The Image Hotel & SpaTM
Version 1.0
User's Guide

a. Intended Audience
b. Conventions

1.  Product Overview
1.1  Getting Started

2.  Loading New Images
2.1  Meta Data
2.2  Selecting Images
2.3  Editing the Image List

3.  Hotel Management
3.1 The Image Registry
3.2 The Spa

4.  The Image Theater
4.1 Managing Playbills
4.2 Viewing the Show

5.  Advanced Features
5.1 Registering Animated GIF Files




Intended Audience
This document is intended for use by users of the Java® Image Hotel & SpaTM, version 1.0. It contains important  information for anyone using the product.

© 2004 ePatha Software, LLC  -  San Rafael, CA  USA
Send any questions or comments to: img@epatha.com

Conventions Used

IHS refers to the Image Hotel & Spa

Text in ThisType refers to on screen buttons
Text in ThisType refers to top level menu items
Text in ThisType refers to specific menu selections, or input field labels
Text in ThisType refers to file names


1.  Product Overview

The Java based Image Hotel & SpaTM is a pleasant way to manage all the images you use on your computer. It allows you to arrange, view, label and alter images from a single point of entry.

Images checked into the hotel are automatically assigned a thumbnail representation and unique ID for subsequent identification. The image size, type and catalog date are also determined for you as part of the check in process. Once checked into the hotel the entire list of images can be reviewed and sorted in any way you like.

A simple double click on any of the thumbnail images will provide an image editing window, known as the Spa, where you can flip, mirror, rotate, make grayscale, alter color, brightness or intensity. You can also crop out any portion of the image by a simple click and drag. These alterations can be reverted, or saved as the new default version of the image. Even the saved, altered versions can be restored to the original source version at any time with a single click. In the Spa the altered images can also be printed, or exported into a portable file format (GIF, JPG or BMP).

Images can also be grouped together into Playbills, which are created and viewed in the Image Theater. Playbills are also automatically generated based on your image's assigned categories. In the Image Theater Playbills can be manipulated and assigning attributes like an accompanying audio track and frame colors that are used during playback.

Technically, the Java Image Hotel & SpaTM employs a virtually menu free, all visible interface. This makes it very easy to see what options are available without additional mouse clicks. The product also imposes no limits as to image sizes or number of images. What limits exist are only indirectly imposed by your Java Run Time Environment or other platform restrictions.

1.1 Getting Started

The single point of entry is the Manager screen. From there you can access any of the 3 sub systems: Image Check In, Registry & Spa and Image Theater.


The Manager Screen


To launch the Manager window, just double click on your desktop icon.

Or, if there is no icon available, you can launch from your platform's command interface (like MS-DOS, or csh) and enter

java -cp [installation path]Image.jar com.alphase.img.Manager
Be sure to use the explicit location of your IHS installation path and Image.jar in your classpath - e.g. :
java -cp /root/bin/img/Image.jar com.alphase.img.Manager
Then you can access any of the 3 sub systems shown, or go to the Help menu.

2. Loading New Images

The first step in using the IHS is to find and load the images you want. To get started, just click on the Manager's Check In button.

2.1 Meta Data
Image Check In begins with the Meta Data box. Initially, the Edit List and Check In buttons will be disabled.

The Image Check In Box

Meta data refers to information about the image itself. The IHS maintains 8 such data elements. Three of these elements can be altered by you and can be set in the Meta Data box: Category, Subject and Photo Date.

The other 5 data elements ( Check In Date, Edited Date, Size, Source File Type and File ID ) are generated automatically and cannot be altered by you directly.

First, set the Meta data values. You can add, or delete, Categories at any time via the Add/Delete buttons. Subject is optional. The other data fields will apply defaults if not set. It is important to remember that these choices are for your convenience, to assign data to the group of images your about to register. They will apply to all the images selected in the next step and can always be changed later.

Categories are especially important in that they are also used by the IHS to automatically created Playbills. In other words, special Playbills are created for each Category you assign. So the more carefully you consider your Category names and image assignments, the easier it will be in the Image Theater.

2.2 Selecting Images

Next, find the image files by clicking the Select Images button. A standard file selection box will appear where you can select one, or more, files. Then click Load or Cancel.

All images must be in either GIF, JPG or PNG format. Most photo camera software and web purveyors use one of these formats, so your image sources are virtually limitless.

Go to the Samples sub directory within your installed (Target) directory for some sample image files.

