and optionally, the output. Works like a charm.

Maybe the author should have said 'useful commmand line processing' or similar.

1) Exes are not very useful for osx or linux users.

2) You need a copy of photoshop for every server you wish to run your exported exe on.

3) You have to create a different 'exe' for each action.

Photoshop is not even slightly useful for the sort of areas that imagemagick excels in.

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (4, Informative)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909212)

Just create an action which does what you want, then you can export an "EXE" which takes as command line argument the file you want to process, and optionally, the output. Works like a charm.

I've batch-processed sets comprising about 2,500–4,000 images (greyscale GIFs) both with command-line tools and with Photoshop CS. On each occasion, Photoshop took several hours longer than the specialized CLI apps to complete the jobs. The difference is even more dramatic when executing Photoshop Actions from within Photoshop, since the screen updates further increase processing time (an effect only slightly mitigated by hiding subwindows).

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909253)


This is why applications that can be scripted aren't always applications that should be scripted. Conversely, programs that are CLI from the beginning, like ImageMagick, work in scripts like a charm. These days, the simple UNIX shell is perhaps the most underrated tool for professionals, IMO (just don't get into quoting strings 3 deep, and it's great!).

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909219)

You can even create Javascript based script files to automate Photoshop, this article writer is terribly missinformaed... You could even do this with Macromedia Fireworks long before Photoshop added this feature...

Re:yes, you can command line photoshop (1)

niskel (805204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909275)

Can you do that from a server? Can you do it for free? Can you do it for less specific tasks than a single custom EXE can do? Can you do it on platforms that aren't Windows or OSX?

photoshop also has javascript interface (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909947)

Yes its true - you can script things with javascript in photoshop and it is every bit as impressive as imagemagik.

sigh ... ImageMagick again slides toward obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909049)

It's a shame. ImageMagick offers some absolutely excellent tools but they have never made the leap into the mainstream. I think they are like a really good sys admin -- 'ick makes things look easy and trouble free. Furthermore the 'ick folks are busy making things work and the doc's reflect that; there is also frame of reference problem -- the developers are so deeply on the inside they can't imagine users NOT knowing how to do basic things and understanding the basics of image types. ImageMagick is an old project and it shows in the attitude toward providing user information.

Disagree... (2, Insightful)

anandamide (86527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909122)

Batch processing images via the commandline isn't really a mainstream activity. ImageMagick is (ASAIK) widely used by the people and applications that need such a tool. I use it professionally and personally when I need such a tool.
You might as well say that weblog analysis tools are sliding towards obscurity because they aren't featured on the cover of LinuxNewbie Magazine.

Re:Disagree... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909176)

More elitist bull-shit that only goes to prove the point.

Re:Disagree... (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909385)

ImageMagick is anything but obscure in the programmatic-image-processing field. Just because you're not in the field doesn't mean it's fading into obscurity.

Re:Disagree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909624)

AC who originated the thread writing here.

I *do* work in large scale medical image processing. I do use ImageMagick occasionally -- but there are much better tools handle imaging data. I used to do weather radar work and used it there extensively. I still hold with the original content. IM makes things look easy. IM documentation sucks (if you don't think so, then tell me you have used IM heavily and NEVER opened the source).
IM was poised to be become a flagship tool on the Unix platform before Photoshop and Gimp. User hostility has limited IM to niche markets.

   

Manual vs. Automatic (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909061)

Why would one need batch-sized automatic image editing? Although I can see one wanting to edit many pictures at a time, I think that you would still need to manually specify what you want done, and where. Unless you wanted to do almost identical edits to many different pictures (read: destalinization), then the application seems not to have much use.

i had that same question (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909093)

until I read the FA.

"The material most likely to be read, referenced, and valued in this book, is the chapters devoted to explaining how to use ImageMagick for resizing, compressing, transforming, and drawing digital images."

OK, I don't get the drawing part - but the rest seem amenable to batch processing.

Re:i had that same question (2, Informative)

eh2o (471262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909153)

watermarking, annotations, making buttons... etc. typical applications requiring batch drawing.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (4, Informative)

wanerious (712877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909107)

As an example, in my previous job for a weather company, we'd generate large images of geographic data for a certain area of interest, and separately generate radar or satellite or lightning maps over the same area. We'd then use ImageMagick to combine all the separate images together, along with further generated warning areas, icons, and forecasts representing weather phenomena of interest (tornadoes, mesocyclones, hurricanes) and usually some sort of written annotation (time of image, source). ImageMagick was/is really useful.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909950)

in my previous job for a weather company

What sort of weather do you guys make? It's been a dreary February here in Michigan, I'm in the market for something sunny and 70-ish.

