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Image Album (Visual) Reordering & Batch Rename

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April 18, 2011 1:52:41 PM

Hi there,
I'm looking for a utility to help me merge image folders from multiple sources and placing images in order (visually, by sequence of events or location). It's not the typical sorting/moving/naming functions (ie by date or tags) which I see in apps I've found.

I need it for WinXP, but would like something Win7-64b compatible for when I upgrade this year.

Example: Two folders, from different people, with many images of a day at the lake. Both folders have pics of everyone on the beach, as well as the evening BBQ. One has extra images from a small group that took the kayaks out. One of the folders is badly messed up by amateur renaming and editing, so filenames, dates, and specs are irrelevant.

Folder 1:
F1-lake001.jpg
F1-lake002.jpg
F1-lake003.jpg
F1-lake004.jpg
etc.
Folder 2:
F2-bigsteaks.jpg
F2-image001.jpg
F2-image002.jpg
F2-img1.jpg
F2-img2.jpg
F2-JimWakingUp.jpg
F2-rocking_the_boat.jpg
F2-thegang06b.jpg

Folder 1 is in order, but Folder 2 needs to be rearranged and then merged into Folder 1 in order (which I'll have to do visually) like so:
(Getting Ready)
F2-JimWakingUp.jpg
F2-img1.jpg
(Lake)
F1-image001.jpg
F1-image002.jpg
F1-image003.jpg
F2-img2.jpg
(Kayak)
F2-thegang06b.jpg
F2-rocking_the_boat.jpg
(BBQ)
F2-image001.jpg
F2-image002.jpg
F1-lake004.jpg
F2-bigsteaks.jpg

And then rename all images, in that order, to BigDeerLake_001.jpg, BigDeerLake_002.jpg, etc.

Is there any utility that allows comparison of images so see which came first, shift them up/down the list into order, then batch rename them accordingly? Or anything that would otherwise facilitate that task?

Thank you for your suggestions.
April 18, 2011 2:13:42 PM

Just to clarify - the final ordering here is determined by the file name and in the program you want to use you are manipulating the order in a list?
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April 18, 2011 2:53:30 PM

Quote:
Just to clarify - the final ordering here is determined by the file name and in the program you want to use you are manipulating the order in a list?

I'm reading your question two different ways:
No, the ORIGINAL filenames are irrelevant. They provide no indication of the final order I want the pictures in. The final order is determined solely by visual examination of the photos, based on my actual knowledge of the sequence of events, or the time of day, locations, people involved, or whatever.

If OTOH you mean the filenames AFTER the batch renaming determining the final ordering, based on my manipulation of the list, then yes.


Essentially need to import a list of the files from multiple directories (or dump all the files into one dir), scroll through that list while checking a preview image, and based on what I see I need to be able to move that image up or down the list. Once the list is ordered the way I want it, rename all the files in that order so that Win Explorer and various image viewers will display the images in the folder in correct sequence.

Boiled down: import folders into list, scroll w/ preview, rearrange items within list, batch rename according to list. That's how I'd do it if I were to write a dedicated utility myself. But if not that exactly, perhaps something exists that facilitates the work in a somewhat different way.
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April 19, 2011 1:51:24 AM

Yeah sorry I meant the filenames after the renaming. i just wanted to understand the problem a little better.

I don't think there is going to be a tool that does exactly what you want to do so you might have to cobble a few tools together in a number of awkward steps.

In Windows you can do a multi-select rename. So if all your pictures are in one directory, order them appropriately, multi select the ones with similar names and press F2, type in whatever you need the filename to be. Windows will then resolve the multi-renaming name conflict by adding (n) into the filename, for example, "BigDeerLake (1).jpg", "BigDeerLake (2).jpg" etc. The only issue with this is that the file types would need to be same! Otherwise instead of getting "BigDeerLake (1).png" and "BigDeerLake (2).jpg" you'll simply get "BigDeerLake.jpg" and "BigDeerLake.png"

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April 19, 2011 1:31:18 PM

Interesting. I didn't know it was possible to rename in order in accordance with position of icon in the folder like that. I turned auto-arrange off and snap-to-grid on in the folder, shifted things around and then renamed, which gets me a point where I can use a batch renamer to replace the "(n)" with "_nnn" or whatever.

I can't call this the solution I need as it's not feasible for working with hundreds of images that need subtle sequencing. That would be tedious work opening each in pic viewer, opening every other image to find the one that comes before the first one, moving the first to there, etc. And as you pointed out there are other limits.

This does allow for general grouping of images into broad categories based on thumbnails or occasional opened image. So would splitting the album into a few categorized folders, batch renaming each, recombining into one, and batch renaming again, but your suggestion is less involved.

Some of my stuff can certainly benefit from even limited sorting and I'll go ahead with that in the meanwhile. But I'm still looking for something that can allow quick compare of pairs of images and rearrange them.
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April 19, 2011 2:16:43 PM

Using a thumbnail / icon view might be enough for you to compare the images within the folder without having to open up images. Certainly under windows 7 you can choose to show extra large icons which makes image comparison very easy.

But yeah this solution isn't particularly suited! It's the best I could think of just using plain ol' Windows.

If you are willing to accept a Java application to do what you need to do I can write a custom tool for you.
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April 21, 2011 2:20:02 PM

I estimate I need good 266x200p sized previews for enough definition, and XP thumbnails don't offer that. I take it that Win7 does?

I am planning to build a new computer soon and consequently upgrade to Win7. If the larger thumbnails in Win7 are adequate I wouldn't put you through the trouble of writing something custom. This is not professional work I'm doing, and so is not very time sensitive that I can't wait for the upgrade. Even though I'll probably stubbornly put myself through the tediousness of doing some of it before then using an image viewer. Hah.

Certainly don't feel obligated. But if writing the tool really is a simple task and a fun pet project for you, if it would be an improvement over doing it through windows, and you think others might benefit too, by all means. I certainly would put it to use. :) 

I assume the question of "willingness to accept" has to do with security, and not with jumping through hoops to get it running. I should be well protected by my setup, your rep here, etc. But I am the cautious type and, without testament to your previous work, compiling it myself on JDK6 is preferred.

Either way, thank you for your help and suggestions!
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Best solution

April 22, 2011 12:03:42 AM

It looks like that with an "Extra Large Icon" view in Vista each icon can be 235 x 235 - the aspect ratio isn't changed so you won't necessarily get that size unless the image is square! I assume Windows 7 has a similar view option.

By "accepting Java" I really just meant that this would be my language of choice to do this given I use it day to day at work. You are totally right not to trust precompiled jars though!

I think you could get away with the following:

1) Put all your images in a single folder
2) Use a batch converter to convert all images to a single format and ensure file extensions are lowercase (I'd choose PNG as file format)
3) Use the aforementioned Windows Explorer icon view to order the images
4) Use the aforementioned Windows Explorer multi-rename technique
5) Use your batch to convert the file number format from (n) to _nnn
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April 22, 2011 3:49:01 AM

Yep I got the jist and interpolated the intermediate steps. But since you laid it out so nicely in your last post ---> Best Answer :) 

I find it hard to believe I'm the only one to ever need to do this, so maybe someone will dig it up some day. Cheers!
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April 22, 2011 3:49:36 AM

Best answer selected by Heides.
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