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Fotoxx -- the Greatest Little Linux Photo Editor You've Never Heard Of - page 2

Not a Wrinkle Treatment (Except in Photos)

  • August 12, 2010
  • By Akkana Peck
It can even do a few things GIMP can't do -- like automatic panoramas.

Fotox makes panoramas easy. Start with your leftmost image, then open the next one with Combine->Make Panorama. In the new window, drag the right image into rough alignment (Figure 5). You don't have to be super accurate; just get them close. The area where they overlap will look blurry, but that's okay.

<em>figure 5</em>
figure 5

Click Proceed. Fotoxx will paint red over the matching areas it found (Figure 6), and as it rotates, warps and shifts the images to make them match you'll see the red gradually disappear until you have a nicely matched panorama.

<em>figure 6</em>
figure 6

At that point you'll see a new dialog: Match Brightness and Color. Fotoxx tries to match brightness between the two images automatically, but if one is quite a bit brighter than the other, you may see a seam. In that case, try changing Brightness a little bit: increasing it makes the right image darker, decreasing it makes it brighter. The left image will also change, in the opposite direction. It also helps to increase Blend width quite a bit. Experiment, clicking Apply each time, until the images blend.

Once the first two images are stitched, repeat with the third image. The only problem I've found: fotoxx won't accept images that have too much overlap. if you shoot panoramas with a lot of overlap, like I do, you may have to use every other image.

HDR

As if that wasn't cool enough, fotoxx has another trick GIMP can't match: HDR images. "High Dynamic Range" is a way of combining several images of the same subject -- some brighter, some darker.

Making an HDR image is easy. Load one image, then Combine->Make HDR Image and open the other. After a lengthy calculation, you're presented with a preview of the two images combined. You can adjust the proportions of each image. Of course, if there are any differences in your images, like a person who's in one and not in the other, you may have problems (Figure 7).

<em>figure 7</em>
figure 7

Documentation

My Ubuntu version of fotoxx came with a user guide in /usr/share/doc/fotoxx/extras/userguide-en.html. That's good, because you can't read the online documentation on the fotoxx website without making an account and logging in.

I'm out of space to tell you about some of fotoxx's other great features, but be sure to check out Bend->Warp Image. And have fun!

Akkana Peck is a freelance programmer and writer, amateur photographer and the author of the book Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional. She's also a control freak who loves fiddling with devices and making them do things they aren't supposed to be able to do.


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