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Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2007, 10:57 PM
Hargoth Hargoth is offline
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Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

I've written a small piece of software in vb.net that, with some cosmetic tweaks, might be a sellable product. I'd like your opinions!

The program takes a snapshot then crops the active document in photoshop to whatever sizes you select in the checkboxes, (wallets, 4x5, 5x7, 8x10, etc). It then adds the photographer signature in selectable color at the bottom left or bottom right of the image, also selectable. It then saves the logo'd image to a different directory with a suffix added to the filename, (sunset.jpg becomes sunset 4x5.jpg, for example). The program then recalls the snapshot, and does the same process to crop to the next size.

This saves me an hour or two per day during the busy season.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2007, 10:37 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

hargoth, welcome to RP.

i'm going to hazard a guess here, based partially on the lack of response and partially from my own needs and wants, that this may not be something that's in high demand.

i always hate responding to these because i dont want to discourage anyone from making their creations and i suspect that may be why others havent responded as well. so, what i can offer is, maybe expand your product a bit more. or maybe demonstrate its ease of use or whatever you consider would make it a worthy purchase.

and as for personal preferences, you seem to be missing some common formats, like 4 x 6, 3 x 5 and the larger format printer sizes. also, i tend to do my crops rather quickly manually, so i dont quite understand how this is going to save me that much time. the signature part is good, though. but i also am not quite sure i like the file being saved off in a separate directory. i'd want to know a bit more about that. i'm fairly particular about how i organize my files and where things get saved.

and on a broader scale, i believe both photoshop and psp have cropping features. even some printer software comes with fairly good scalable cropping features. so, i'd want to know why i'd use your software over someone else's that is already built into the program.

and here's a suggestion since i mentioned scalable, how about having the checkboxes like you have for common sizes, but then offer a slider feature for both the horizontal and vertical for non-common sizes.

so again, i dont want to step on your endeavors, but i'm not sure this is going to be a high demand type item based on all of the above.

also, one question here, how does your signature part work? is it done by fonts or does it import an already made image and insert it into the image or is it some sort of watermark thing?
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:40 AM
Hargoth Hargoth is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Thanks for the response!

The sizes listed are just examples based on what I use most frequently. Any size/resolution can be added.

The demand I suppose would come from studios like ours. We shoot highschool seniors mostly. They order from 5-10 poses from 50+ proofs. Those 5-10 are various sizes, and we like to put our name on our work.

Our old process was as follows:
1. crop 4x5 @ 600
2. run logo action
3. ctrl+shift s to save as
4. find our to-lab directory
5. add 4x5 to the filename
6. go back before the crop in history and do their other size prints.

average 6 images per order, 6 orders per day.. I'm doing that 36x! Ugh!

This program does those six steps in just a few seconds.

I don't know what goes on behind the scenes at other studios, maybe they have a much easier way, or a different system entirely.

The logo is currently just a font, but my next version will include a separate image for logo as an option.

You mentioned horizontal or vertical crops.. it figures that out automatically. It will crop and put the logo in the correct place whether you have 4x5 or 5x4.

Also, the filename and/or directory, and even file type/compression will all be customizable presets. Building this from the ground up means I can do absolutely anything with it. It suits MY purposes, but if its to be a marketable product, the feedback from other professionals is greatly needed and appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:16 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Let me add my welcome, too. I greatly admire those with technical skills to craft solutions like you have to meet specific needs and be able to further customize them as needs change.

I can't speak to the potential market appeal of your tool and am not aware of anything comparable, though some of Russell Brown's scripts may come close.

Based on your workflow descriptions I am pretty sure what you're doing could be accomplished using actions invoked by the Batch command either from Photoshop or Bridge. If you are indeed cropping, i.e., literally lopping off portrions of each image to meet specific size needs, the action could be paused at each step to allow one to get the best crop. If commands like Fit Image or Image Size are used for sizing, then the process could be fully automated end-to-end, including signature placement and application of the custom file name. It would take time to build the various actions to accomodate each output size, but once setup/testing was complete it would be a fairly straight forward work flow:
* Create a folder for the finished images
* Invoke the action that executes the Batch command
* Specify Source and Destination folders
* Click OK to launch

That said most Photoshop users are not as familiar as I am with all the nuances (and potholes) of actions and batch processing, so the easy-to-setup, just a-few-clicks solution you developed could very well have a high degree of appeal to that audience.

