Automatic image index-maker software

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
Automatic image index-maker software

Our own Matt Mets put me onto this program called Montage from the open-source ImageMagick suite. Shown above is Matt’s image “Things in my kitchen,” and here is the command line to Montage that produced it:

montage +frame +shadow +label -tile 10×8 -borderwidth 1 -background white -bordercolor white -geometry 200×133 *.jpg stuff.jpg

As you can see, Montage takes all the work out of combining a bunch of individual images into an array of images, dealing automatically with all the resizing, cropping, arranging, and/or labeling headaches automatically.

Below is my own experiment with the software, “A visual guide to necklines,” which I made because I never have any idea how to describe women’s clothes.

Montage arrayed the images, added drop shadows, and labeled them based on their file names automatically. The only real work involved was tracking down the images online and saving them as appropriately-named files, but it wouldn’t be hard to write a script to do that, either. Then one could conceivably go from a typed list of nouns to a complete visual index of those nouns completely automatically.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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