Archive for March 2011
The pLoader utility offers the most convenient and efficient way of adding photos to your Piwigo-based gallery directly from your desktop. While the official Piwigo extension repository provides a compiled version of pLoader, if you prefer to use the very latest release of the utility, you should download and run the most recent version available in the SVN repository.
The first order of business is to install all the required packages. On Ubuntu and its derivatives, this can be done using the following command:
sudo apt-get install subversion perl libwx-perl-processstream-perl libfile-slurp-perl libfile-homedir-perl libjson-perl libdigest-md5-file-perl libimage-exiftool-perl perlmagick libcrypt-cbc-perl libcrypt-des-perl libclass-accessor-perl
Next, point your browser to http://piwigo.org/svn/extensions/pLoader/tags/ and note the most recent version of pLoader (e.g., 1.6). Open the Terminal and run the command below:
svn export http://piwigo.org/svn/extensions/pLoader/tags/1.6 pLoader
This will download the latest release of pLoader in the pLoader folder in your home directory. That’s all there is to it.
To launch pLoader, open the Terminal switch to the bin directory and execute the pLoader.pl:
To avoid opening the Terminal and typing the commands every time you want to launch pLoader, you can create a simple Bash script. Create a new text file containing the following commands:
Save the file as the pLoader.sh script, and make it executable using the chmod a+x pLoader.sh command. You can then launch pLoader by double-clicking on the script.
When tweaking photos in digiKam, you probably would want to keep the originals intact. And this is where the Versioning feature can come in rather handy. It allows you to save each edited version of an original photo as a separate image complete with a list of all applied actions.
The way versioning works is pretty straightforward. When you are ready to save a modified version of a photo, press the Save As New Version button. This saves the edited version as a separate image. Keep in mind that if you are working with a RAW file, all versions will be automatically converted to one of the supported graphics formats. By default, it’s JPEG, but you can switch to another supported format. To do this, choose Settings » Configure digiKam, switch to the Editing Images section, and select the desired format from the Save files as drop-down list. To bypass the global settings, you can save a single version in a different format by clicking on the triangle and choosing the desired format from the Save in Format menu.
By default, each version is automatically saved in the same album as the original, so you can end up with multiple thumbnails of the same photo in the album. But digiKam provides an elegant solution to the problem: you can combine the original and all its versions into a single group. To do this, select the original and its versions, right-click on the selection and choose the Group Selected Here command. This combines all the selected photos as one neat bundle, and an icon in the lower-right corner of the thumbnail displays the number of images in the group. Alternatively, you can save the version in a separate album: click on the triangle next to the Save As New Version button, select the Save New Version as command, and pick the destination folder.
To view all versions of a photo, select the original in its album, and expand the right Versioning sidebar. You should then see all versions of the selected photo with a complete list of editing actions.
Geolocation is not a new feature, but in digiKam 2.0 it has been thoroughly reworked to streamline the process of geotagging photos. The new Geolocation interface (Image » Geo-location) aggregates all geotagging tools in one place. The interface itself consists of three parts: the map pane contains a map and a toolbar with several navigation tools; below the map pane, there is a list of selected photos; the sidebar on the right displays the currently active section.
To geotag photos, you need to obtain the geographical coordinates of the place where the photos were taken, and the Geolocation interface offers several ways to do that. For starters, you can use the mouse to move around the map to locate the desired spot. By default, the Geolocation interface uses the OpenStreetMap service as its map source, but you can switch to Google Maps using the Maps Settings button below the map pane. If you know the full or partial address of the location, you can use the built-in search feature to find it on the map. Click on the Search tab, enter the address in the search field, hit the Search button, and you should see a list of matching results with corresponding pins on the map.
The easiest way to add geographical coordinates to the photos is to drag them from the list onto the desired spot on the map. Alternatively, you can assign the geographical coordinates of a specific search result to the photos. To do this, select the photos in the list, right-click on the desired search result, and pick the Move selected images to this position item from the context menu.
If you regularly take photos in a specific location, you can create a bookmark for it in the Geolocation interface. To do this, right-click on the desired location on the map, choose Add Bookmark, give the bookmark a name, and provide an optional description. To keep tabs on your bookmarks, you can group them into folders. To create a new folder, press the Add Folder button in the Add Bookmark dialog window. Select then the created folder from the Folder drop-down list to add the bookmark to it. Press OK to save the bookmark. To assign the bookmarked location to one or several photos, select them in the list, right-click on the selection, and choose the bookmark from the Bookmarks context menu.
Once you’ve assigned the geographical coordinates to the photos, press the Apply button to write geotags to the photos. With digiKam, you can view geotagged on the map without leaving the convenience of your favorite photo management application. Click on the Geolocation sidebar to expand it, select the photo you want, and you should see it on the map.
The Geolocation interface offers another nifty feature called Reverse Geocoding. This tool can retrieve human-readable locations such as city, street, country, etc. for photos based on their geographical coordinates. The obtained location names can be stored in photos as new tags, so you can easily search for photos taken in a specific country, city, or even street.