MOD PARENT UP!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14910109)

LMAO! Funniest of the day.

BTW, its already March in rest of the world. But well, Michigan has never been known to be with the rest of the world.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (2, Informative)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909126)

Maybe you don't need it, but a lot of people do. For example, game developers often work with loads of images in similar formats. As a really simple example, you might want to convert a thousand files from gif to png. Or let's say you have 100 images containing blue text and you want to make the text white.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910286)

I batch process about 35,000 images each day to enhance the images before converting them into an mpeg2 video for DVD burning. ImageMagick also helps me validate each image (so I can replace the frame if necessary), without having to manually examine each one. Thank you ImageMagick.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909127)

We convert millions of scanned images to various file formats each year, this is done in batch each day. I personally convert batches of photos with a single BASH line.

Other applications link to ImageMagik to perform their tasks too.

Just because you personally have no use (a windows use by any chance?), plenty of others do.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (5, Informative)

syphax (189065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909144)

Why would one need batch-sized automatic image editing?

Examples of edits that don't need to be manual: Thumbnails. Resizing. Addition of timestamps/watermarks/copyright info. Conversion to other formats. Motion detection. Mosaics. Proof sheets.

Gentle readers: just because something doesn't seem useful or make sense to you does not mean that it is categorically useless or senseless for everyone.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (3, Interesting)

fan777 (932195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909181)

Automatic editing is especially useful for web applications where image manipulation occurs based on form choices or happens in the background e.g. thumbnails being created on the fly, allowing certain types of filtering, etc.

In my senior year of college, we came up with a project to create an online photo storage and editing site much like Yahoo's Flickr. This site allowed users to crop photos, transform pictures to black and white, and adjust contrast amongst other things. We used ImageMagick to do all this, shooting in actions from the command line.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (3, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909221)

Why would one need batch-sized automatic image editing?

How do you think flickr makes perfect square thumbnails automatically?

convert in.jpg -thumbnail x200 -resize '200x' -resize 50% -gravity center -crop 100x100+0+0 +repage out.jpg

Any website that takes a user-uploaded photo needs to do something to it. From thumbnails to capping the image size.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909452)

Dang.. should preview my posts :)

that should be -resize '200x<'

video? (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909236)

Export an avi to a folder full of pngs, attack it with imagemagick and a few batch scripts and you have a substantial amount of functionality. It's easy to advance single frame just by opening your favorite image viewer and clicking through the directory, and tweaking a single frame to perfection is as easy as saying "open in gimp."

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909239)

Daily newspapers running dozens if not hundreds of small images would benefit greatly from this type of automation. I work at one, I know. Newspapers today require very low overhead while achieving very quick turnaround.

Photoshop is unmatched for what it does, but this is an area it was largely unintended for.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

novapyro (696513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909309)



  Why would one need batch-sized automatic image editing?



Why indeed. My company operates on millions to tens of millions of images in a typical job. In fact, while ImageMagick is a wonderful tool, it is far too slow for our level of production. We use if to proof very small runs, or to test ideas. It is wonderful software. Now, as the poster suggests, our "edits" are repetitive, even algorithmic. And the need for such a thing is very, very common.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (3, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909576)

If you're doing multiple transformations to the same file, PerlMagick is much faster than ImageMagick, since you only have to load and convert to internal format once for each file. One project I worked on thrashed badly as a BASH-ImageMagick script, but could be run in the background while the computer scanned (300 DPI, legal size, with a document feeder, 4ppm) as a PerlMagick script.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910208)

Just a guess but I'm sure that if imagemagick was only good enough for small runs they would be aware of, and would have tried using the bindings to the library. (Whether C, Perl or whatever).

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909430)

I know a woman who draws a online comic. Each page is one large JPG, when a story arc is done, she zips them all up and uploads them to my server.

I make her resize them all to 80% the original size, reducing the file size by quite a bit. I taught her how to batch processing in Photoshop to do this, but if she used linux, I would have set up something for her using ImageMagick.

