View Full Version : Babelfish for Images
04-26-2004, 12:51 PM
This page allows you to take virtually any web page and examine/edit one good size image on it using a Java Applet. You can type in a URL, or select a sample destination from a popup. Sample pages range from landscapes to nebulae. Once you're there, you can use the page links and surf using the demo. The page also detects if the visitor is browsing with a Macintosh, and if so it brightens the image by a gamma of 1.22. You can zoom in, flip the image horizontally, make it black and white, etc.
The applet is designed for use in photo galleries, this demo page is so that people can see what their sites would look/work like. Note that IMGs need height and width parameters to be selected.
Any feedback appreciated, Thanks!
P.S. Feedback from one tester reported Safari placed a small red 'x' where the applet would be - please report any problems.
I looked at it using Safari on Mac OSX 10.3 and it ran just fine. Still took about 30 sec on DSL to see the image. Also, the interface appears to be circa Win 95, it could use a touchup. Other than the magnifying glass, not sure how useful this would be to the general public. What's it's target audience?
04-26-2004, 06:46 PM
Thanks for the feedback.
I'll take a look at the Interface, it is looking old. It's slow because my server is an old machine (to be updated soon), and the applet image has to be loaded from the source server, onto my server, and then transfered to you. But this is only on the demo page, of course. Normally you wouldn't have to wait for my server to parse the page, etc.
It's targeted at Libraries, Art Galleries (private and public), online photo galleries, educational and scientific establishments, etc.
One of the sample pages shows you the EXIF data for the picture - always handy to know. You never know the viewing conditions of a visitor, they might be in a dim room or on the beach. It would be easy enough to have a brightness (or gamma) setting that would stay in place for the rest of the session. Also, lots of galleries have a gradient picture and suggest you calibrate your monitor to that - why not calibrate the picture to the user? For general photos it's interesting to see how they look in black and white, flipped, etc. It can be fun to see how things look with a bit more contrast, etc. All these settings can be saved at the server and applied to an image (I have a server-side Touchup program). How about having an online gallery where visitors can customize and order your prints to their asthetics? "Perfect for my living room, but could you add 10% more contrast? Oh, I can do that myself?" A museum page with the ability to take a closer look at a historical artefact (zoom/contrast)? The ability to learn what makes a photograph good by looking at a histogram?
To my surprise, one of the earliest commercial uses was for an online traffic violation system down in Florida. In any case, why settle for plain old text and unchangeable images?
I'm biased, but I think it's ideal for a site such as this one. You can take a look at an image someone shot, and after playing around a few second, perhaps you can pass on a few suggestions that might make it look a bit better. What's more likely, that someone will save a photo from this site, bring it up in their editor, play around, save it, and upload a suggested version, or taking a few seconds on an applet and suggesting "10% less contrast"? The idea of this kind of site is to improve, isn't it?
P.S. Oh, one final point - frankly I think the ability to easily make images look good on Windows AND Macintosh is a big deal. Instead of shooting for a gamma somewhere between the two to make each look ok, you can use this to make it look exactly how you want it to on both. The difference in gamma between the 2 is over 20%. What's that, half a stop or more? Would you settle for pictures that came back from your photo lab off by that much? Why should someone settle for that when browsing?
P.P.S. Also, it makes it a lot tougher to take pictures from your page. Yes, you can figure it out by looking at the page source but not everyone is at that level.
Gave it another pass on WinXP running Mozilla Firefox. Got an error trying the pre-set EXIF image. But the fox loaded very quickly. Here are a couple of my own suggestions (seeing as I don't have to do any of the work :-D )
- There's not an intutive way to close the editing controls. How about an "X" to close?
- I really would take a pass at your icons at leas and maybe the button style if you have time. It could really use some lowest common denominator icons that people are familiar with. Like the brightness & contrast symbols on most monitors, drawing tools from most imaging programs, etc.
- Maybe it's the Java, but the slider control for some settings doesn't feel smooth. What about a click-in-drag slider with live update, or at least update the number value and refresh on mouse up?
