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Author Topic: Simple means of joining images?  (Read 6498 times)
rjbull
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« on: April 30, 2012, 03:59:31 PM »

Please, is there a simple program that will allow me to butt-join graphic images together, much like you'd do with paper and glue?  This would be nice for things like before-and-after screenshots, etc.  The images might not always be the same size or shape.  I'd like full control over their positioning, and to save the composite result as a new graphic.

I thought this was what NANY 2012 Pledge & Release: Image Grid was, but it felt like a sliding-block puzzle and wasn't quite what I wanted.   
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oblivion
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 04:19:10 PM »

You make it sound so simple...

I'd have said that you're asking for something that can handle layered images so you can resize individual layers and move them about with respect to each other and finally merge the layers into a single composite.

I'm not aware of anything out there that can do that without bolting in all the other stuff you'd expect a layer-aware image editor to be able to do. However... have you tried Serif's PhotoPlus SE? (I don't know and can't tell from the site if it can do layers like its commercial counterpart but it's probably worth a try!)

If you're after something more scrapbook-ey, Serif also have an offering along those lines: CraftArtist

Both of the above have commercial versions and free versions: I think Serif -- these days -- are a little overpriced but they do tend to chuck the odd special offer around. And you might find the free versions do all you need anyway.

Unless I'm vastly misunderstanding what you're after, here?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 04:28:12 PM by oblivion; Reason: nasty typo! » Logged

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skwire
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 04:23:29 PM »

rjbull, did any of the "panorama photo stitching" type of software apps out there meet your needs?
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hpearce
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 04:37:28 PM »

JSHOT allows you append screenshots together either beside or below when you take take the shot .

I believe screenshot capture is going to have that feature too (someday) .
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IainB
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 04:54:21 PM »

You make it sound so simple...
It is that simple: (I need to do this sort of thing all the time, exactly as @rjbull describes, and I do it in my main PIM - Microsoft OneNote)


(By the way, this took me seconds to do. As a demonstration, I used ScreenshotCaptor to add the notes and arrows to the composite image, but I could have done that quicker in OneNote too.)
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 05:22:40 PM »

I was going to suggest the NANY entry ImageGrid that you rejected in your initial post. It's a great too with a real focus on this kind of thing.

I understand it may not do all that you need -- but perhaps at some point you could spell out what you think could be added to make it do what you need in case it could be added to the program.
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tomos
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 05:56:58 PM »

Does Picassa's collage do what you want?

Drag images to bottom left of window.
Then -
menu: Create >Picture Collage

You will have to right-click image to get them to zero rotation.
To resize/rotate: click in the middle of an image. A circle should appear - you can rotate using this. On the right-side of the circle there's a red dot (similar to radio-style-button) - drag horizontally to resize.

AFAICS there's no way to figure out original size of the image. They are pre-resized to fit in the "page".

Collages get saved automatically in My Pictures\Picasa\Collages. You can also "Save as".
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 07:15:08 PM »

Open the images with a program that will let you open more then one at a time.
Crop, resize or whatever, line them up and take a Screenshot of it.

Or my original thought was to use Frameless,
which opens as many images as you want to, on your desktop.
Put them where you want them and take a Screenshot.
You may have to resize or crop before opening with Frameless.

http://skwire.dcmembers.com/fp/?page=frameless
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IainB
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 07:23:37 PM »

In OneNote, take 2 snippets (images) of this discussion thread and place them side-by-side:


Then slide them together so they fit perfectly: (I have deliberately done it imperfectly so as you can see the join)


Images can be scaled up/down (made bigger/smaller) to suit whatever you need.
(By the way, the grey background in the DCF images is what I have selected in my browser, rather than the default colours. That is how it actually looks.)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 07:48:15 PM by IainB » Logged
IainB
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 08:04:39 PM »

Or you can have some fun with a couple of snippets and make people write what they never wrote:     ohmy

___________________________________________
(This is based on the Penn.U "Trick" method.)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 08:10:17 PM by IainB » Logged
skwire
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 08:39:50 PM »

Or my original thought was to use Frameless,
which opens as many images as you want to, on your desktop.
Put them where you want them and take a Screenshot.
You may have to resize or crop before opening with Frameless.

http://skwire.dcmembers.com/fp/?page=frameless

FWIW, you can adjust a Frameless window with the arrow keys for precise positioning:

  • Up/Down/Left/Right arrow keys will move an image one pixel at a time.
  • Shift + Up/Down/Left/Right arrow keys will move an image ten pixels at a time.
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 08:53:01 PM »

Not sure how much control you're after, but for the sake of completeness ImageMagick/GraphicsMagick convert with the -append switch will join images.

