Image Editing and Viewing Tools

Michael
Michael
16
146
2004-12-07T11:45:00Z
2005-01-21T03:07:00Z
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Image
Editing and Viewing Tools

(as provided in
Microsoft Windows and Office)

 

This is an article in progress. It has been
created out of the frustration of trying to do some simple viewing and
business-type editing tasks with the image tools available from Microsoft. Most
of the problems reflect a bizarre lack of communication between the different
groups at Microsoft looking after these products.

 

Programs

 

Acronym

Full
Name

Notes

Types
Handled

Views

Edit
Operations

TIFF

MOPM

Microsoft Office
Picture Manager

· introduced with Office 2003

·    JPG, BMP, GIF,PNG

·    TIFF (single page)

·    Thumbnail of folder contents

·    Rotate, Flip

·    Crop, Resize, Compress

·    Red-Eye Removal

·    Color, Brightness & Contrast

 

·    Single-page only

MODI

Microsoft Office
Document Imaging

· introduced with Office XP/2002

· coupled with MODS (Microsoft Office
Document Scanning)

· missing useful clean-up operations such as
re-centre, crop,  stretch, erase

· TIFF (proprietary compression format, or
LZW for interop)

· MODI (proprietary)

· Thumbnail of file images

· Rotate

· Annotation

· reordering for multi-image TIFFs

· white pen may be used to erase

 

· Default TIFF handler

· Multi-page

· Allows annotation

· OCR

PFV

Windows Picture
and Fax Viewer

· Integrated with Explorer

·  

· JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG

· TIFF – multipage

 

· Slideshow

· Fit page

·    Rotate

·   
Annotation   

·    Does not allow zoom above 100% for small
images

· Multi-page

 

WMP

Windows Media
Player

· Image handling introduced with v10 (2004)

·  

· JPG, BMP, GIF

· Problems with rendering many JPGs

· Slideshow

· None

·  

Journal

Windows Journal
(Tablet PC only)

· Viewer available on Windows 2000 and XP.

· Sibling of MODI (under the covers)

· TIFF

· JNT (Journal Note file)

· Exports to MHT so that IE may be used as
viewer

· Actual

· Fit width

· Fit page

· simple paint operations

· white pen may be used to erase

· Annotation

· Opens but does not allow editing unless
saving to JNT

· Can export JNT to B&W TIFF only
(Fax-level compression)

IE

Internet Explorer

·  

·    JPG, BMP, GIF,PNG

· Problems with PNG transparency

· Cache-issues generate image save problems

· Zoom via plug-in

·  None

·  N/A

Paint

Paint

· Windows utility

·    JPG, BMP, GIF,PNG

·    TIFF

· Can’t zoom out to factor below 100%

· SDI window or full-screen

· No fit-to-page

· simple paint operations

· white pen may be used to erase

· Resize (via stretch/skew)

· Single-page only

MIC

Microsoft Image
Composer

· Briefly lived Office program that grew out
of the Picture It codebase

· Powerful program with incomprehensible UI
that couldn’t even be used to take screen-captures

·    Many types

· many

· many

· ?

PowerPoint

PowerPoint

· Office program

· Useful as adhoc
image editor as individual slides may be saved as images

·    Many types

·  Many

· Office drawing operations

· N/A

 

TIFF handling

TIFF is a container format that allows for
multiple images to be stored, and a variety of compression algorithms. Not all
TIFF viewers allow you to view beyond the first image in the file. Some such viewers may destroy unseen images
if you save the file in that viewer.

 

Annotation

Each
program with such features has a different set of features, and there is
basically no interoperation between them. Annotations must be saved into the
background image (ie destructive change to the image)
in order for the “annotations” to be visible in another of the
programs.

