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> Usability Enhancements, little things to make PMView even more efficient
Tannin
post Jun 23 2006, 07:24 PM
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Hi all. Most of us probably already know how efficient and time-effective PMView is. In my view, it's simply the best there is. But it could be even better. Here are some small changes that could make it even faster and easier to use PMView for productive work. In no particular order:

1: Cropping.
1a: Users often need to crop to a particular exact size. Currently to do this a tedious series of steps is required: (a) select an approximate area; (b) toggle view/show/selection info; © scroll the selection counters up and down - always getting the direction wrong at first because they are rather non-intuitive - or type in the required numbers to get the size you need (even in you move the selection to the extreme top left to save the mental addition required to calculate which coordinate will produce the desired final image size, you still have to remember to subtract 1 because the selection starts at 0 - i.e., type in 1024 and 768 and you get an image that is 1025 x 769!)

In short, where resizing to a particular image dimension in PMView is fast and easy, cropping to a particular dimension is tedious, error-prone, and slow. How difficult would it be to add a more efficient cropping method? There are probably about 6 good ways to do this, but here is one: add a crop-to-size item to the transform menu. (Is it really a transform? Technically, maybe not, but if it sits right below the "size" entry on the transform menu and works exactly the same way as transform/size, it would be easy for users to find it and learn how to use it.

The sequence would work like this: use the menus to select "transform/crop to size", then select the desired size (e.g., 800 x 600). This tells PMView to create a selection rectangle of that size and place it anywhere (top left is as good as any - PMView has no way of knowing yet where you want the selection made, only how big to make it). Use the mouse to position the selection rectangle as desired, then crop in the normal way.

(But why would a user want to do this instead of cropping to a rough size and then transforming to the exact size? Two good reasons: first, sometimes the aspect ratio of the image is important (especially when the image is one of several equal-size images on a single page layout). Second, where the size difference between the source image (or desired area of the source image) and the target image is small, resizing introduces unacceptable loss of image quality - you can resize from 2000px to 800px and with a little sharpening get an excelllent result, but if your source image is (e.g.) 930px, resizing it to 800px impacts on the final quality in a very visable way.)

1b: An option to grey-out the non-selected area (the part you are going to throw away when you crop the image) so that it is easier to see what the cropped image will look like - i.e., similar to the way Photoshop does it. This should be an option as there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Perhaps the best way to do this would be add a "grey-out/don't grey-out toggle" to the bottom of the right mouse pop-up menu whenever you have an area selected. But even if it were only switchable from the main view/preferences menu, the ability to grey out the area you are going to crop away, and thus see what your cropped image will look like would be an excellent addition.
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Tannin
post Jun 23 2006, 09:19 PM
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2. File formats.
Less is more! Most of us use only a handful of the many file formats PMView can read and write. In particular, how often do most users want to write a file in anything other than their three or four most-used formats? (Example: I mostly use TIFF or BMP for lossless intermediate saves while I'm working on an image with PMView, Photoshop and Neat Image, then JPG or PNG for the final images - practically never any of the others. I bet that most other users do much the same.) But every time you need to switch formats (e.g., save this particular image as a TIFF because you need to do something to it in Photoshop and you shouldn't use JPG for intermediate saves) you have to scroll through a great long list of possible image formats looking for the one you need. OK, it's only a few extra seconds, but seconds count - and the reason we all use PMView in the first place is because it is so fast and easy. Let's make it even faster and easier: add a way to take out the file formats we are not interested in and just show (e.g.) JPG, TIFF, and PNG. Naturally, this needs to be reversable so for that once-a-year time when you need to save an OS/2 icon or a Compuserve RLE you still can. (I thought of trying to hack the PMView executable to do this, but decided that was too hard! Would it be practicable to extract the save-as file format list to a text file that the advanced user could edit?)


3: Resize.
The transform/resize feature is one of PMView's great strengths. Fast,, simple, flexible. One of its best features is that it offers single-click selection of common formats (800 x 600, 1280 x 1024, for example) and yet still allows the user to type in any other size. But it too could be even better. Assume, for example, that the user wants to make screensavers or wallpaper and has a laptop with a 1400 x 1050 native resolution. Or that you are working on a website where the site-wide policy is to use illustrations that are 328px wide. (Good webmasters tend to insist on this sort of thing as it ends up producing a site that looks uniform and professional, and also allows much simpler HTML code.) If you do a lot of this sort of work - producing images to a particular format that doesn't happen to be exactly the same as one of the pre-set formats - you wind up doing a heap of typing in the same number, over and over and over. The solution (it seems to me) is to provide either two or three user-pre-set transform/size resolutions, or to have the existing "custom" resolution default to whatever the last custom resolution was - i.e., make it remember your last custom size transform.

But come to think of it, what if you are doing something where you are creating a set of images in two or three different custom sizes - e.g., where you are making 200px clickable thumbnails and 660px main images for a website? That's a pretty common sort of task, after all. Then the neat and simple second solution above still doesn't help. Answer: either a scrollable "history" window below the last pre-set resolution, or two or three extra buttons (in the same place) that contain the last custom resize resolutions.