Ehtyar.
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Renegade
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 09:35:00 PM »

Why not just bite the bullet and learn to use the GIMP or Paint.NET? They do everything and more, and really, once you know how to use them, they're pretty easy to use, and free. Doing what you are asking to do is still very quick in both of them. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you know the few little bits that you need to do that, it's trivial.

At the end of the day, you'll likely spend less time learning the GIMP or Paint.NET than you'd spend trying to find something that does only what you want. Often it's simply faster & easier to abandon the search for some specific functionality in favour of broader functionality.
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 10:10:10 PM »

JSHOT allows you append screenshots together either beside or below when you take take the shot .
HyperSnap also has this feature.
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IainB
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 11:27:32 PM »

Or something like this, maybe?


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rjbull
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2012, 02:25:39 PM »

have you tried Serif's PhotoPlus SE? [...] I think Serif -- these days -- are a little overpriced but they do tend to chuck the odd special offer around.

My impression is that if you once buy something, anything, from Serif, you'll be constantly mugged with unmissable special offers ever after.  In other words, you rarely need to buy anything full price.  Result - I have a slew of fairly recent Serif products, none of which I really use   mad  The only one I have actually installed is PagePlus X6, which is probably usable for what I had in mind.  However, I was thinking of something smaller and simpler.
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rjbull
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 02:34:44 PM »

did any of the "panorama photo stitching" type of software apps out there meet your needs?
I haven't tried them - but there's a similar thread, Looking for image stitching software without processing image content, in which Carol Haynes explains why it didn't suit her needs, and I think rather the same way.  As I understand it, panoramic software expects a series of images that have been deliberately taken with overlaps, and does its best to integrate them all into one.  I'm looking for a simpler program that allows me to move images around on a grid, lock them in place, and preferably turns the ensemble into a new composite image.
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rjbull
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 02:38:25 PM »

I need to do this sort of thing all the time, exactly as @rjbull describes, and I do it in my main PIM - Microsoft OneNote
Does OneNote allow you to save the composite as a new image, and/or send it to the clipboard?  Is there some "docking" tool that helps you line them up?

[Edit at UK time 2012-05-02, 20:49:-]You really had fun with that, didn't you?  smiley
[/Edit]
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 02:50:27 PM by rjbull » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2012, 02:44:24 PM »

I was going to suggest the NANY entry ImageGrid that you rejected in your initial post. [..] perhaps at some point you could spell out what you think could be added to make it do what you need

I tried it once, briefly, and some while back; my memory is imperfect.  AIRI, I tried adding images to it, and found they danced around the workspace.  Adding new images pushed the others to different places on the screen.  I couldn't (figure out how to) pin them in fixed locations of my choice.  Also, IIRC, it needs all the images to be the same size, which is limited.  Further features that might be nice would be a grid or dotted background for aligning images, and perhaps the ability to make images "magnetic" so that they would automatically "stick" to each other and thereafter be movable as a group, like some sticky notes programs.
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rjbull
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 02:48:14 PM »

JSHOT allows you append screenshots together either beside or below when you take take the shot .
HyperSnap also has this feature.

I have a license for HyperSnap 6, but not the latest, 7.  Are you thinking of the "Multi-region capture," or something else?
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rjbull
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2012, 03:00:11 PM »

Thanks, folks, for the other suggestions too.
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2012, 04:18:35 PM »

JSHOT allows you append screenshots together either beside or below when you take take the shot .
HyperSnap also has this feature.

