HELP 2.0 (January 12, 2006)
Differences from Earlier Versions: (1)
Other types of images, besides JPG and PNG, can be handled
(see Images that Albimagic handles);
(2) there is an option to display the captions on the working screen.
Before you use this program put all the pictures of interest in one directory
and name it with the name of the album. Then run Albimagic and click the
OPEN (directory) button or select Open
from the Directory menu. Either action will give you
a directory tree. After you select a directory there, Albimagic will load
all the pictures in that directory and display them as thumbnail sketches
(see Images that Albimagic handles).
The Directory menu is also convenient for later work
because the program supports the Most Recently Used (MRU) directory
When you move the mouse over a thumb sketch the name of the file, its
dimensions, size, caption, and date are shown in the status bar. If a
subset of the image has been chosen to create the thumb sketch, the word
"cropped" appears after the dimensions. If no caption has been
specified, a question mark (?) appears in the status bar.
If you do not want to do anything fancy you may click next the WEB
PAGE button. This will create and display the web page as well
as creates two directories,: Thumbs and Large,
and a HTML file named pix_index.htm. Large
contains copies of the originals, possibly resized
(D.2.a) cropped (C.d) or rotated (C.e). To publish on the web,
upload the pix_index.htm file and the two directories
Thumbs and Large. If you want to change the
appearance of the Web Page you may do so by editing the style sheet Basic.css
that is created in the Large directory. It applies to
the whole web page.
All the basic operations of the program can be performed from the Toolbar
(see Section B below for details.) The first time you use Albimagic,
the program starts in a "learning mode" and whenever a toolbar
button is "pressed" a dialogue box pops up explaining the function
of the button. Each of these dialogues includes a checkbox for getting
out of the learning mode and suppressing additional messages of this kind.
In this mode the regular functionality of the toolbar is suspended. The
learning mode can also be modified through the Options
and the HELP buttons.
Once you have some experience with the program you may avoid using the
toolbar and perform operations faster by entering commands through the
keyboard and the mouse. See Section C for details.
Images that Albimagic handles: The
old versions of the program could handle only JPG and PNG files. Albimagic
2.0 has been rewritten using the MIcrosoft MFC CImage class so
that it can read virtually any type of images, including BMP and GIF(
besides JPG and PNG). The only restriction is that images should be of
"true color" which is the type produced by all digital cameras
and most other modern media. (This limitation existed also in the earlier
versions of the program). The older type of images (paletted or indexed)
is not supported by Albimagic right now (it is supported by CImage).
The only place I have seen this type used in recent years is in some GIF
images. If you have such images consider converting them to PNG before
processing them by Albimagic.
Main page of Albimagic (For the curious)
B. The Toolbar and Basic Operations
When all the buttons are enabled, the toolbar looks like this
In order to use the two buttons with brown color letters you must first
select a thumb sketch by clicking on it with a mouse button.
The selected thumb sketch is marked with a red frame. (Warning for
the experts: This program does not support the clipboard, so the
word "selection" is used above with its generic rather than its technical
meaning.) Another toolbar button was added in Version 1.6 that is not
shown above but it is described in the table below.
||Select a directory and then all JPEG and PNG images of the directory
are loaded. (See the first paragraph of this document.)
||After an image is selected
||A dialogue box pops up where you can enter a caption and the
date of the picture. The date entry is initialized from the file
||After an image is selected
||Display the full image. If the full image is too big to fit
in the screen, it is down-scaled accordingly.
||After images have been read
||Construct and (possibly) display the web page. (See Note 1.)
||After images have been read and results of previous work have
||Same as WEB PAGE but it assumes that thumbsketches and properly
scaled versions of the images already exist. Useful for adjustments
after an earlier call to WEB PAGE. Not
||After images have been read
||Create a file, Albimagic.txt, in the same directory
as the pictures that contains parameters, captions, dates, and
cropping rectangles specified in an earlier session. (See Note
||After images have been read
||Edit the file Albimagic.txt using Notepad.
(See Note 2.) Not for beginners!
Pops a dialogue box that lets you set the program parameters.
(See Section D).
||Displays a (local) Quick Help document that also contains a
link to this document (accessible through the web).
||Displays the "About Albimagic" dialogue box.
- WEB PAGE: If the user has asked for no individual
captions or dates for the thumb sketches, a dialogue window pops up
asking the user to provide a caption and a date for the page. These
entries are not saved between sessions.