One way to put this feature to practical use is to create a dedicated Places tag, and then use reverse geocoding to add place-related sub-tags to it. To do this, create a new tag called Places (you can do this in the Tags sidebar). Select then the desired photos and choose Image » Geo-location. If the photos are not already geotagged, assign geographical coordinates to them. Switch then to the Reverse Geocoding section, right-click on the Places tag, and use the available context menu items to add the address elements to the tag (e.g., Country and City). Select all the photos in the list and press the Apply reverse geocoding button. You should see the country and city sub-tags (e.g., Germany and Berlin) under Places. Hit then the Apply button, and you are done. Now you can use the Filter sidebar to quickly locate photos taken in a specific country and city.
Besides numerous improvements, digiKam 2.0 brings a handful of new features, including Color Labels and Picks. As the name suggests, the Color Labels feature allows you to assign color codes to your photos.
To add a color label to an individual photo, right-click on it, choose Assign Labels » Color, and pick the color you want. Each color label has its own shortcut, so you can quickly label photos using the keyboard. For example, to assign the Magenta label, press Ctrl+Alt+6. To quickly remove a color label from a photo, press Ctrl+Alt+0. The Picks feature works in a similar manner: you can assign one of three picks — Pending, Accepted, or Rejected — to any photo in digiKam via the Assign Labels » Pick context menu, or using the default shortcuts.
How exactly you choose to use both features depends on your specific photographic workflow. If you submit your photos to agencies or a stock site, the Picks feature can help you to keep tabs on the status of each submitted photo. Color Labels can come in handy in several situations. For example, you can use color codes to triage incoming photos, color marking photos by their relevance. You can also use color labels to specify the privacy level for each photo, with the read labels assigned to private shots, yellow for snaps that can be shared with family and friends, and green for public photos. In short, with a little imagination you can turn Color Labels and Picks into a powerful and flexible tool for keeping tabs on your photos.
Storing your photos on a server or network disk? Want to manage them from several Linux-based machines using digiKam? Here is how to do that.
First of all, you need to mount the directory on the server containing the photos on your machine. Assuming your server is running Linux and you can connect to it via SSH, you can mount the remote directory using sshfs. To do this, you need to install the sshfs package first. On Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions, you can do this by executing the apt-get install sshfs command as root. Next, run the id command and note the uid and gid values for your account (e.g., uid=1000 gid=1000). Use then the following command to mount a server directory on your machine:
sshfs user@host:/path/to/dir /mountpoint -o idmap=user -o uid=1000 -o gid=1000
Replace user with the name of the existing user on the server and host with the IP address of the server. Replace /path/to/dir with the path to the directory on the server and /mountpoint with the directory on your machine that will be used as a mount point. Once the directory has been mounted, you can use the files in it as they were on your own machine. To unmount the directory, use the fusermount command as follows:
fusermount -u /mountpoint
Next, you have to configure digiKam to use a MySQL database as its back-end. This would require, of course, a MySQL installation running either on your own server or on another remote machine. The Use digiKam with MySQL article provides detailed instructions on how to make digiKam work with MySQL.
The rest is easy. In digiKam, choose Settings » Configure digiKam and switch to the Collections section. Press the Add Collection button next to the Local Collections entry, then add the folder that contains the photos from the mounted remote directory as a new album.
In a similar manner, you can configure digiKam on any other machine you want to use to manage photos stored on the server.
If you are running Ubuntu 10.10 or its derivatives and you are itching to try the latest version of digiKam, you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of compiling the application yourself. Philip Johnsson did the hard work for you and released the neatly packaged version of digiKam on his PPA, so you can easily install the latest beta version of the next major release of digiKam with a minimum of fuss.
Before you proceed, remove the digiKam and Kipi plugins installed on your system. Fire up the terminal and add three repositories:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:philip5/extra
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:philip5/kubuntu-backports
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports
sudo apt-get update
Use then the following command to install the latest beta version of digiKam:
sudo apt-get install digikam2 kipi-plugins2
That’s all there is to it. Of course, you should keep in mind that this is beta software, so the usual “use it at your own risk” disclaimer applies here.
When you need to apply the same action to multiple photos, digiKam’s batch processing capabilities can come in rather handy. And the photo management application provides different ways to apply actions to a photo batch in one fell swoop.
For starters, you can perform certain actions on all photos in a specific album. To do this, right-click on the desired album, and choose the action you want from the Batch Process context menu. The actions available in the menu include Image Effects, Recompress Images, Resize Images, DNG Converter (lets you convert RAW files into the DNG format), and Batch RAW Converter (allows you to process the RAW files using the Batch RAW Converter tool).
For more serious batch processing, you should use the dedicated Batch Queue Manager tool. Using it, you can set up rather advanced processing profiles and manage multiple queues. To add selected photos to the Batch Queue Manager, choose either Image » Add to Current Queue (alternatively, use the Ctrl+B keyboard shortcut) or Image » Add to New Queue (or press Ctrl+Shift+B). This opens the Batch Queue Manager and adds the selected photos to an existing or new queue. To specify the actions you want to perform on the photos in the queue, pick the desired tools from the Base Tools section, and specify the settings for each tool in the Tool Settings pane. The File Renaming section in the Queue Settings pane lets you specify a renaming rule to apply to the modified photos. This can help you to differentiate between the processed photos and their originals.