I have a license for HyperSnap 6, but not the latest, 7.  Are you thinking of the "Multi-region capture," or something else?
No, I'm talking about a feature under Capture Settings that allows you to paste each new capture to the one before it, either vertically or horizontally.  You can also set an optional margin between captures.  I think this may be a new feature of version 7, but I'm not sure.  At any rate, I've found it quite useful at times.
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IainB
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« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2012, 02:48:00 AM »

I need to do this sort of thing all the time, exactly as @rjbull describes, and I do it in my main PIM - Microsoft OneNote
Does OneNote allow you to save the composite as a new image, and/or send it to the clipboard?  Is there some "docking" tool that helps you line them up?
[Edit at UK time 2012-05-02, 20:49:-]You really had fun with that, didn't you?  smiley
[/Edit]

In answer to your Qs above:
  • Does OneNote allow you to save the composite as a new image, and/or send it to the clipboard? Yes to both, and in alternative ways. I could explain it but you'd probably be best off trialling OneNote and seeing how it works yourself. A video on OneNote could help - would you like me to point you at some? There are some good ones on OneNote 2007. (I only have the 2007 version and don't know about 2011, but that'd probably be at least as good.)
  • Is there some "docking" tool that helps you line them up? Yes, but I'm not sure I'd call it a "tool". It seems to be an inherent docking function, but it's difficult to discern how it works. OneNote uses sort of dynamic but invisible "canvasses"/containers for objects on a page. You can past or create image objects anywhere on the page and a container is created for them, so you can drag them around to overlap or align anywhere, at will. Very easy and smooth in use - redolent of Aldus/Adobe Pagemaker on the Mac, years ago. The user is largely unaware of this - the container concept in action seems to be unobtrusive and highly intuitive - e.g., it didn't hinder my doing all the things I did in the examples I created for you, above. So, for example, I could overlap objects, move an object to back/foreground, or butt join them on vertical or horizontal faces, etc.

Fun: Yes, it was fun! Your Q was an opportunity for me to play with OneNote's image and graphic (drawing) manipulation capability (which is also quite extensive).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 03:08:41 AM by IainB; Reason: Minor corrections. » Logged
oblivion
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« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2012, 04:34:31 AM »

The only one I have actually installed is PagePlus X6, which is probably usable for what I had in mind.  However, I was thinking of something smaller and simpler.
PPX6 would probably work for you if your intended "final destination" was a printed page -- but (a) I assumed you were more screen-focussed and (b) I was trying to find a free solution that I'd be at least reasonably happy to use myself. smiley Serif kit -- despite their marketing tactics and their occasionally overpushy salespeople -- is mostly pretty good. (You can always opt out of the emails!)

IainB's suggestion of OneNote looks good, but I'm not sure it's an appropriate solution to the problem if it's the only likely use you have for it and if you don't already have an Office license.

If you already have a PhotoPlus license for pretty much any version at all, you can use it to create a new, blank image then drag in images from Explorer or ScreenshotCaptor or whatever; each dropped image becomes a layer that you can manipulate independently of the others, with each layer being automatically named for the image's filename. (PhotoPlus also has screen capture capabilities, if you're in reductionist mode, although ScreenshotCaptor has elbowed everything else I've ever used for such purposes out of the way!) At any stage you can choose to merge all the visible layers into a single image, or you can leave the layers in place and export the visible layers into a normal graphic with the usual range of output formats.

Photofiltre might also be worth a look. It also optionally works with layers but it also has quite a nice facility (Assemble) that'll take the image on the clipboard and add it to the top, bottom, left or right of the current image. (v7 is free for private use.) In contrast to PhotoPlus, images dropped onto Photofiltre are handled separately so you would probably do the resize, then copy to clipboard, switch to the primary image then use the Assemble function.

Another possibility along similar lines is Fotografix. Smaller and less feature-rich but also layer-aware and the transform tool (for resizing layers) is easy to use (remember to shift-drag to constrain the image to its original proportions -- same as Serif in that respect.)
 
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rjbull
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2012, 03:01:55 PM »

I have a license for HyperSnap 6, but not the latest, 7.  Are you thinking of the "Multi-region capture," or something else?
No, I'm talking about a feature under Capture Settings that allows you to paste each new capture to the one before it, either vertically or horizontally.  You can also set an optional margin between captures.  I think this may be a new feature of version 7, but I'm not sure.

Ah - and thanks, looks like it is in version 6: see screenshots.  Nice, though I'd still like more control.


* sshot-01.png (113.46 KB, 720x480 - viewed 95 times.)

* Snap1a.jpg (46.73 KB, 1712x324 - viewed 76 times.)
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