Posts tagged images

Creating Camera Ready Artwork Using the Gimp

I’m creating some business cards and my print shop needs PDF format output with a CMYK colour profile. Neither of these can be done with the Gimp as installed, so this is what I had to do in Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot with Gimp 2.6.11 to finish the task:

1) install gimp-plugin-registry and icc-profiles from the apt repository (“sudo apt-get install gimp-plugin-registry icc-profiles” or use the software centre);
2) open the image I want to send to the print shop and select “Image/Flatten Image” (if the image has multiple layers) and then “Image/Separate/Separate”;
3) in the dialog, accept the default options, but optionally check “Make CMYK pseudo-composite” (this doesn’t seem to affect the final product, but it does generate an image with the colour layers blended in a way that is recognizable — that way you can see that you are getting what you expect);
4) when the new separated version of the image pops up in a new window, select “Image/Separate/Export…” and save as a TIF file;
5) use “tiff2pdf filename.tif -o filename.pdf” to create the pdf file for the printer.

The most useful info I found on this topic was here: and

Display Video Thumbnails in DigiKam

Digikam is working great for me and I’m diligently tagging all my old photos. I was disappointed that, although DigiKam could play them, it wouldn’t display thumbnails for video files in my albums. Turns out that I just needed to install the mplayerthumbnails package and now I have thumbnails. In Ubuntu Jaunty, ignore instructions which suggest adding libarts1-xine and libxine-extracodecs — neither package is available in Jaunty.

And the Winner Is: digikam

I’ve decided to proceed using the KDE application digikam. It seems to do everything I want (plus lots more) and is open source and easy to use. It looks like it integrates with various web services, including facebook and flickr, without difficulty. The only disadvantage I can find is that the image editor doesn’t automatically save new versions non-destructively. I think I can live with that.

F-Spot looks like a good basic photo manager, but it lacks some of the advanced features of digiKam and Picasa and my web research seems to suggest that it chokes on large collections of files.

Picasa looks great and includes all the features I expect I could want. Unfortunately, it isn’t open source and that is a deal-breaker for me.

I’m going to give digikam a try for a while and report back what I find out.

Managing Photos

We have too many photographs! I’d like to get them under control so that we can enjoy them now and preserve them for the future.

We have a dozen albums and a couple of big boxes of old negatives and prints, including some that I developed myself and a few old family photographs that go back to the 1940s. We’ve been taking digital photos for nearly a decade and my photo directory holds over 12,000 items already. On top of all of this, I also have hours and hours of digital video which I’d like to eventually fold into the same management scheme as the rest.

In order to get these in order, I would like to digitize everything. Eventually, I’ll buy or use a scanner for negatives and prints. In the meantime, I want to organize the photos that are already in digital form. That means using a photo manager. I’ve done a little research and there appear to be several options worth considering.

Right now I store everything in a carefully-designed folder hierarchy. All the image files are in folders by batch — each group I upload from a camera is placed in raw form in a folder named by the date I uploaded and a tag for subject matter when the pictures are all similar (e.g. 2007-01-13_kevin_birthday). I avoid spaces in the names and always use YYYY-MM-DD for the date format to ensure that the folders sort correctly. This works well to organize and store the photos, but it isn’t easy to browse or manipulate them. When I want a cropped or renamed version of an image, I save it under a new name and new location to ensure that the raw images are preserved. Over the years, I’ve ended up with some duplicate image folders which I’d like to purge, but I need some tools to help do so. I group the image folders in higher level folders by year (YYYY). This way I can archive each year and back it up without having to worry that the folder contents will ever change. This method meets my basic needs, but I really want something that will allow me to add metadata, manage versions of each image as required, and browse easily.

In fact, what I want is a system very much like what rhythmbox and other tools give me for managing my audio collection. I’d like to keep my directory system for raw photos, store tag data inside the image files themselves, and use a front-end application to browse images using the metadata. I don’t want to be locked into anything so that I can change front-end application at any time in the future. It would also be great to be able to sync some or all of my photo collection with a data store on the web such as flickr, picasa, or other. Oh, and I should be able to do non-destructive editing of the images using the Gimp (or at least in a way that is compatible with the Gimp).

What else do I want? It would be nice to have simple one-click options to correct basic image errors like red-eye and bad contrast. The application should be open source unless I have no other choice.

The options I’ve discovered so far include the default f-spot photo manager which is installed with Ubuntu, the KDE application digicam, and Google’s picasa. There are certainly others out there, but these three seem to be the most popular and robust. I will try them out and report back.