Things We Can Do To Help -  Image Conversion 

Image Conversion

So what, exactly, am I supposed to do with 384 *.j6i files?

So what, exactly, am I supposed to do with 384 *.j6i files?

  • Dealing with lots of files

    It's so easy to take digital photos, that everyone take loads of them.

    And that's great, until you want to organise them or do something clever/useful with them en-masse.

    Having hundreds or thousands of photos, can make the job of dealing with them a chore. Sure there are lots of bits of software out there, some of it amazing and free, which will help you do what you want, but you'll need to find the "right" bit of software, download it, learn how to use it and then (and this is the bit that normally gets overlooked) actually use it to do what you want.

    Even if you know how to do it;  the prospect of spending an entire evening going

    File -> Open -> Save As -> Save As Type -> OK

    isn't very appealing, especially if you have more interesting things to do with your life than that (like alphabetising the tins of soup in your kitchen cupboard).

    Don't worry. We can help.

  • Hire a programmer

    If you have lots of files and you need to do virtually the same thing to all of them, then you have 3 choices:

    • Don't do it.
    • Do it manually.
    • Write some code to do it.

    Doing anything repetitive on a computer by manually clicking the same combination of buttons or pressing the same set of keys is tiresome, prone to errors and expensive (assuming you place any value your time).

    Writing code is the only sensible choice, but (and its a pretty big but) it does assume that you know how to do it. If you don't, then you need to find someone that does... and you also need to find someone you can afford... because programmers don't come cheap.

    We can help and here's why.

    Hardcore programmers, the kind of people that write algorithms before breakfast, argue about the importance of strongly typed variables and don't think perl is a spelling mistake, generally, can't or won't help.  They're all too busy at Micro-goo-witter-book watching the rss feed for their stock options.

    Plus, they tend not to be very good at creating small scale bits of code to automate specific tasks (which is what we're taking about). It's not that they can't do it; it's just that what they actually do in their day to day work is something very different.

    It would be a bit like, asking a brain surgeon to put your arm in a sling, if you broke your collar bone... they might be highly skilled and qualified, but the chances are that you'd be much better off asking the nicely lady from the St John's Ambulance to do it.

    What you need is someone who, (a bit like the nicely lady from the St John's Ambulance),

    • Has a lot of experience of solving your actual problem
    • Has a wide variety of tools and adaptable solutions at their fingertips
    • Does that sort of thing on a daily basis

    and, when it comes to digital images, that's us[1].

  • Solving Problems

    It'd be nice to write you a long laundry list of "things that we easily can do for you, with a bit of code, that would be a colossal pain for you to do yourself, because you don't know how or they'd take too long", but that list doesn't exist.

    The whole point is that your problem is, to some extent, going to be unique to you: otherwise you wouldn't need a personalised solution.

    The question isn't therefore "What can we do?"; but rather "Is my problem, something that I should have automated?"

    There are many, many factors that can and do influence the answer to this question in the real world and we couldn't hope to address them all, here. So, instead, we'll give you a few practical suggestions.

    1. How big is the task? i.e. how many files do I have to process? - Anything less than 20, don't bother. 100 or more, probably should. 300 or more, definitely should. 1000 or more, no choice but too.
    2. How laborious is the task? i.e. how many clicks/key presses does it take to process each file? - The higher the number of clicks/key presses, the more you will benefit from automation. There is a relationship between the number of clicks and the number of files you have to process. Sometimes very laborious tasks can be worth automating, even if only a relatively small number of files need processing.
    3. How complex is the task? i.e. how complicated is the logic required to decide how to apply each process? - This is by far the hardest question for non-programmers to guess the answer to. However, just ask yourself how many IF decisions exist in your problem e.g. if my file is more than a month old do this, if not do that. The more IFs required to solve your problem has, the more complex the task.
    4. How valuable is the task? i.e. how long would it take you to do the whole task (without code) and how much is that time worth to you?

    The exact complexity of a task can be very difficult to predict before any code has been written. However, for small scale automation, it should be pretty obvious. If your problem, obviously, requires more than about 5 or 6 IF decisions, then it probably requires a "real" program: and it would fall outside the scope of the kind of small scale solution envisaged on our price list.

    That said, here are a bunch of things we commonly do:

  • Changing File names

    Digital cameras generate file names that suck. Really, what's the point of calling an image DSC_0001.jpg? How does that help you, a human, identify what that file is an image of?

    This problem has been made worse, by the rise of the camera phone/tablet as, by and large, these cameras don't actually use traditional file names at all[2].

    One solution to this problem is to adopt a naming convention for your files, create folders of related images and then rigourously apply it to your files.

    The only sensible way to do this is with some code.

  • Changing file formats

    We can handle a vast array of digital image formats, from the common place to the old, depreciated and unusual, like our titular *.j6i files[3]  and we have the know how to convert images between these formats, effectively and efficiently.

    So, if you’ve got an image you need, in a format that your PC can’t handle or if you’ve got thousands of them, we can help.

  • Creating alternative versions of files

    There are any number of reasons why you might need to make alternative versions of your original files.

    You might want to do something very common, like create thumbnail version of your images or add some specific bits of text to them, and there are lots of bits of software to help you do this. However, such software will only provide you with a generalised method of e.g. making thumbnails.

    So, what if, you want 4 different sized versions of your files? and what if the aspect ratio of 3 of those different sized versions, is different from the originals? and each other? and what if each different size of image needs a different bit of text on them? and you want the file's name to include date the image was created?

    To do this, you're going to need a bit of custom code.

  • And lots, lots more...

    Just about anything that can be done with a computer, can be automated by a computer[4].

    Therefore, just about anything that you might do to an individual image can be automated and applied to a batch of images. This includes:

    Adding text or image overlays, adding borders or drop shadows, cropping the image, resizing the image canvas, manipulating image metadata, extracting colour information, flipping or rotating the image, modifying or replacing colours, adding watermarks, changing contrast, brightness or other levels, applying filters to e.g blur, emboss, soften, or sharpen the image, applying image effects to e.g. change the image to black & white, sepia etc, adding or reducing noise and or creating layouts of multiple images/sections of an image.

    We could go on, but you get the idea, so we wont.