- SAVE RECRD and EDIT RECRD: The
file Albimagic.txt is read when the program is run
again in the same directory so data such as parameters, captions,
etc can be preserved between sessions. The file can also be edited
though the Notepad (accessed when the button EDIT RECRD
is clicked). Some users may find it more convenient to enter information
about the images in this way rather than by using
the Caption and Options buttons. However this mode allows for errors
and it is not recommended for beginners. See the Section F on the
C. Operations using the Mouse and the Keyboard
When you click on a thumb skecth with either the left or the right
mouse button the image is marked by a red frame and it becomes the selected
image. After you select an image you can perform several operations
by using a popup menu that appears anytime you press the right mouse
button either on the main window with the thumb sketches or in the full
size display window. The characters shown next to each menu item may
be typed to achieve the same effect as selecting from the menu.
|Crop for Thumb T|
|Crop Original O|
|Rotate Right R|
|Rotate Left L|
|X-out (omit) X||Appearance of the Pop Up Menu
The following is the set of operations that you can perform on images
using Albimagic. The description of each operation
is followed by a list of the ways to perform it.
- Enter a caption and/or date for the selected image: A
dialogue box appears after either of the following actions.
Display a full size version of the image in a separate window:
(If the full image is too big to fit in the screen, it is down-scaled
accordingly and the scale is shown in margin of the display.)
- Clicking on the Caption toolbar button;
- Selecting "Caption" from the popup menu; or
- Typing C on the keyboard.
- If captions are displayed under the thumbsketches, clicking over
the text of the caption.
Select a rectangular area in an image to use for producing
the thumb sketch: (For example in an image showing a group
of people you may wish to construct the thumb sketch from the region
around the people's faces.). This is achieved by first drawing a rectangle
with the mouse on the full size display and then either
- By clicking on the FULL SIZE toolbar button;
- By doube-clicking on a thumb sketch
Crop the image and use the cropped version for the web display:
This is achieved by first drawing a rectangle with the mouse on the
full size display and then either
- Selecting "Crop for Thumb" from the popup menu; or
- Typing T on the keyboard.
The cropped image is saved in a subdirectory called Cropped
(as well in the Large subdirectory). After
you exit the program you have to decide whether to replace the original
file by the cropped version or not. If you do not, the next time you
run the program in the same directory it will start with the old image,
ignoring the contents of the Cropped directory.
Rotate the image by 90 degrees: This is achieved
- Selecting "Crop Original" from the popup menu; or
- Typing O on the keyboard.
Rotated image replace the originals. The latter can always be recovered by rotating in the
Mark an image to be omitted from the web display:
This can be achieved either by
- Selecting "Rotate Right" or "Rotate Left"
from the popup menu; or
- Typing R or L on the keyboard.
The image is marked with an X. You can cancel the omission by selecting
the sketch again. Omissions are not saved between sessions.
Change the order of images: Selecting a thumb sketch
and dragging it to a different position. If you drop the sketch outside
the area where the thumb sketches are displayed, the image will be
omitted from the web page (same effect as f above).
- Selecting "X-out (omit)t" from the popup menu; or
- Typing X on the keyboard.
Note that only (a) and (b) can also be performed from the toolbar.
The program displays a dialogue box with three tabs: General,
Web Page View, and Advanced.
D.1. Contents of the The General Tab
- An edit box for the maximum dimension of the thumb sketches (default
- A check box on whether to use frames around the thumb sketches (default
is to use frames).
- An edit box for the minimum width of the frame (default is 6).
- A button that causes a color dialogue to pop up that lets you select
the color of the frame (default is light gray).
- A radio box that lets you select whether the frame will be solid (default)
or one of several patterns.
- Whether to display immediately the web page or not (default is to
display). You may chose not to display to avoid the delay of starting
a web browser. Instead you may run the browser once and use the Reload
button to update.
- A check box for turning the Learning mode on and off.
All these values are saved in the registry so that Albimagic
can remember them between sessions. In addition, the maximum dimension
of the thumb sketches (a) is saved in the Albimagic.txt
file because it may depend on the particular set of images. If frames
are not to be used (box b is unchecked), controls c-e
D.2. Contents of the Web Page View Tab
These seven parameters are saved between sessions in both the registry
and the Albimagic.txt file.
- An edit box for the maximum dimension of the large pictures (default
is 2000). Images that have at least one dimension that exceeds this
limit are automatically resized before placed in the Large
- An edit box for the width of the web page (default 600). Together
with thumb sketch maximum dimensions determines the number of columns
in the thumb sketch display.
- A box list control for selecting the color for the text of the web
page(s) from a list of standard colors. (Default is maroon.) Below it
there is an area that displays a sample of text in the selected color.
The display includes the luminance (in percent of maximum) of the color.
For text on light background we want low luminance values, certainly
below 30%. High luminance colors are displayed on black background.
