Category Archives: adphoto

Weekly review: Week ending July 5, 2009

Goodness gracious, completely missed a week there.

From the previous week's plans:
  • Handle any issues in the Transition2 roll-out (seems pretty okay for now, looks like our lessons learned from last phase did the trick)
  • Get ready for next two assignments
  • Prepare presentations
  • Blog thoughts
  • Take pictures of sewing projects and garden
  • Document lessons learned
Plans for following week (which is why this blog post was so delayed!)
  • travel to Ottawa for planning meeting
  • sort out more Transition2-related bugs




Creating thumbnails with Imagemagick

Creating proper thumbnails in Photoshop was a mission and a half. I found a handy Imagemagick incantation for thumbnails. Here's the one I'll use to create 400x400 centered thumbnails for the photo gallery.

convert -size 400x400 sacha-20051201.jpg -thumbnail '400x400>' -bordercolor black -border 200 -gravity center -crop 400x400+0+0 +repage test.jpg

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360′ virtual tours

How do real-estate websites show 360' virtual tours of their spaces? I spent part of the afternoon looking at software for possible business use. Here's how they do it, I think.

*Take photos.* First take super-wide-angle shots, rotating your camera around a fixed point. A number of stores sell fisheye lenses and camera mounts for this purpose. The mount for spherical pictures (all directions, including up and down) is more complicated than the mount for a 360' panoramic shot. If you don't mind distortion, then you can use a regular camera and just take pictures facing different directions, relying on stitching software to compensate a bit for the distortion.

*Stitch the pictures.* Camera designed specifically for 360' or spherical shots may be able to capture the entire scene in one image. However, if you're using a rotating mount or you're taking pictures in different directions, then you'll need to combine the images into a seamless panorama by using stitching software.

*Produce the brochure.* 360' viewers range from simple ones that smoothly scroll a panoramic picture, to more interactive viewers that include floor plans and clickable hotspots in the image. Choose the software that fits your intended purpose and budget.

Some companies that sell 360' software:

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Javascript or Flash?

I've been thinking about the Adphoto portfolio viewer. As nice and, well, flashy as a Flash portfolio viewer would be, it might also be good to have a simple Javascript one, just in case (gasp!) someone who doesn't have Flash installed is browsing around. Well, ideally, we'd have both versions _and_ a static HTML one, but it's easier for me to hack together something in Javascript (yikes) than it is for me to do something in Flash, given that I don't have Macromedia Flash MX.

So, on to the Javascript crossplatform libraries...

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Web2.0 goodness

I had a wonderful chat with Luis Buenaventura of http://oks.ph and a gazillion other sites. =) Amazing, amazing. He's a Fine Arts guy who taught himself how to code in PHP, and he's not only doing the usual web design stuff but also thinking of how to build new businesses. We chatted about Javascript versus Flash for the Adphoto portfolio viewer, stock photography, and web hosting. For my part, I gave him an idea for a new game-oriented website. Now all he needs is a name...

He's a heck of a hacker. I need to introduce him to Paolo Venegas. They'd get along. =)

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Indexing pictures

Adphoto is an advertising photography and digital imaging company. My parents established it 33 years ago. It's Good Stuff.

We'd like to develop the stock photography side of our business. For that, we need the ability to search for images and give clients thumbnails before pulling out the original images from our archives. The Digital Asset Management for Photographers book recommended a hard-disk based archive, but I wanted to make something work without disrupting the office (or my spare time) too much. =)

Right now, we use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to keep track of CDs and their contents. Our digital librarian is in charge of assigning numbers to CDs and describing the contents of the CD using keywords and phrases. When someone asks for stock shots with a certain keyword, she searches her Excel file and then physically retrieves the CDs in order to make thumbnails. Our previous digital librarian started filing copies of pictures in a directory tree arranged by subject, but this was not accompanied by metadata, and it was hard to keep up to date.

Our librarian has been experimenting with iView Media Pro and Extensis Portfolio. After some poking around, I found out how to do offline indexing in Extensis Portfolio. That would allow us to index thousands and thousands of CDs while keeping thumbnails on the hard drive. iView also has this feature, so we just need to play around with it and see which interface we like best.

My Adphoto goals for the next two weeks (I have to go back to Canada in two weeks!) are to:

  • Improve and document the workflow for digital images
  • Transfer the website to another host (must meet Luis Buenaventura)
  • Contract out the redesign of the website and the development of a Flash portfolio viewer (might be able to do the Flash portfolio viewer myself if I can find a good photoblog script)

Improving the workflow would include:

  • File and folder naming conventions to support quick indexing and retrieval
  • How to index images
  • How to retrieve images for comps
  • How to retrieve images for use

This will be fun. Hectic, but fun.

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