I am a photographer... (2, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909454)

My pictures are carefully composed and exposed. I set the whitebalance when I scan the negatives. Once the scanning is done, I run a batch job (over possibly hundreds of images) which opens each file (16 bit tiff), scales for printing at 12x18, 8x12, 8x10, 6x8, 5x7, and 4x6, saving as 100% quality jpeg, scales to 1024x768, 600x400, and 150x150, padding with borders if nescesary, rotating to portrait if nescesary (from a list), watermarks and signs them, and saves as 80% quality jpeg. This batch job can run while I sleep or do other things.

Re:I am a photographer... (1)

Echnin (607099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909782)

That sounds like a lot of work. I'm curious; have you tried a digital body? 12 MP supposedly has as much detail as a 35mm frame. Using medium-frame perhaps?

Re:I am a photographer... (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910044)

It might sound like a lot of work, but when you have 6 rolls taken in the same lighting conditions, where the first frame has a grey card, you just set the whitebalance once, then just load up each strip and let the scanner do it's job.

Re:I am a photographer... (2, Interesting)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910124)

Also, the exposure latitude of digital sensors sucks compared to Reala and Portra. And I get 14MPix from 35mm, with tonality close to digital from 100iso print film, and almost as good as digital from Portra 400. Resampling down to 6x8@300 I get tonality comperable to digital from Portra 400 and the lower contrast is more flatering for images of people.

6x6 and 4x5 give tonality identical to digital with any film and you can enlarge much more while still seeing increasing detail. They're much more bothersome to scan though (no batch scan).

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909769)

Well, I havn't used ImageMagik for batch processing (although I'd like to). However, I have used Photoshop batch processing to perform serveral preprocessing steps for leaf-area analysis for entomological reasons. Also, I've used batch processing a lot for signing copyright information and watermarks for photographs and to downsize photos for posting on the web. If you deal with bulk images and have a painfully repetative task to perform on them, then batch processing is great!

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

Todd1 (149242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909903)

We use ImageMagick behind the scenes on our website [alphabetprints.com] to combine images of letters of the alphabet into name prints that are appropriately sized for printing. It's an incredible tool for that purpose.

Re:Manual vs. Automatic (1)

lscotte (450259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909940)

Why would one need batch-sized automatic image editing?

I do this all the time. I take all my digital camera pictures at camera res (2048x1536), but I scale them to 640x480 or 800x600 (depending) before posting. Sometimes it's just one or two pictures, sometimes it's a hundred. ImageMagick makes this incredibly painless and easy, not to mention quick.

There's just one example...

OS X Automator (1)

nycguy (892403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909064)

OS X's Automator [apple.com] lets you do much of the same thing with apps like Photoshop.

Re:OS X Automator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909095)

Well, to put it short: no.

Re:OS X Automator (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909280)

More importantly, Automator would let you integrate ImageMagick with the rest of your workflow. For example, it could get your pictures off your digital camera, transform them with ImageMagick, stick them into a web page using iWeb, and upload them to your server, all automatically.

Re:OS X Automator (1)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909298)


Does it spawn a new process for each iteration, or is it able to feed files into a single running application? The former: VERY VERY SLOW. The latter is faster, but, in typical shell scripts with a for loop, spawning small dedicated processes works very well, too. Photoshop is not a small dedicated process.

Re:OS X Automator (2, Funny)

niskel (805204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909348)

I would love to see somebody jerry rig Automater and one or more instances of Photoshop to process images for some image related web server. Especially if it showed photoshop running on the screen. It would be a hoot. Then I would laugh at the sysadmin for even thinking of doing something like that.

Re:OS X Automator (2, Insightful)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910199)

Only much slower, much less flexible, tied to a GUI, tied to a proprietary platform, needing a software license for each machine and only working with applications that support it.

"manual usage"???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909083)

Grammar nazi

ImageMagick is good stuff. (4, Informative)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909084)

Imagemagick is good stuff, ive used it for a while now. Although I didn't buy a book to learn how, i just went here, for some great samples of uses:
http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/~anthony/graphics/imagick 6/ [gu.edu.au]
PIL isn't too shabby either http://www.pythonware.com/library/pil/handbook/ind ex.htm [pythonware.com]
Powerful stuff, maybe the book is not that great i don't know, but imagemagick and PIL are!

Re:ImageMagick is good stuff. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910036)

Antony's examples are great, you can learn a lot about image processing. I do wish it at more of the "artistic filters" that photo shop and other have. (I'm pretty sure they are possible w/ the tools, they are just heavy in the fx commands.

Better image examples online (3, Informative)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909090)

In other words, there are many cases where the "before" and "after" images look almost identical. In the cases of color manipulation, most of those black-and-white images are of little value -- occasionally laughably so.

