Image Magick

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Another powerful graphics manipulation program is ImageMagick. This program limits you to creating simple graphics as compared with Gimp. However, ImageMagick does enable you to make changes to existing graphics, which is its real power. If all you ever need to do is manipulate images by cropping, resizing, rotating, or other such procedures, then look no further.

To install ImageMagick, use dselect to find and select the program named imagemagick for installation. The package installs the suite of programs that make up ImageMagick. Once the program is installed, you can launch it through the window manager's application menu by looking under Viewers. Officially, the Debian install of ImageMagick considers itself a viewer instead of belonging to the graphics category and is found in the Debian menu tree.

Navigating ImageMagick's main menu is simple, as you can see from the left side of Figure 7-6. From this main menu, you can access all the different features this program has to offer. The main menu is broken down into functional groups. File, Edit, and View control the opening, saving, and viewing of the working image. Transform and Enhance control the overall changes to the image, while Effects and F/X apply special characteristics to the image. The following list details more explicitly what each of the main menu buttons enables you to do.

♦ File — From the File menu, you can open an existing file or grab an image on the screen. This comes in handy when capturing pictures to put in a book, like those shown in this chapter. You also save changes to an image through this menu button.

♦ Edit—You can undo the last change made to an image from here. You can also cut, copy, and paste images you want to manipulate.

♦ View—If the image is too small or too large for the screen, you can adjust the viewing area. Consider this the zoom function. You can also resize the image to give it a particular dimension for a Web page.

♦ Transform — When you want to crop, rotate, or flop (also known as mirror), here is where you do it. These features are easy to operate, and they control the orientation of the image.

♦ Enhance — Occasionally, you may wish to enhance an image by adjusting its brightness, hue, or saturation. These features adjust the tone of a picture; they can turn a dark image that is hard to make out into a clear photo.

♦ Effects—Sometimes you may want to make a few buttons for a Web page or labels for a presentation. From here, you can take a 2-dimensional image and turn it into a work of art by using one of these features. You can emboss, sharpen, or raise the edges of an image.

♦ F/X — You have five special effects available here. Each one is designed to take a normal photo and turn it into something unique. These five features are Solarize, Swirl, Implode, Wave, and Oil Painting. Give them a try to see how you like them.

♦ Image Edit — There are limited basic tools available to create, customize, or add to an image. Here you can draw simple shapes, add borders and frames, or change colors.

♦ Miscellany—Anything that doesn't fit in one of the other categories finds its way here. Mostly you find preview features, but preferences show up here as well. The preference settings control eight settings, including how much memory is used as cache.

♦ Help — Help is just that — access to an overview and online documentation.


ImageMagick may not be the best tool for creating images from scratch, but it does make an excellent tool for manipulating photos and existing graphics for Web use.

Some applications produce PostScript output that printers interpret to produce the desired graphics. This output can get routed to a file that PostScript viewers can read. The program, ghostvi ew, reads these PostScript files and displays the information in the same way a PostScript printer prints the information.

Figure 7-6: ImageMagick showing a picture of a cute puppy.

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