To prove the power of Phatch, I will show how easy it is to generate nice thumbnails of your photos with rounded corners and shadow. Even your grandmother can do this. If you are lazy, you can open the action list from the library (or download it here if you still use Phatch 0.1). You can see an example thumbnail below:
Start up Phatch
In case you still need to install Phatch, read the instructions here for Ubuntu, GNU/Linux, Windows or Mac Os X.
This tutorial is made on Ubuntu. Phatch installs itself nicely in the Start Menu as shown in the screenshot below.
Creating the first action list
About images and action lists
A common mistake is to think that Phatch opens images or photos directly. Phatch can save and open action lists, which will be applied to as many photos as you want. This might sound a bit abstract, but it will become clear when reading this tutorial. Phatch starts by default with an empty list, with the logo shown.
Resize the Image
First we are going to resize the image in order to make a thumbnail. If you press the toolbar button with the + sign, you can add an action:
There are three actions related to size: Scale, Fit and Canvas. Canvas adds or crops a border to an image, while Scale scales the image itself. So to resize an image we need Scale, which will scale the image so that the width or height is not bigger than the given size. Fit does the same as Scale, but will crop the image so that width and the height are fixed to the given size.
If you want to know more about this dialog box, you can read the page about the User Interface.
Suppose we want to have thumbnails of which one side is maximum 256 pixels. Right now the Scale action will make the image half as small as it will resize to 50%. Therefore we have to switch the units from "%" to "px" (= pixels).
Note: In Phatch you can choose from different units. The metric units like inch, cm and mm are calculated based on the given dpi.
Apply Rounded Corners and Shadows
Note: I change Resample Image to antialias which is slower but gives better quality downscaling. For upscaling bicubic is the best option.
Always Save At the End
The last action should always be a Save action. It would make no sense to manipulate images and not to save the result. Just leave the parameters of the Save action to its default values. After executing Phatch, you will find a new folder of which the name ends with "_copy" and which contains all your manipulated images.
Order of Actions
The order of the actions is important. If we had applied the drop shadow before applying rounded corners, the result would not look so nice as the shadows would have rectangular corners while the thumbnail itself would have rounded corners. So always think about the order when assembling an action list. If you want to change the order of the actions, you can just drag and drop them as you wish.
Executing the Action List
Pressing the Execute Button
After pressing the Execute button (Tools>Execute), you will be presented with a dialog box. Press "Browse" and select the folder with your images. My source images are in "home/stani/phatch/images". The resulting images will be saved to "home/stani/phatch/images_copy", which is defined by "<folder>_copy". (If the value would have been "<folder>_thumbs", they would be saved in "home/stani/phatch/images_thumbs".)
Note: If you forget the Save action, Phatch will remind you and be so kind as to append one for you at the end:
Press the "Batch" button and Phatch will start processing all your pictures. A dialog box will pop up, which shows the progress and how much time is remaining. There is no limit to how many files you can batch: tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, …
See the result
Browse with your file manager to the resulting folder, in our case "home/stani/phatch/images_copy". There you will find the generated thumbnails. You remember the example from the beginning?
Saving the Action List
If this is your favorite recipe for thumbnails and you like to reuse it in the future, you can better save it with "File>Save As". This will give you the possibility to start batching right away without going through the steps of adding the actions first.
You can open any action list with "File>Open". Recent action lists will also appear in the File menu directly as a shortcut.
Using the Droplet
If you select View>Droplet from the menu, Phatch will change in a droplet (see left), which is always on top of the other windows. Batching now became even easier. Just drag and drop any folders or files on the droplet from your favorite file/image program and Phatch will execute the current action list.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, I hope you want to contribute to Phatch in any way you can. Phatch needs your help!