- Did you know you can click and drag the image with the right mouse button?
04-26-2004, 10:15 PM
I went to take a look, figuring 'what the', and it failed to work for me... I tried three different pages - perhaps it doesn't like Opera 7.23?? That said, I can see your point, Peter, Photoblink uses a system that allows people to crop images and it's very popular, and without it half the suggestions wouldn't happen, or would have that vague 'take off the top 1/4 or so' etc... however, as soon as it gets beyond that, I would always grab the picture and do it in my editor - that way I can fix everything, and show them 'the best' image I can see in it... so the java app wouldn't appeal to me beyond cropping, really...
04-27-2004, 06:00 AM
Ap. I thought the checkmark was reasonably self explanatory for the 'done' button, to me 'x' means cancel. I'll look at the buttons, it is tricky to create something meaningful in such a tiny space. The 'slider' control is 'fake'. I found adding and removing buttons caused Java to be too unstable. You can click on the '-', '+' or on the scale itself. There's no dragging at present. I'll keep it in mind though. Yep, dragging around the image was intentional. You can also left-click and drag it around if you have the horiz/vert control selected.
Stuart, I just downloaded Opera 7.5 and it's quite zippy! Works fine except the full tiger didn't work the first time. Although I found that I couldn't type in a url to visit - wierd. PhotoBlink is a cool site - I'll think about what they offer vs what Touchup can deliver. Do you have Java installed Stuart? Do other Java applets work for you?
P.S. Ok, typing the url into Opera works now.
04-27-2004, 06:47 PM
Yeah, Java works, flash works, most things do - except a lot of the painful little add ins for auto opening multiple spam pages, etc... :-)
04-27-2004, 07:05 PM
It's unlikely, but it could be that the times you've tried it the server was overloaded. I guess the question is, does the demo page fail or does Touchup? http://members.shaw.ca/jonespm2/software.htm is where you can find a number of standard demo galleries, without the fancy page parsing stuff. It would be nice to know what part you're having problems with. Also, are you running on Windows XP, Mac OS X, or ?
Andy: If you want to send me a snapshot of a button style that you think looks cool, feel free. From anywhere, doesn't have to be gamma/mirror/etc buttons. Actually, that was one of my biggest problems when I first designed the control panel. How do you create tiny graphic for Gamma, Alpha, etc. That's one of the reasons I included the context help below it.
04-27-2004, 08:32 PM
I didn't get to anything with graphics from your link, or from entering URL's... I use Win98
04-27-2004, 08:52 PM
Stuart: to be sure, you went to http://members.shaw.ca/jonespm2/software.htm entered into the demo galleries and...? No web page? Applet error? No applet?
Please give me more details.
04-27-2004, 11:58 PM
That link works, but I tried:
and can't get it to go to any pages anywhere... still giving errors...
04-28-2004, 07:20 AM
So, you select 'Red Fox' from the popup and you see what on the screen? What error number? If that works, what are you selecting that causes an error?
04-29-2004, 06:26 PM
Here's a revised control panel mockup:
Line 1: Done, revert, histogram, red, green, blue, alpha, posterize, language.
Line 2: Gamma, brightness, contrast, saturation, colour channels, b&w, pixel noise, noise intensity, script
Line 3: Zoom, vert position, horiz position, horiz mirror, vert flip, 90 deg rotate, html code, benchmark, home page
Any further detail on how/where people are having problems (and with which OS/Browser) is appreciated. :)
05-12-2004, 10:17 AM
I've improved the parsing, added the ability to set your gamma, and added a few new page suggestions.
Feedback is still welcome, my next step is to try work with the online validators and make sure that I'm creating valid code. While it currently works for Windows XP with Explorer, Opera and Mozilla, this may be why it's not behaving for everyone.
05-16-2004, 09:27 PM
I've found a problem using the page with Netscape 7.1, and Mozilla under certain circumstances. Netscape 7.1 was always showing a red X.
The current version should work in all browsers.
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