4: File sorting.
Scenario: you have a large folder full of image files you need to sort through and categorise (typically, you want to delete some and just keep the best ones - photographers do this all the time, and it takes hours). So you flick through the images, deleting, moving, sorting stuff out. But after a few runs through, you start having difficulty making decisions: you've already seen these images and you've already deleted or moved the ones that stand out as obvious choices, so now you are doing the hard yards - sorting the images that you couldn't decide on right away. One thing that makes this harder still is that you keep seeing them in the same order each time. Always seeing the pictures in the same sequence makes it difficult to judge each one on its merits. If only you could mix them up, you would be able to see them afresh and make better decisions. But in PMView, the only way to do this is with a slideshow - and with a slideshow you can't delete or move things! Adding functions to the slideshows would work, but an easier and neater way to achieve the same or greater benefit would be to add a sort by: random to the FOC. (You can already sort by name, extension, image size, and 6 other criteria, none of which help a great deal for this task - a random sort would help a great deal.)
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Peter
post Jul 17 2006, 01:52 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely implement some of those ideas.

Thanks,
Peter


--------------------
Peter Nielsen (peter@pmview.com) "If you can dream it, you can do it" JFK.
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Tannin
post Aug 17 2006, 05:26 PM
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Thanks Peter! I'll look forward to PMView getting even better.
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Tannin
post Oct 29 2006, 04:48 PM
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Another little one while I think of it:

The move file create new folder confirmation box: this requires a yes/no answer with the Y or N key. For consistency with many other things in PMView, make the ESCAPE key do the same thing as the N key.
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Tannin
post Feb 17 2007, 06:03 PM
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Another very small one:

Context: In the File/Open box, you can select which sort of files you want to list: ALL FILES, ALL TYPES, BMP, JPG, and so on. The two most-used selections, naturally, are ALL FILES and ALL TYPES. These are both at the top, then the individual types listed below in a scroll box. The first visible item in the scroll box is the currently selected type (unless you manually scroll up).

Suggested change: Make the first visible item 1 or 2 items above the currently selected item.

Benefit Saves the user scrolling every time to change to an earlier-listed type. (E.g., switch from ALL TYPES to ALL FILES with a single click instead of click-and-hold-and-scroll > click.)

Cost: None to speak of, you get the following 15 types (after the presently selected type) listed instead of the following 17 types.
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Tannin
post Jun 12 2007, 05:53 PM
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I'm still jotting down ideas to further improve the excellent PMView user interface here whenever I think of one. Hope it's helpful! Here is another little touch:

Mouse wheel on slider bars (e.g., the RGB adjustment bars, but lots of other examples)

To make small, accurate adjustments to the slider bars without needing the keyboard, use the mouse wheel. Scoll down for less, scroll up for more.
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Peter
post Jun 13 2007, 12:58 PM
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QUOTE (Tannin @ Jun 12 2007, 06:53 PM) *
I'm still jotting down ideas to further improve the excellent PMView user interface here whenever I think of one. Hope it's helpful! Here is another little touch:

Mouse wheel on slider bars (e.g., the RGB adjustment bars, but lots of other examples)

To make small, accurate adjustments to the slider bars without needing the keyboard, use the mouse wheel. Scoll down for less, scroll up for more.


This works fine in the current Windows version. As for OS/2, there is no mouse wheel support built into the OS. (It is possible that you can configure your mouse driver to simulate it).


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Peter Nielsen (peter@pmview.com) "If you can dream it, you can do it" JFK.
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ggrau
post Jun 14 2007, 04:19 AM
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QUOTE (Tannin @ Jun 23 2006, 07:24 PM) *
Hi all. Most of us probably already know how efficient and time-effective PMView is. In my view, it's simply the best there is. But it could be even better. Here are some small changes that could make it even faster and easier to use PMView for productive work. In no particular order:

1: Cropping.
1a: Users often need to crop to a particular exact size. Currently to do this a tedious series of steps is required: (a) select an approximate area; (cool.gif toggle view/show/selection info; scroll the selection counters up and down - always getting the direction wrong at first because they are rather non-intuitive - or type in the required numbers to get the size you need (even in you move the selection to the extreme top left to save the mental addition required to calculate which coordinate will produce the desired final image size, you still have to remember to subtract 1 because the selection starts at 0 - i.e., type in 1024 and 768 and you get an image that is 1025 x 769!)


Very good idea, indeed! Having a DSLR with a format which neither fits to 4:3 nor widescreen displays nor "standard" image frames, every of the many thousand images needs to be postprocessed. I've been looking for an easy way to a) choose aspect ratio cool.gif move/resize frame of fixed aspect ratio c) potentially create a sequence of reduced resolution images for different applications (email/web/background image...). While c) can be easily done (I'm using Linux scripts with imageMagic for that), a) and cool.gif are clearly a domain for PMView (which I'd love to use in Linux) since it requires manual selection.
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asavage
post Mar 11 2010, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE (Tannin @ Jun 23 2006, 10:19 PM) *
2. File formats.
Less is more! Most of us use only a handful of the many file formats PMView can read and write. In particular, how often do most users want to write a file in anything other than their three or four most-used formats? (Example: I mostly use TIFF or BMP for lossless intermediate saves while I'm working on an image with PMView, Photoshop and Neat Image, then JPG or PNG for the final images - practically never any of the others. . . . Let's make it even faster and easier: add a way to take out the file formats we are not interested in and just show (e.g.) JPG, TIFF, and PNG. Naturally, this needs to be reversable so for that once-a-year time when you need to save an OS/2 icon or a Compuserve RLE you still can.


