Zwabel’s Weblog

April 6, 2009

KDE for Painters

Filed under: KDE — zwabel @ 11:40 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

My mother is an artist(A painter, see website). Since me and my brother have to administrate her computer, and she’s using Windows XP, we always have to deal with all kinds of problematic implications that come from this. Linux is a lot better suitable for remote administration
, and since she’s already using Thunderbird and Firefox, one should think that this isn’t such a hard switch.

So we tried it, and we nearly got her go crazy. Because she was using Windows Explorer before to manage her pictures, she has accumulated a really strange structure for them: Hundrets of folders, each with between 5 and 50 pictures, and all in a flat tree, and all badly named.

There is only one way of keeping at least a minimum level of overview in this mess: By recognizing the content of the folders using folder previews. Although this isn’t such a complicated thing, there seems to be no linux file manager that has this feature, until now.

I’ve implemented this feature within the KDE preview generator, so it works within all KDE applications now:
folder_previews
Isn’t it beautiful? Actually, the fact that it is beautiful is due to Peter Penz, who put the previews into the folder icon after I implemented the actual previewing. Now all we need is some more speed in preview generation, and it would be perfect.

This is one of the killer features my mother needs, and there is one more. She usually takes photographs of her paintings. The photographs tend to also show the borders, and are never perfectly even. Now there is a proprietary application on windows where you can just select the borders, and have the application perfectly map the picture into a rectangular and correctly scaled form.

Gimp comes relatively close to this with its inverse perspective transform tool, but it doesn’t change the pixel-size of the image to correctly reflect the size of the selected rectangle. Also it is a too complicated tool for such simple tasks.

However digikam also has a perspective transform tool in showfoto, and showfoto seems generally to be a very good and simple application for doing simple image adjustments like brightness/contrast etc., so this application would be a perfect match. However that tool also didn’t support inverse transform and resizing the image to the content yet.

Since it as well lives in the KDE source tree, this was also a simple attacking point for me. Here you can see the result, already present in the current digikam beta release:
Here you select the area that will be inversely mapped into a rectangular shape(I didn’t have an actual painting available):
inverse_transform_pre
And the result:
inverse_transform_post

So to make it short: If you’re a painter, then KDE 4.3 is for you. 🙂

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