Friday, January 04, 2013

digiKam installation and configuration - Part 4

In the post About picture correction and work optimization we have made a decision to use digiKam to correct thousands of scanned pictures as effectively as possible. But before we can start using digiKam, we need to install it and configure some settings. Since we have quite some work to do I have split it into several parts:
  • In Part 1 we talk about digiKam installation, then we install VMware Player and Ubuntu Linux on Windows and configure Ubuntu regional settings.
  • In Part 2 we install digiKam and talk some more about VMware Player and Ubuntu Linux.
  • In Part 3 we copy pictures from Windows to Ubuntu VM and exercise some Ubuntu desktop tweaking.
  • In this post we configure some of digiKam's settings and picture editor keyboard shortcuts.

DigiKam configuration

OK digiKam is installed, but before we start editing scanned pictures there are several settings to configure. Start digiKam (if it is not already running) and in the menus open Settings / Configure DigiKam. There are hundreds of configurations options available organized in several categories you can select on the left. You can leave most of them at default setting, but I suggest taking a look at the following categories:

First select category Collections. These are the folders where digiKam is looking for the pictures to work on. It was already configured in first run assistant (in my case Col.0 points to /home/mirc/Pictures), but if you do not agree, you can delete existing collection (it will only delete the pointer, not the pictures) and select another folder.

Then select category Editing Images. Here I unselected Enable Non-Destructive Editing and Versioning, because I want the corrected pictures to be saved in the same file. If this option is left selected, DigiKam creates a new file each time you save a picture. I have also chosen Save files as JPEG , because that is the format of my scans and I do not want to change it. And I have selected When closing the editor: Always ask to save changes, because I want to be able to abort editing without saving, if I am not satisfied with the result. I have deselected all remaining options.

Finally select category Saving Images. Here you decide on the balance between file size and quality when saving pictures. Since I am using only JPEG I ignored all other picture formats. I experimented with quality 90, 95 or 100 (highest) and subsampling High, Medium or None (best), that is with all 9 possible combinations. For my scanned pictures I could not see any real difference in quality between those values. But the sizes of the saved file were radically different. For a picture, where original file size was approximately 4MB, using different combinations resulted in file sizes from less than 3MB to more than 11MB. I have decided to use JPEG quality: 95 and Chroma subsampling: Medium. The resulting file size was slightly bigger then original, so I consider this a safe combination for not losing information without unnecessary using disk space.

DigiKam picture editor and keyboard shortcuts

I want to have keyboard shortcuts for all commands I regularly use in digiKam’s Picture Editor. To configure them you must first open the Picture Editor and to do that, a folder with pictures must be selected in navigator on the left. Then open Settings / Configure Shortcuts in menus. Most of commands have keyboard shortcuts by default. I only changed shortcut for command Flip Horizontally (I used Ctrl-H) and added it for command Free Rotation  (I used Ctrl-R).

To change an existing keyboard shortcut or to add a new one is basically the same thing. First click on command to select it, click Custom (it is already selected if you configured this command before), click the entry field next to it and use keyboard to define desired shortcut by typing it. If desired shortcut is already used for another command digiKam warns you and you can decide to Reassign it or to Cancel.

screen by screen guide to digiKam configuration and keyboard shortcuts

So finally everything is ready to start the real work: correcting scanned pictures. But this post is already far too long therefore I will describe my preferred optimized picture correction workflow next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment