18.4. Using Digikam

Digikam is a KDE program for downloading photographs from digital cameras. The first time it is run, Digikam asks where to store your photo album. If you enter a directory that already contains a collection of photographs, Digikam treats each subfolder as an album.

On start-up, Digikam presents a window with two sections: your albums are displayed to the left and the photographs of the current album are displayed to the right. See Figure 18.1, “The Main Window of Digikam” (↑Applications).

Figure 18.1. The Main Window of Digikam

The Main Window of Digikam

18.4.1. Configuring Your Camera

To set up a camera in Digikam, select Camera+Add Camera. First, try to autodetect the camera with Auto-Detect. If this fails, browse the list for your model with Add. If your camera model is not included in the list, try an older model or use USB/IEEE mass storage camera. Confirm with Ok.

18.4.2. Downloading Pictures from Your Camera

After your camera has been configured correctly, connect to your camera with the Camera menu and the name that you gave in the dialog from Section 18.4.1, “Configuring Your Camera” (↑Applications). Digikam opens a window and begins to download thumbnails and displays them as in Figure 18.2, “Downloading Pictures from Camera” (↑Applications). Right-click an image to open a pop-up menu with the options to View, display some Properties or EXIF Information, Download, or Delete the image. With Advanced, select renaming options and how the camera-provided information (EXIF) should be handled.

Figure 18.2. Downloading Pictures from Camera

Downloading Pictures from Camera

The renaming options can be very convenient if your camera does not use meaningful filenames. You can let Digikam rename your photographs automatically. Give a unique prefix and, optionally, a date, time, or sequence number. The rest is done by Digikam.

Select all photographs to download from the camera by pressing the left mouse button or clicking individual photographs with Ctrl pressed. Selected photographs appear with inverted colors. Click Download. Select the destination from the list or by creating a new album with New Album. This automatically suggests a filename with the current date. Confirm with Ok to start the download process.

18.4.3. Getting Information

Getting information about the photograph is not difficult. A short summary is displayed as a tool tip if you point with the mouse cursor at the thumbnail. For longer information, right-click the photograph and choose Properties from the menu. A dialog box opens with three tabs, General, EXIF, and Histogram.

General lists the name, type, owner, and some other basic information. The more interesting part is the EXIF tab. The camera stores some metadata for each photograph. Digikam reads these properties and displays them in this list. Find the exposure time, pixel dimensions, and others. To get more information for the selected list entry, press Shift-F1. This shows a small tool tip. The last tab, Histogram, shows some statistical information.

18.4.4. Managing Albums

Digikam inserts a My Albums folder by default, which collects all your photographs. You can store these into subfolders later. The albums can be sorted by their directory layout, by the collection name that has been set in the album properties or by the date that the albums were first created (this date can also be changed in the properties of each album).

To create a new album, you have some possibilities:

  • Uploading new photographs from the camera

  • Creating a new album by clicking the New Album button in the toolbar

  • Importing an existing folder of photographs from your hard disk (select Album+Import+Import Folders)

  • Right-clicking My Albums and selecting New Album

After selecting to create an album in your preferred way, a dialog box appears. Give your album a title. Optionally, choose a collection, insert some comments, and select an album date. The collection is a way of organizing your albums by a common label. This label is used when you select View+Sort Albums+By Collection. The comment is shown in the banner at the top of the main window. The album date is used when you select View+Albums+By Date.

Digikam uses the first photograph in the album as the preview icon in the My Albums list. To select a different one, right-click the respective photograph and select Set as Album Thumbnail from the context menu.

18.4.5. Managing Tags

Managing lots of different photographs with different albums can sometimes be complex. To organize individual photographs, Digikam provides the My Tag system.

For example, you have photographed your friend John at different times and you want to collect all images, independent of your album. This let you find all photographs very easily. First, create a new tag by clicking My Tags+People. From the context menu, choose New Tag. In the dialog box that appears, enter John as title and optionally set an icon. Confirm with Ok.

After creating your tag, assign it to the desired pictures. Go to each album and select the respective photographs. Right-click and choose Assign Tag+People+John from the menu that appears. Alternativly, drag the photographs to the tag name under My Tags and drop them there. Repeat as necessary with other albums. View all the images by clicking My Tags+People+John. You can assign more than one tag to each photograph.

Editing tags and comments can be tedious. To simplify this task, right-click a photograph and select Edit Comments & Tags. This opens a dialog box with a preview, a comment field, and a tag list. Now you can insert all the needed tags and add a comment. With Forward and Back, navigate in your album. Store your changes with Apply and leave with Ok.

18.4.6. Exporting Image Collections

Digikam provides several export options that help you archive and publish your personal image collections. It offers archiving to CD or DVD (via k3b), HTML export, and export to a remote gallery.