Note Animated GIF files will load into the list and display properly during review, however they will not register automatically during Check In, nor can they be altered in the Spa. Therefore, they are not recommended. See Registering Animated GIF Files for a manual registration method.

2.3 Editing the Image List

At this point the Edit List and Check In buttons will be enabled. To view the full size images, change the Meta Data and/or delete from the current list of files ready for check in, use the Edit List button.

Edit Check In Box

You can go back to the through the cycle of selecting image files and editing the list as many times as you like. New selections will continue to accumulate in the list.

When you're ready to check in the new images, just click on the Check In button and images in the list will be registered. The Meta data box will also return to its original, empty form and will remain active until you click the Close button.



3. Hotel Management
When the Manager's Registry & Spa button is clicked, the IHS loads all the images in the registry which can take several seconds. When complete the Image Registry & Spa window appears.

History Box

3.1 The Image Registry
This window shows the number of entries in the registry next to the Delete button, as #nnn. Each row in the table, represents an image registered in the hotel.

The box, of course, can be stretched to any size in the normal way you resize windows on your platform. Columns widths will adjust in proportion to their original size. Individual column widths can also be adjusted by a click and drag, while positioned over the lines between the column headings. The cursor should change appearance when positioned over these column lines, so you know when to click.

The columns themselves can also be repositioned, so the display order is changed. To do this, click on a column heading (not over a dividing line) then just drag the column to another position. In the example above, the Size column has been dragged from column 8 to column 3. Then Photo Date was dragged to column 4. Notice also that the Show Table Help check box has been deselected, allowing for more table viewing space.

Important: The window's location and size, column widths and column order are automatically saved for future sessions whenever you click on the Exit button.

To permanently delete image entries from the Hotel, select the row(s) to remove and click Delete. Unless you set your preferences to exclude deletion warnings, you will see a confirmation box. If you select either of the Yes choices, the items will be removed.

To change the Meta Data of one, or more images, select the images (rows) of interest and click the Meta Data... button. A window will appear titled "Edit Meta Data". There you can make the changes and click OK or Cancel.

Sorting
You can also sort the table using one, or more, keys. To sort by a primary key, just click and release on a column heading you want as the primary key. The rows will be immediately sorted into ascending order based on the column selected. A blue arrow, outlined in red, will confirm this selection. To change the order to descending, just click on the column heading again. To return to the original order, click on the heading a third time.

To specify a minor sort key, just click and release on the column heading you want to designate as the minor key, while holding down the Ctrl key. The rows will be immediately resorted into ascending order, within the column selected as the primary key. A blue arrow will confirm this selection. To change the minor sort key order to descending, just click on the column heading again, while holding down the Ctrl key. To return to the original order, click on the heading a third time, while holding down the Ctrl key. Additional minor keys can be specified in the same way, with each lesser key being designated by a lighter color blue arrow.

Important: All the tables you encounter in the IHS work in the same flexible manner as the one described above in the Registry.

3.2 The Spa
In addition to viewing the images registered at the hotel, you can also edit them in the Spa.
To move an image into the Spa, just double-click on its thumbnail image and the Spa edit window will appear with the subject image loaded.

Image Edit Window

The top line of controls are sliders, where you can alter brightness, intensity, red content, green content and blue content. Alterations to the image made here will appear almost immediately.

The second line of controls are divided into 2 groups. The left group displays the image size in pixels and options that may be applied when resizing. These are Preserve H/W Ratio , selected by default, and Best Resize Quality not selected by default. More on resizing later.

The right group contains 6 buttons which perform the global functions:

  • Grayscale
  • Sepia Tone
  • Vertical Flip
  • Horizontal Flip (aka Mirror)
  • Rotate Right 90°
  • Revert to Original Image
  • Revert to Source Image
Initially, the Revert to Original Image button will be disabled, because no changes have yet been made. Once a change of any type has been made, this button will be enabled. The rightmost button (Revert to Source Image) may also be disabled, if the image has never been altered and saved. If it is enabled, use this to return to the source image you originally loaded. Regardless of the button pressed, alterations made via these buttons will also appear almost immediately.

Resizing
Below the second line of controls is another slider bar with numbers indicating the current image width in pixels. On the image's left side is the corresponding slider bar indicating the current image height in pixels. Slide these bars to alter the image size. Changes will take effect when you release the slider bar. These changes may take a few seconds to complete, depending on the original image size and whether the Best Resize Quality check box was selected. Large images with Best Resize Quality selected, may take several seconds to complete.

