Converting RAW pictures using Automator and DCRAW

I’ve just found this useful mac tool : an automator tool for converting RAW pictures (of just about any camera, 284 different types at the last count, using the dcraw library) called RAWConvert.

So my simple workflow for processing pictures, which so far was bash-based can now be automated ! In fact, most of the script I wrote using ImageMagick I no longer need. Still, it worked well for me, so I’m still quite proud of it.

Update : seems not to work in the latest automator on Leopard. I fired off an email to the developer to see if he can help.

A simple workflow for processing pictures

About a year ago I bought myself a new camera (a Sony DSLRA100) and it’s been a joy to use.

I had my sights on it for a few months, but it took me a long time to really convince myself to actually buy the camera. It’s not exactly cheap, but with a special price (100 euros cashback) and Fnac’s member day 10%, I managed to pick it up for quite a bit less than it was listed. Together with a 2GB Sandisk Extreme III Compact Flash card, I can snap away to my hearts content. Even with a 10 megapixel CCD it’s hard to fill up a card like that in a few goes. If you use RAW ofcourse, it’ll fill up easely !

As I said, the camera delivers great pictures, but each picture is 10 megapixels, jpeg fine (I keep away from RAW for the moment) and between 2 and 3 MB big. While this is fine, I want to keep my iPhoto collection snappy and use my hard disk for more than just my photo-collection. But at the same time I want to keep those originals stored away safely in case I want to edit them or print a huge poster of my children.

Aperture was out of the question, too expensive. So for now I’m using my own little manual workflow, using

  • Image Capture to get the picture from my camera and store them in a To-Process directory,
  • launch a bash script file that resizes each picture to 50% original and move the resulting files to another directory
  • and I then insert them in iPhoto.

The batch script file works wonderful, using ImageMagick, but I’ve been trying to use Automator to string the workflow together, but I can’t seem to get it to launch the bash script file correctly.

For now, I’m continuing doing this manually, until I either find out how to do this or give in and buy Aperture…

Bash script to convert pictures using ImageMagick

If you have ImageMagick installed, here’s a simple bash script that allows you to convert a whole lotta pictures in a folder to a different size. Just modify the folder names to reflect where your photos are stored :

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# This program converts all the pictures that are stored in the folder To-Process to half their size
# and names the resulting photos the same but with -r added to it.
# For this, it uses the ImageMagick programs, so these need to be installed ! Either download a binary version or
# compile them yourself (but you need libjpg at a minimum compiled/installed as well.)
# The resulting photos can be imported in iPhoto.

username = <your username here>

# This processes all JPG pics that are in the folder
for photo in /Users/$username/Pictures/To-Process/*.JPG
do
echo “Converting $photo”
# Using the IM convert program
convert -resize 50% $photo ${photo%%.*}-r.jpg
done

mv /Users/$username/Pictures/To-Process/*-r.jpg /Users/$username/Pictures/Processed

Took me a hour or two to go back reading the bash manuals and tutorials and get it working right. As for ImageMagick, you can either download binaries for OS X (of for windows for that matter) or compile your own. Remember though that you also need to have libjpeg installed as IM depends on this on compile time.

Yes, of course you can do this with other programs, but this is all part of my plan for getting a workflow up and running to process and store my photos. More on this later.

Pictures of Tom

album_tom/Tom_3Jaar

The pictures of Tom I have previously have put on my website have been consolidated in a Gallery. removed from this site.

Too many strange hits on those pictures for me to feel safe about this. From now on I am using a login system…