I thought this a terrific idea when I first read it, and I still think it is.

I, like many others, switch SaveAs formats frequently. Typically, between JPEG & PNG. I do this often enough that I know to press 'P' eight times to select PNG.

Sure would be nice to have some way to have the last selection float to the top of the list, or a user-select section for the top three or four we use.

Not a bug, nor a high-priority, but yes this is something I've wished could be improved.


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Al S. http://asavage.dyndns.org
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Peter
post Mar 12 2010, 08:52 AM
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Personally, I would like to implement the file save to automatically select format depending on extension.

When scanning CD artwork, I always want to save the file as "artwork.png", and since typing is tedious, I seldom type in the name. Instead I go to another folder and click an existing "artwork.png" file (this will copy the name). However, if the file format has previously been changed to JPG, this is not changed when clicking the file name. PMView catches the problem by showing a warning that the file format does not match the extension. However, it would be nice if the file format automatically changed when clicking the file.

This is of course a bit problematic with some extensions, like BMP. I guess the best way to tackle this is to check the format of the file clicked and if that does not help, then default to a specific format.


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Peter Nielsen (peter@pmview.com) "If you can dream it, you can do it" JFK.
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Peter
post Mar 12 2010, 11:37 AM
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QUOTE (asavage @ Mar 11 2010, 09:23 PM) *
Sure would be nice to have some way to have the last selection float to the top of the list, or a user-select section for the top three or four we use.


Having the list sorted in "most recently used" order (instead of strict alphabetic order) would possibly be a major improvement. I'll try to implement this and see how it works out...

Thanks,
Peter


--------------------
Peter Nielsen (peter@pmview.com) "If you can dream it, you can do it" JFK.
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Peter
post Mar 12 2010, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE (Tannin @ Oct 29 2006, 04:48 PM) *
Another little one while I think of it:

The move file create new folder confirmation box: this requires a yes/no answer with the Y or N key. For consistency with many other things in PMView, make the ESCAPE key do the same thing as the N key.


This is a Windows & OS/2 "feature". You can only Escape out of dialogs that have a cancel button.

v3.60 will replace all Yes/No dialogs with Ok/Cancel dialogs. That will take care of the issue.


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Peter Nielsen (peter@pmview.com) "If you can dream it, you can do it" JFK.
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Tannin
post Apr 24 2010, 06:10 PM
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Thanks Peter! Works a treat. smile.gif
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baden
post May 2 2010, 02:24 PM
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QUOTE (Tannin @ Jun 23 2006, 09:19 PM) *
3: Resize.
The transform/resize feature is one of PMView's great strengths. Fast,, simple, flexible. One of its best features is that it offers single-click selection of common formats (800 x 600, 1280 x 1024, for example) and yet still allows the user to type in any other size. But it too could be even better. Assume, for example, that the user wants to make screensavers or wallpaper and has a laptop with a 1400 x 1050 native resolution. Or that you are working on a website where the site-wide policy is to use illustrations that are 328px wide. (Good webmasters tend to insist on this sort of thing as it ends up producing a site that looks uniform and professional, and also allows much simpler HTML code.) If you do a lot of this sort of work - producing images to a particular format that doesn't happen to be exactly the same as one of the pre-set formats - you wind up doing a heap of typing in the same number, over and over and over. The solution (it seems to me) is to provide either two or three user-pre-set transform/size resolutions, or to have the existing "custom" resolution default to whatever the last custom resolution was - i.e., make it remember your last custom size transform.

But come to think of it, what if you are doing something where you are creating a set of images in two or three different custom sizes - e.g., where you are making 200px clickable thumbnails and 660px main images for a website? That's a pretty common sort of task, after all. Then the neat and simple second solution above still doesn't help. Answer: either a scrollable "history" window below the last pre-set resolution, or two or three extra buttons (in the same place) that contain the last custom resize resolutions.



I frequently do what I think you want to do with "Quick Script". Just set up the script to do want you want, including re-sizing, then then you can select all the images you wish to change, and RMB on the script you desire. IMHO, this is way better than using a GUI selector.

Baden
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skiwi
post May 6 2010, 05:03 AM
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I think these are great ideas, since these are some of my most frequent actions. I'm using PmView 3.61 for Windows.

1: cropping to exact size would be most useful, especially if it automatically reorientated the dimension dependent or portrait or landscape orientation.
1b. grey would provide a very useful alternative in many cropping circumstances

3: custom resize that is remembered would be much appreciated, especially again if it automatically reorientated the dimension dependent or portrait or landscape orientation.


Simon
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