Cropping
Cropping means selecting a portion of an image to become the new whole image. You can crop an image anywhere to any size, by a simple click and drag on the image. The change will take effect as soon as you release the mouse button.

Printing & Exporting
On the bottom toolbar, along with the Save and Cancel buttons, you will see the Print and Export buttons. As you would expect the Print button sends the current version of your image to your graphics printer. While the Export button will ask you to specify the file format (GIF, JPG or BMP) and location of the output file before the IHS creates it.



4. The Image Theater

The Image Theater allows you to display your images in a finished form with frames and sound accompaniment. Images are grouped into a Playbill with these options and then can be played in either manual or automatic mode. To begin these functions click on the Manager's Image Theater button and the List of Playbills window will appear.

List of Playbills Window


4.1 Managing Playbills

To create a new Playbill, click on the New button.

Create Playbill Window

Everything but Name is optional in this window. The name can contain anything, but must be unique and must not begin with an asterisk(*). If you want to display a frame around the images during playback, select the Frame Thickness in pixels and alter the frame color, via the Color button. Audio files to accompany the playback can be selected via the Find button and tested via the play button. Most wav and midi audio formats will work.

Go to the Samples sub directory within your installed (Target) directory for some samples of audio files that will work.

To add images to the Playbill, click on the Add... button. A list of all the registered images will appear and you can select any number of them to add to the Playlist. The added images will appear back in the Create Playbill window. To alter the order of playback, select one or more images from the playback list and then use the up and/or down arrows to move the selected images up or down. The Order column will show the current order number as well as their previous order number (in parentheses).

To edit a Playbill, select it then click on the Edit... button. A box just like the Add box will appear, but with all the data filled in. Here you can alter anything except the Playbill name, unless the Playbill you selected is an auto generated Category Playbill (see below).

Assuming you have added at least one Category along the way, you will also see the auto generated Category Playbills. Each such Playbill begins with an asterisk(*) and is followed by the name of the Category it represents. All the images assigned to a Category will be included in the Playbill, unless the Category has been deleted. In that case, images assigned to the deleted category will not be included in any auto generated Playbill.
While you can delete such Playbills in the normal way, they will reappear the next time you visit the Image Theater. You can also edit them in the normal way, except you cannot add or remove images from the list, nor can you change its description. And, while frame and audio changes are permanent, the viewing order changes for these Playbills will be lost when you exit the IHS.

4.2 Viewing the Show

When you have your Playbill ready, return to the List of Playbills window and select the entry you want to view. Then click on the View... button. The View control window will appear.

View Box

Here you can select either manual or automatic mode, which describes how the images progress through the Playbill. When Manual is selected, each image remains visible until you press the Enter key or click on the Next or Previous buttons.
When Automatic is selected, the Delay selection widget is enabled and you can choose how many seconds each image will remain visible, before displaying the next image in the list.

The DISPLAY SIZE options tell the IHS viewer how to size the displayed images. You can choose either to display each image in its normal size, or force all the images to fit into a uniform size. If Uniform Size is selected, 3 additional options are made available:

  • Model to 1st Image where the display size is set to the first image's size.
  • Maximum View where the display sizes are scaled to the maximum displayable size.
  • Specified where the display sizes are specified, explicitly, by you.

The final options allow you to suppress the Playbill's audio accompaniment, or include a framed opening and closing image transition.

When all settings are as you like, click the Start button and the Playbill will begin the show.

Playbill Viewer



5. Advanced Features

5.1 Registering Animated GIF Files

Follow these steps to register animated GIF files. Remember, even after they are added, they cannot be altered in the Spa like other images.
  1. Start the Manager from a command line window, like MS-DOS, as described in 1.1 Getting Started
  2. Select the file(s) in the normal way , as described in 2.2  Selecting Images & Editing the List
  3. Click on the Check In button. You will hear a beep each time an animated GIF is encountered and a message will appear in the CLI window describing the error. Example:
    File error. Unable to move:
            C:\Program Files\img\TTemp\TheAnimated.gif
    to
            C:\Program Files\img\Source\11F.gif
  4. Close the Check In window, but not the main, Manager, window.
  5. Use your platform's file window, or the command line window, and copy each of the files as shown in the CLI above. Example:
    copy C:\Program Files\img\TTemp\TheAnimated.gif C:\Program Files\img\Source\11F.gif





For any problems or suggestions, please email us at img@epatha.com.
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