Exiftool – sorting photos

I recently had a few days off and managed to sort out the growing collection of photographs accumulating on my hard drive. The collection is almost 150GB with 52000+ image and video files spanning 10 years. I have used a variety of photo management tools over the years including Canon software that came with the camera, FSpot, gThumb, iPhoto and Digikam (the tool of choice). The resulting mess of nested folders and sub-folders demanded some TLC. Thankfully I had a couple of backups on different disks as well as two live working copies so I was safe in case I messed up.

Enter exiftool. A command line tool to manage all aspects of your photo metadata.

I copied my collection to a scratch processing space year by year and processed them in chunks using a single line of exiftool wizardry:

exiftool -r -d ../output/%Y_%m/%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S_%%f.%%e "-filename<datetimeoriginal" input

This command recurses (-r) through the input directory finding all supported image and video files. It moves the files to the output folder, creating a YEAR_MONTH sub-folder (%Y_%m) using the original creation date of the file to be moved. The creation date and time (%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S) is prefixed to the original filename (%%f.%%e). For each year of photos I end up with 12 folders (2005_01, 2005_02, etc.) containing all the nicely sorted photos.

Exiftool also reports errors and files it is unable to process and these remain in the input folders after processing making it simple to manually check through them.  I also had some success with the remnants using the Last Modified Date.

exiftool -r -d ../output/%Y_%m/%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S_%%f.%%e "-filename<filemodifydate" input

Farewell Kubuntu Mint, Hello Fedora 16

Fedora Logo
Fedora logo

I have been running Linux Mint 10 for ages and have hacked and patched and updated it with various repositories to make sure it was reasonably up-to-date. The application I use most often on the desktop is DigiKam. The development of DigiKam has accelerated recently to the point of a new release almost monthly. The repositories are all trying to play catch-up. Some dedicated individuals are rolling their own .debs/.rpms for different flavours of linux. All you have to do is connect to their repository and install. But it is never that simple as the newer versions of DigiKam required newer versions of all the dependencies and a simple install ends up pulling in loads of different packages. In the end I gave up and stuck with version 1.9 as newer versions required an updated version of KDE and it was getting to be a hassle patching everything together. Continue reading Farewell Kubuntu Mint, Hello Fedora 16

Batch Processing Images

Running digiKam 2.0 on Windows 7 Professional 32bit and Linux Mint 10 KDE 4.6.2

Standard workflow for new images:

  1. download into new date based folder renaming on the fly and applying metadata template.
  2. tag new images
  3. geotag new images
  4. select images for upload to web
  5. add to batch queue manager
  6. adjust colours – auto levels
  7. sharpen – unsharp mask
  8. resize – 1024px wide
  9. watermark – overlay PNG (prepare earlier using Xach Effect in GIMP)
  10. reapply metadata
  11. write to output folder
  12. export to piwigo
  13. export to gallery Continue reading Batch Processing Images

Hacking Piwigo

Piwigo Logo

Here is a semi-sequential account of events over the last couple of months (squeezed in when I have a spare moment) that have resulted in piwigo.mixedbredie.net.

Install PhpWebGallery in test (2009)
Install Piwigo in test (2010)
Go back to Gallery2
Install Gallery3 in test (2010)
Tire of lack of nice themes in Gallery3 even after some tweaking.
Go back to piwigo and update and move from test to live site
Add some themes.
Add some plugins.
Read the documentation and then head to the forums where there are threads for plugins and themes. Get used to french people writing technical stuff in English.
(note to self: learn French hahahhahahaa ha ha)

Making the changes:
Choose a theme that works and looks like you want it (mostly) to look.
Start mangling it. The Local-Files editor is your friend allowing you to make local changes to templates, CSS and configuration files that overrule the default options.
Realise I can make a child theme just using a theme.css and config-inc.php in a “my-theme” directory.
Change the background colour
Change the body text colour
Change the link colour
Change the link hover colour
Change colour of different elements in the page
Add a header image
Creating and using custom template files
Changing size of thumbnails > regenerate thumbnails plugin by p@t – Set this to 286 x 286

I had to hack some more CSS style rules together in order to get the look I was after.  I shamelessly copied this from www.fotolobia.com where the Turkish designer has done a far better job than I have.

digiKam splash
digiKam splash

Meanwhile, running in parallel to this there is the continuing development of digikam that seems to advance at a rate that most linux distros can’t keep up with.  The latest stable version of digikam is always at least one, maybe two or three, versions ahead of what is available in the repositories.  I use linux mint 10 with the K Desktop Environment (KDE 4.6.5) and my desktop tends to be used for managing photos with digiKam and editing photos with GIMP.

Trying to keep the desktop updated so that the latest digiKam will run has dissolved into an arms race between the linux mint maintainers, the digiKam developers and the end users of both communities. Some distros update the “stable” version of KDE quicker than others and others custom package digiKam.  An alternative is to compile it yourself.  This is a whole week of fun all by itself and when I am done I’ll put the procedure up here.  Some others have already done this and I am working from their scripts.

GIMP filters

I was playing with GIMP the other day trying to find some filters or scripts that created nice borders around images.  I use Digikam to organise my collection of photos and it has some built-in tools but the after effects are rather simple at the moment.  GIMP has a more mature collection of effects to apply.

Taking a sample image I applied a selection of the decor filters to the images.  You can find these under Filters > Decor.  I am using the latest version of GIMP on Linux Mint 10 KDE and Windows 7 Pro.

Experimenting with Mint KDE

Mint 7 KDEI got tired of brown and orange ubuntu. And I really like amarok as a media player instead of ryhthmbox and I wanted to try digikam as photo manager instead of f-spot. I had heard good things about Linux Mint. Which is green and so makes a pleasant change.

So I backed up 250GB of photos, video, music and accumulated cruft and installed Linux Mint 7 “Gloria” KDE version.  It was not without hassles.digiKam The installer got confused as to which drive was which and, after a clean install reformatting everything to ext4, installed grub2 on the wrong disc.  Various boot parameters had to be edited until the Ubuntu 6.10 rescue CD sorted things out using the “rescue a broken system” menu.

DigiKam (0.10.0) works but I’d like to install version 1.0.0 and I need KDE 4.3.x for that.  It is a lot slower on my desktop than f-spot was under ubuntu (My desktop is Core 2 Duo e4300, 2GB DDR2 RAM, ASUS P5VDX2 mobo, 2 x 250GB WD and 1 x 500GB WD, nvidea 8600GT 512MB so it should be pretty snappy with all the fancy effects).

Amarok KWinAmarok has its pros and cons.  The default version on Mint 7 plays last.fm radio streams but doesn’t download any cover art for my albums.  Amarok NEON (bleeding edge) doesn’t play last.fm as it uses the new API requiring 3 euro a month but it does download most of my cover art.

Kdenlive is a non-linear video editor for KDE and seems to be pretty good.  Something along the lines of iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements.  I have not used it with any serious intent yet but I do need to prepare a best man’s speech which I will have to deliver by video.  It might come in handy.

So what to do, what to do?

Wait for Mint 8 KDE or install Mint 8 Gnome?  32bit or 64bit?