To save your image collection to CD or DVD, proceed as follows:

  1. Select File+Export+Archive to CD/DVD.

  2. Make your adjustments in the Create CD/DVD Archive dialog using its various submenus. After that, click OK to initiate the burning process.

    1. Selection: Determine which part of your collection should be archived by selecting albums and tags.

    2. HTML Interface: Decide whether your image collection should be accessible via an HTML interface and whether autorun functionality should be added to your CD/DVD archive. Set a selection title and image, font, and background properties.

    3. Media Volume Descriptor: Change the settings for volume description, if necessary.

    4. Media Burning: Adjust the burning options to your needs, if necessary.

To create an HTML export of your image collection, proceed as follows:

  1. Select File+Export+HTML Export.

  2. Adjust the settings in Create Image Galleries to your needs, using the various submenus. When you are done, click OK to initiate the gallery creation.

    1. Selection: Determine which part of your collection should be archived by selecting albums and tags.

    2. Look: Set the title and appearance of your HTML gallery.

    3. Album: Determine the location of the gallery on disk as well as image size, compression, format, and the amount of metadata displayed in the resulting gallery.

    4. Thumbnails: As with the target images, specify size, compression and file type for the thumbnails used for gallery navitation.

To export your collection to an external image gallery on the Internet, proceed as follows:

  1. Get an account for an external web site holding your gallery.

  2. Select File+Export+Export to Remote Gallery and provide URL, username, and password for the external site when asked for them.

    Digikam establishes a connection to the site specified and opens a new window called Gallery Export.

  3. Determine the location of your new album inside the gallery.

  4. Click New Album and provide the information requested by Digikam.

  5. Upload the images to the new album with Add Photos.

18.4.7. Useful Tools

Digikam provides several tools to simplify some tasks. Find them in the Tools menu. The following is a small selection of the available tools.

18.4.7.1. Creating a Calendar

If you want to please someone, a custom calendar can be a nice gift. Go to Tools+Create Calendar, which opens a wizard dialog like that in Figure 18.3, “Creating a Template for a Calendar” (↑Applications).

Customize the settings (paper size, image position, font, etc.) and confirm with Next. Now you can enter the year and select the images to use. After clicking Next again, see a summary. The final Next opens the KDE Printer dialog. Here, decide if you want to see a preview, save as PDF, or just print directly.

Figure 18.3. Creating a Template for a Calendar

Creating a Template for a Calendar

18.4.7.2. Finding Duplicate Photographs

Sometimes you photograph similar scenes repeatedly and want to keep only the best shots. This is the perfect task for the Find Duplicate plug-in.

Go to Tools+Find Duplicate Images. Select the albums or tags to handle. Under Method & Cache, choose the search method: a more accurate or a faster method. After you confirm with Ok, Digikam proceeds with the investigation.

If it finds some duplicates, it shows the result in a window like Figure 18.4, “Results of Find” (↑Applications). Decide which images to delete by activating the desired check boxes then clicking Delete. Leave the window with Close.

Figure 18.4. Results of Find

Results of Find

18.4.7.3. Batch Processes

Digikam also provides some batch processes that perform a specific task on lots of files. This can be renaming, converting, resizing, and much more. Find them under Tools+Batch Processes.

18.4.8. Basic Image Viewing and Editing with Digikam

Digikam includes its own lean image viewing and editing program. It automatically opens if you double-click an image's thumbnail.

Use this tool to do some basic image editing on the images you just downloaded from your camera. You can crop, rotate or flip the image, do some basic color adjustments, apply various colored filters (for example, to export a colored image to black and white), and efficiently reduce red eyes in portrait shots.

The most important menus are:

Image

Use Edit Comments & Tags to enter comments to a particular image and to assign a tag (category) to this image. Properties takes you to a window consisting of three tabs providing general information, EXIF information, and the histogram of this image.

Fix

This menu contains some of the editing functions most needed in digital photography. Colors takes you to a submenu where you can modify all basic color settings. You can also blur or sharpen either the entire picture or just a part of the image you selected. To reduce red eyes in a portrait shot, roughly select the eye region of the face by just clicking and holding the left mouse pointer and gradually expanding the selection, select Red Eye Reduction and choose either mild or aggressive reduction depending on whether you selected a whole region or just the eyes.

Transform

The Transform menu offers the crop, rotate, flip, and resize functions. You can also use the Aspect Ratio Crop option to produce crops in a fixed aspect ratio.

Filters

If you need to transform your color shots into black and white or want to achieve an aged look in your photographs, check out the Filters menu and choose from the various export options.

A more detailed description of this tool can be found in Digikam's online help in digiKam Image Editor, which can be reached with the Help button in Digikam's menu bar.

[Tip]Advanced Image Processing

Professional image editing can be done with the GIMP. More information about The GIMP can be found in Chapter 19, Manipulating Graphics with The GIMP (↑Applications).