In any event congrats on your success and hats off on developing technical skills to the degree you have. That in and of itself is a significant accomplishment.

~Danny~
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:06 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Quote:
This program does those six steps in just a few seconds.
ok, i got ya. in that case, there may be more call for something like this than i orginally thought. so, i'm glad you responded, since i do almost no batch file or bulk type work as this.

some additional screenshots might help get more responses. the original image you posted had no 4 x 6 checkbox, which is why i thought it was lacking in that format.

are the fonts user-choosable or fixed to one or two types?

and as for the horizontal and vertical crops, i often do non-standard types, which is why i mentioned the sliders for this. in other words, if i want a ratio of 4.5 x 9 can i do it and can i do it by pixels rather than ratios? in your work, this may be unimportant, but it may be required by others.

also, will this program work in any photoshop compatible plugin type program or just photoshop?
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Old 03-29-2007, 02:31 AM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Post Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Such a product already exists, at least for Mac. Though it is always cool to be able to develop your own software!
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:14 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Hi Hargoth, we have a portrait studio - but we are lower volume than it sounds like you are - although we do some package orders where something like this could come in handy.

Maybe it is because I am pooped, but I am not quite clear on how it works, so as not to make assumptions, here are my guesses ...

- the script/program interface is open or open in its own program window while you are retouching the image in photoshop...
- instead of manually copying and cropping and adding the studio signature, you check the needed checkboxes and click the button to run in your program?

The workflow differences that I can think of off hand that might make this a challenge for us ...

-I find I often crop differently for 5x7 shape than the 8x10 shape, (looking at where the 8x10 crops, the 5x7 might crop at the 8x10's 7.5x10.5 or whatever, - if that makes any sense)
-I often crop quite a bit (as opposed to just in enough for the difference in format.

All of our work is custom, as opposed to yearbook headshots, kind of shooting ...

Here is our workflow ...

- We do artwork on a master image we call filenumber_work.psd, this we always leave in layers at original size with the original image on the background layer,
- Keyboard shortcut to run action to add signature, change color of signature depending on image
- Keyboard shortcut to duplicate image - type in size at end of file name
- Type C for crop tool, choose crop preset and crop, position signature
- Keyboard shortcut to send to printer (copies the image flattened, saves to printers hot folder, closes image)
- Control-E to flatten, Control-W to close, press enter key ("Yes I want to save") (now that I read this these three could be one action :-) with the save dialog checked in the action in case photoshop defaults to the wrong customer's folder )

Back to original work image for next size

We make a 5x7, and then run an action on it when we want wallets.

Not sure how much help this is, but it is real world feedback. ;-)

Take Care,
Roger
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:03 AM
Hargoth Hargoth is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

Roger,

My goal for the weekend/upcoming week is to get a demo version or something, and post it here for folks to try out.

It sounds like your workflow is very similar to ours, so I'm looking forward to your feedback once you try this. Your first two assumptions are correct. Your two worries about cropping odd sizes such as 5x7 and cropping in tight.. both are taken care of with this. I've gone back and made the crop happen via an action in photoshop instead of in the code. That allows the action to pause while you position the crop box as you need, then hit enter to continue. AFTER the crop, the logo is added. I had the crop coded in the program at one point, but it was difficult to reposition the cropbox, so I reverted to using an action.

I'll hit it hard for the next few days and try to get something up for everyone to toy with.

Thanks for the feedback!

James
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  #9  
Old 03-31-2007, 05:00 AM
coal coal is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

sounds liek a stripped down version of adobe lightroom
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  #10  
Old 03-31-2007, 10:43 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Re: Writing software for cropping. Sellable product?

James,

I look forward to trying it. Also, I am more than happy to help with concept, workflow, etc. I wrote, over the years, our studio management software in MS Access (would not do it again ;-) but at the time what I wanted wasn't available) - it does sales/invoicing, job & order tracking, payables/checkbook, payroll, even retail frame prices from chop, etc ... . I have glanced at scripting and vb (use the Access set of vb a lot) but have not wanted to grow another hobby, and I don't like coding really, I like designing interfaces, workflows and solving problems so I have purposefully shyed away from learning more development programs. So, bottom line for me, helping you out gives me the fun part that I like, and I look forward to it.

Thanks,
Roger
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