- A check box on whether to have only one date (i.e. no dates are displayed
with individual images),
- A check box on whether to have only caption (i.e. images are displayed
with file names rather than user provided captions).
- A check box on whether to display the original images in their own
web page. This allows the display of the caption with the full image
as well as the Thumb sketch.
- A check box (enabled only if box f is checked) that whether
the original pages will not only be displayed on their own page but
also on a new browser window. (Then the user can look both at the Thumb
sketches and one of the originals.)
D.3. Contents of the Advanced Tab
These eight parameters are saved in the registry.
- An edit box for the safe number of pictures to process (see Section
- A check box on whether to assume that the video memory has True
Color (24 or 32 bits per pixel). This is the default option because
most video memories today have that ability and the display of images
is faster that way. (The delay is particular visible for the full size
display.) Uncheck this box for the (now rare) devices that have no true
- A check box on whether or not to keep a log in a file called AlbimagicLog.txt
(in the current directory).
- A check box on whether to construct a web page that is designed to
allow for insertion of text. (Useful if the goal is to create an illustrated
paper for the web rather than just a photo album.)
- A check box on whether to activate protection against over-aggressive
advertising filters. Some filters of this kind suppress images based
only on their dimensions (bad
design!) and checking this box ensures that no image dimensions
match those of the advertizing standard. (This feature was added
in Albimagic 1.6 and later versions.)
- A check box on whether to display captions on the main page of the
program, underneath each thumbsketch.
- An edit box for entering a "favorite directory" (default
is "My Documents"). This affects the display of the directory
trees when you click OPEN (directory) button or select
Open from the the Directory menu.
One of these trees is rooted in the hard drive and the other in the
favorite directory. In addition, one of these trees is expanded to the
most recently used directory. When you enter a directory name in this
box, it must an ancestor of the working directory. (This feature
has marginal utility and it is probably an example of parameter overkill!)
- A button that causes a browsing window to specify a directory where
the help file (this document) is stored. For example, you may prefer
to download this document from the web, store it locally, and provide
Albimagic the new location.
There is an Apply button that lets you experiment,
especially with the appearance of the Thumb sketches, by trying different
Advanced Features (definitely not for beginners)
E. Working with a Lot of Images
Albimagic keeps all images in memory
for faster operation. This is not an issue when the number of pictures
is small enough for the thumb sketches to fit on the single page without
scrolling but if a user tries to deal with a much larger number performance
suffers. Therefore there is a suggested limit (set to 32). If a directory
contains more images a message window pops up and the user is offered
the option to process only as many images as the limit (the Yes
button), ignore the limit and process all images (the No button),
or Cancel the operation. (The limit may be changed through the
Advanced menu.) While I have used the program successfully on a
directory with 297 images (about 50MB total), it is best not to push one's
F. Format of Albimagic.txt
This section is only for experienced computer users who plan to use the
EDIT RECRD button and subsequently edit the Albimagic.txt
through the Notepad. Such a practice allows the user to assign captions
and/or dates to groups of pictures at once without going through the caption
dialogue box, change their order without having to drag pictures around,
etc, etc. It also allows the user to make a lot of errors.
The following is a sample file illustrating the format. Normally fields
are separated by single tabs, but for clarity we use multiple tabs in
the display below.
|ALBV_A t200 x2000 p600 f1 d0 c0 #green|
||Dolls in front of the fireplace
||129 87 750 549|
||Plants and Flowers with sun
||Dolls in the Living Room
||103 222 957 853|
The first line includes the parameters used by the program. ALBV_A
is a tag identifying that the file is an Albimagic record file. The following
six items refer to parameters. t200 means that the maximum
thumb sketch dimension is 200 pixels, x2000 means that
large images will be scaled so their maximum dimension was no more than
2000 pixels, and p600 means that the web page will be
600 pixels wide. f1 means that the full images are displayed
with their own web page (f2 would have meant that they
will also be displayed on a new browser window and f0
that the full image would be displayed without any title or caption).The
other two entries can have values of either 0 or 1. d0
and c0 mean that there will be individual captions and
dates for each picture. If the numbers were 1, individual dates and captions
would not be shown and would be replaced by ones at the top of the page
only. Finally, #green is the color of text (an lines)
on the web page. While the Options dialogue provides only a limited choice
of colors (the 16 HTML standard colors), by editing this file you can
choose any color name you want and hope that it will be available in browsers.
The subsequent lines provide information for each picture: File
Name (always there), Caption (a "?"
if it is missing), Date (initialized with the file creation
date), Order in the display, and specification of the
Cropping Rectangle for constructing the thumb sketch.
Main page of Albimagic