 

FPX/MIX

Flashpix format was a co-development
of Microsoft with Kodak, Live Picture and HP. Microsoft’s only real
support has been in its Picture It! / Digital Image Suite line, where it began
as the default save format, and over time lost out to PNG. Office has offered import
filters
, but basically MS has left many users high and dry by omitting
basic support for this format in their premier software, even if only to allow
them to view these files and convert them to something more mainstream. You may
find that Explorer can display the file thumbnail when the folder is in
thumbnail view (as this is stored inside the file). If you don’t have
Picture It! or Digital Image Suite (or other Microsoft nom-du-jour) then a
third-party program

 

Insert
Picture

Most of the programs that support
multi-page image formats such as TIFF or JNT, also allow insertion of external
image files. While this is similar to inserting pictures into a Word document,
the nature of image files is that inserting a picture (or annotation) and
saving the file, means covering a section of the image and destroying that
piece of data. Only compound files
like MIX or JNT (or Office Documents) allow “layers” so that
annotations or inserted images do not permanently obscure content.

 

Import/Export
vs Open/Save

An imported file is converted to the
default format of the program.

An exported file is saved to a different
format than the file was opened in. A program may not be able to open/import a
file that it has exported.

 

Open/Save are used
where a program understands how to work directly with a file-type and can save
any changes without loss to that file format. So for example, when Microsoft
Word opens a text file, it is strictly speaking, performing an import. When it
saves to a text file, it notifies the user that many changes may be lost in the
process (so this is an export).

 

Windows Journal can open TIFF files, and
you may edit these, but the changed file cannot be saved back to TIFF (except
by exporting to B&W TIFF). Windows Journal can export/save a document to
MHT format, but it cannot open MHT files. While these are not optimal
scenarios, there are generally very good reasons for these limitations. For
instance, Journal knows enough to be able to spit out documents as a series of
images, loosely bound with some script code to display a page-based view of
these images. This is saved out as an MHT (HTML archive) file. This is the
extent of Journal’s knowledge of that “language”: it knows
how to ask for coffee and get to the airport, but it can’t understand the
infinitely rich descriptive power of HTML to render any MHT file. Even writing
file parse code to see if the MHT file was of the right limited type (ie coffee/airport instructions) is not particularly
valuable.

 

Slide
Shows

 

Windows XP offers a slide-show task in
folders containing pictures.

WMP v10 has a slide-show.

 

Bugs/Issues

 

MOPM

  • Won’t allow you to view hidden/system files even if they
    are viewable in Explorer. Very annoying when trying to look at Album
    thumbnails!

 

MODI 2003

  • After saving a file with a new name, the taskbar icon is not
    updated.
  • If you select multiple page thumbnails and apply the rotate
    command, some pages may not be rotated, and selection may be lost for
    those pages.
  • If you change the file compression settings and save the file,
    those settings are not honoured unless each page is “dirtied”
    e.g. you can rotate each page one turn and then back. (KB article: )
  • Sometimes lose the mouse/pen cursor visibility.
  • Using default OCR language may yield gibberish. Recommend
    setting this explicitly.
  • Cleaning up multi-page TIFFs is a
    laborious process. Once I’ve scanned a document via MODI and
    exhausted its limited clean-up features, I go through the following
    process:
    • Open the file in Paint Shop Pro (from www.jasc.com), which splits the TIFF into
      a file per page.
    • Clean up the file as necessary (e.g. centre the text, use
      image filters to clean up)
    • Save the files.
    • To put them back together again, I have to open each file in
      MODI and then drag the pages into a single file again. Unfortunately, you
      can’t directly drop in TIFF or other image files from Explorer, as
      say Acrobat allows you to do when assembling a PDF from page images.
  • File thumbnails are not generated for files saved with
    Microsoft’s own image codecs.

Windows XP

  • Image previews shown in the Explorer task pane look moth-eaten
    if the image has transparent elements.

 

Windows Journal

  • File thumbnail support in Explorer requires a special
    power-toy. I think this only works on Tablet PCs, so it doesn’t help
    those who save their JNT files on a server or desktop.

 

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