Haha, that was funny...well if you need to see what it actually does, their examples site [imagemagick.org] has some better images.

GraphicConverter (2, Informative)

andyring (100627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909108)

GraphicConverter on the Mac has some fairly powerful built-in scripting/workflows you can specify for a whole bunch of photos at once. And, it's shareware too. Such as I've used it to all at one time for 100+ photos, perform an "auto levels", reduce the file size so they're easier to e-mail, and create a basic thumbnail Web-ready batch. You can do probably 100 or more tasks this way.

Re:GraphicConverter (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909318)

Free Software > shareware.

Also, ImageMagick is more useful for integration with Unix-style shell scripts (as opposed to Automator actions or Applescript, which I suspect GraphicConverter would support instead).

Re:GraphicConverter (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909394)

GraphicConverter on the Mac has some fairly powerful built-in scripting/workflows you can specify for a whole bunch of photos at once.

Not even remotely like imagemagick - why don't you just download the os x [finkproject.org] native port?

And, it's shareware too.

From the GraphicConverter website [lemkesoft.de] :
The shareware fee is $30.
I don't even know what shareware means anymore - $30?

Such as I've used it to all at one time for 100+ photos, perform an "auto levels", reduce the file size so they're easier to e-mail, and create a basic thumbnail Web-ready batch. You can do probably 100 or more tasks this way.

Imagemagick is will scale to several orders of magnitude higher then 100 images, do everything you mention, and be infinitely more flexible. Give it a shot.

Re:GraphicConverter (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909880)

$30, for a very useful and professional app is good. Did you expect it to be $5 or something?

Hell, I've been using GC for almost a decade as my default image viewer on the Mac, well worth such a small cost.

ImageMagick + Rails == good (4, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909151)

I did some nice charts [blogs.com] for the indi [getindi.com] admin pages; worked out really nicely thanks to Gruff + RMagick.

I did have a spot of trouble getting the fonts working at first, but once that was fixed, it was easy to create some nice charts with very little code.

Re:ImageMagick + Rails == good (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909339)

gnuplot might be good for that, too.

Re:ImageMagick + Rails == good (0)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909369)

Yup, right on... would just need a Ruby extension that talks to it. Or I guess you could just exec it with a commands file, although that seems a bit clunkier.

OK, Googled, looks like someone's written one [rubyforge.org] , good times.

Little domain specific languages are handy things... I've been doing a lot with JavaCC [blogs.com] lately; powerful stuff...

ImageMagick is useless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909172)

They keep adding and removing support for certain image formats. I've written apps using it, only to find out that the latest version no longer works. Furthermore, they make it impossible to find the older versions.

Also, its jpeg compression values suck.

Is it me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909243)

Or does this "freelance writer" have problems with grammar? (Especially conjugation!)

Wikipedia uses it (4, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909259)

For what it's worth, Wikipedia uses ImageMagick to automatically resize png/jpeg/gif images for articles (eg. photos uploaded at 1920x1080 can be displayed at 300x169 in an article). So it's good enough to run on a high-traffic website (and is pretty flexible for ad-hoc command-line use too).

Not just for command line use! (3, Informative)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909265)

ImageMagick's function library is also accessible through a variety of APIs for your favorite language [imagemagick.org] -- scripting or otherwise. If you haven't used it, try it . . . it's GPL and it Rawks (with a capital "r"). ;-)

Scripting (1)

base_chakra (230686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909400)

ImageMagick's function library is also accessible through a variety of APIs for your favorite language -- scripting or otherwise. If you haven't used it, try it . . . it's GPL and it Rawks (with a capital "r"). ;-)

While I use (and love) ImageMagick, it's worth noting that Photoshop has similar (but not totally analogous) capabilites:

http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/en/phot oshop/sdk/PhotoshopScriptingGuide.pdf [adobe.com]

Unfortunately, Photoshop's scripting host only supports JavaScript, VBScript, and AppleScript. This is not the same thing as a Photoshop Action; scripting isn't as limited as Actions are: one can employ conditional logic, perform some basic file system operations, and transfer scripts easily.

Re:Not just for command line use! (1)

chgros (690878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909897)

ImageMagick's function library is also accessible through a variety of APIs for your favorite language
My favorite language (OCaml) is not there :( (although there appears to be Ocaml APIs developped elsewhere)

Re:Not just for command line use! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14910167)

Objective C is also missing.

