anna.morris's blog

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ImageMagick and Converseen – thoughts on photo batch conversion.

I have a ton of photos from my holiday that I want to put on-line. My new camera is great but the pictures are very high resolution and much to big to go online or email. This has caused my problems before and so, as I am “On Holiday”, I thought I would have a look at batch conversion.

Usually, when I ask about this I am told to use the command line, so I took a look at that first. Seems that ImageMagick is a highly recommended tool, however, I soon ran into some problems. I will stress first though that I could see, from the documentation why people more adept at the command line would like this program: it gives you a very high level of control without the need for a huge and slow interface…. however, I personally found it just to hard to use.

It didn’t help that the manual, rather than simply telling you what to do, seems to tell you what you USED to need to do compared to what you need to do now… and why this is the case. Perhaps there was some kind of community issue in development which has lead to this “needing” to be explained…. or perhaps all manuals are like that and I just read so few of them….

Anyway, I just wanted to change 100 odd photos from about 5000px by whatever to more like 1000px by whatever… I am sure I would have figured out how to do it with commands eventually, but it would have been a long day. I found, however, that ImageMagick has a GUI, a nice graphical interface for people who enjoy the powerful software, but not the frustrations of learning command line. It is called Converseen (and YES, that is an annoying picture of a lady their sourceforge page, can’t they just use a neutral picture like an apple or something?! Anyway… moving on).

I found Converseen very intuitive, and I didn’t need a manual at all. I chose the pictures I wanted to change, and I found it easy to input what I wanted to be done with them. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was what the result of “Scale Image” would be – if I chose scale image by 20% would that make my photo 20% smaller or make it 20% of the current size? It tuned out to be the latter, so an image that was 5000px wide scaled with a setting of 20% came out at 1000px wide. All in one go, I also renamed the files from image_001 to image_001_small and saved them into a new folder which I could make/select from a pop up window as I would expect (rather than trying to input a file path as sometimes occurs in this type of program). The whole process was very fast,  first opening the program to having my photos as I needed took me less than 5 minuets. I would brand that a success and I recommend this software.

It’s just a shame that Command Line access to ImageMagick is still beyond my comfort level (and that I have found yet another manual that completely fails help users of my level).