Alchemy competitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909281)

Has anyone used both ImageMagick and Image Alchemy? How do they compare? I'd have a hard time getting through the day without Alchemy, but it doesn't seem to be actively developed anymore.

Buy it here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909366)

Save yourself some money by buying the book here: The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

q8 vs q16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909375)

Per info locate on their download page:

"The Windows version of ImageMagick is self-installing. Simply click on the appropriate version below and it will launch itself and ask you a few installation questions. Versions with Q8 in the name are 8 bits-per-pixel component, whereas, Q16 in the filename are 16 bits-per-pixel component. A Q16 version permits you to read or write 16-bit images without losing precision but requires twice as much resources as the Q8 version. Versions with dynamic in the filename include ImageMagick libraries as dynamic link libraries. If you are not sure which version is appropriate, choose ImageMagick-6.2.6-4-Q16-windows-dll.exe."

http://www.imagemagick.org/script/binary-releases. php#windows [imagemagick.org]

The web site does give some help.
Regards,
Anonymous Coward

Flickr Hacks (3, Interesting)

jbum (121617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909389)

My book, Flickr Hacks [amazon.com] , contains a number of examples of using ImageMagick (via the Perl API) with Flickr. This is one area where it really shines. I used ImageMagick to create these mosaic posters [krazydad.com] , the Flickr Colr Pickr [krazydad.com] and other cool things.

Photoshop Not! (1)

rspress (623984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909428)

I have been an imageMajick user for some years now I while I find it great for simple tasks and great for batch conversions it is no Photoshop. I think there is room for both. For simple image conversion or batch processing I use an Apple Automator action to call a do shell script. For others I drop into the terminal. For retouching or other tasks, it is Photoshop only.

Duh. (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909933)

Horses for Courses. When you need to touch up one image, use Photoshop. When you need to dust-bust hundreds of images, use CinePaint. When you need to rotate, scale, composite, and convert hundreds or thousands of images, use ImageMagick (via PerlMagick or your favourite scripting language).

Similarly, excel is not a database management system, and Abiword is not a desktop publishing suite.

check out netpbm too (3, Informative)

resfilter (960880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909509)

those interested in command line image processing, should check out netpbm [sourceforge.net] too. it's really neat

instead of a single image processing program, netpbm is a massive collection of programs all using a small set of proprietery formats (they are all compatible with each other). you use pipes for communication between them, giving you some more flexibility.

for example:

pngtopnm foo.png | pnmscale -xsize=600 ysize=400 | pnmtojpeg > foo.jpg

the other advantage is, their proprietery formats were designed to be easy to use, so coding your own netpbm programs is much easier than rewriting imagemagick for a specific task.

Re:check out netpbm too (2, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910210)

those interested in command line image processing, should check out netpbm too.

I couldn't agree more. For a start, a single monolithic app like ImageMagick is just not the Unix way. It means that to add functionality, you need to recompile the application. With netpbm, if you want a new feature, you just write a filter and stick it in the pipeline. Much easier, and much more flexible. In the past, my only gripe was that netpbm (and pbmplus before it) was unable to handle transparency in image. Fortunately, that's no longer the case, and recent versions are able to do so. Plus, with my (admittedly not very scientific) tests, netpbm comes out slightly faster for the tasks I perform anyway (mostly cropping and scaling). I can highly recommend netpbm.

Nconvert (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909575)

ImageMagick is great, but if you work with less common formats or even those such as Maya's IFF, it doesn't help much (which is odd seeing as how Maya even installs ImageMagick's convert command renamed as imconvert).

There is another program called Nconvert that will handle pretty much any format you throw at it (about 400 in and 40 out). It can do much of what can be done with ImageMagick too, and is available for more than a dozen operating systems.

Unfortunately it's only free for non-commercial use, and 100 (or an agreement) otherwise.

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/pierre.g/xnview/en_ncdownl oad.html [wanadoo.fr]

FlashPIX Bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14909747)

I've had an open bug on FlashPIX format (specifically the Kodak DC-265 version) in ImageMagick for FreeBSD for some time (probably in a 3rd party library). To bad nconvert won't do FlashPIX on *nix. If I have to use Windows, I might as well use Kodak's tool.

Re:Nconvert (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909751)

Yes, and it's MUCH better for handling huge images. I've had ImageMagick choke on large TIFFs because it tries to load the entire image into RAM, which can be a mess (e.g. with multipage image files). NCONVRT -- and its related API for Windows, GflSDK -- handles large files much better.

Which Precompiled Windows Version? (2, Informative)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909594)

"The ImageMagick Web site and FTP file listings appear to have no README file or installation help file to explain which flavor you should download."

From http://www.imagemagick.com/www/binary-releases.htm l [imagemagick.com] :

"The Windows version of ImageMagick is self-installing. Simply click on the appropriate version below and it will launch itself and ask you a few installation questions. Versions with Q8 in the name are 8 bits-per-pixel component, whereas, Q16 in the filename are 16 bits-per-pixel component. A Q16 version permits you to read or write 16-bit images without losing precision but requires twice as much resources as the Q8 version. Versions with dynamic in the filename include ImageMagick libraries as dynamic link libraries. If you are not sure which version is appropriate, choose ImageMagick-6.2.6-3-Q16-windows-dll.exe."

I know that its not a readme file but the website seems pretty explainatory. You are right about the FTP site, however.

Batch processing (2, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909715)

For doing batch processing of photos I have been using Bibble Pro [bibblelabs.com] for Linux lately. I like it since it has good support for the raw format of my SLR and has a lot of batch processing features. For example, it's easy to select a group of 50 photos and adjust the white balance, or use the one click lens distortion fix on all my photos. Best of all, it runs under Linux. It gives me the best of both worlds. It gives me batch processing as well as the ability to individually make changes to each picture. I.e. I can bring out the shadows in a group of pictures, then straighten a couple of them if the camera was crooked and crop them as needed. It also does everything at 16 bits per color.

Now, granted, it does not run on the command line, but it easily lets me select a source and target directory to batch process as well as letting me select individual pictures. I can't really compare it with ImageMagick since I haven't used it directly.

-Aaron

NetPBM (2, Informative)

Azul (12241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909784)

Hmm, I tend to find the approach of NetPBM [sourceforge.net] easier to work with: having lots of separate utilities each doing a single simple thing and making it easy to use them together by piping the output of one to the next. Besides, reading/writing PBM files is trivial so you can very easily use these tools from your programs (by piping your image through them) or you can very easily create new filters that integrate well with the rest. I recommend you check out NetPBM.

If you need automatic processing of many images (the sort of thing ImageMagick is being praised for), I recommend you check it out.

Irfanview (1)

Darthmalt (775250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909835)

Irfanview [irfanview.com] is good for batch conversions, I used it all last summer to resize and greyscale hundreds of photographseach week. At 1.24mb for the whole program folder, and the ability to read almost any type of image file and use photoshop filters I haven't found anything better for quick edits.

ImageMagick w/ Image::Size (0, Offtopic)

Friar_MJK (814134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14909842)

Since this subject has been brought up, I was wondering if anybody could offer some insight into this: I've been trying to get the Image:Size perl script to get the dimensions of a swf file. I've got it on a loop for a directory of files, and I need to pass Image::Size a variable which gives it the name of the file. After some headaches and research, I found that you can't pass it a (like this: $var) variable to give it a location. I heard this was an ImageMagick problem rather that Image::Size, yet there's all this talk of being a command line utility. Anybody have similar problems, or know of a workaround? Any example of what I'm looking to do can be found at my link in the arcade section (which the site doesn't seem to be working now for some reason...). Right now all the swf links have a default size which makes them look funny. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

www.graphicsmagick.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14910149)

I dunno why, but I switched from using image magick to using graphics magick. It may be faster. It seems compatible.

A word before... (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910175)

The book's 335 pages are organized into a dozen chapters, following an introduction and a few other standard sections, including a forward written by ImageMagick's principal architect, Christy, who briefly explains the...

Please, the word is Foreword, not "Forward". I don't want to be a grammar nazi, but I've seen this particular word substitution so often that Im afraid we're getting near the point where the sheer quantity of errors is going to confuse everybody. Heck, sometimes I think I'm wrong about this...I've actually seen books that have a section in front called "Forward".

ImageMagick is excellent (2, Informative)

bigdadro (452037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14910366)

My company uses image magick to resize and add watermarks to tens of thousands of website classified images. We created several wrapper methods to access it in our app.

Poor Example:
myImage1 = imageMagickResize(thisImage.jpg,destImage.jpg,300, 200);

AFAIK it is more extensive than alot of the native image manipulation libs that come with certain languages (java?). Comparing imageMagick to photoshop or other apps is apples to oranges. We have this running on headless FreeBSD and CentOS boxes with no X. Can't do that with photoshop!
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