If you are looking to resize, reformat, convert or watermark your images you have numerous options nowadays but finding the right one for your use case may be a challenge. Here is a short list on some useful resources for working with digital images.
If you work on the web then you are all to familiar with the struggle for the best way to manage your images. I work with several large catalog ecommerce clients and we are constantly struggling to balance cost, time and frustration when dealing with our image assets from our suppliers.
Often I find images are incorrectly referenced in the data file (spreadsheet) leading to import errors and time lost correcting trivial mistakes. This can amount to a significant amount of overhead just for maintaining data on the vendor and client sides. However, if we use the right tools we can greatly reduce errors and friction in our data setup process.
We can fix this be standardizing our delivery of image assets through an API, PIM or ERP. If done correctly you can save an enormous amount of overhead for your operation. But this takes technical and intimate industry knowledge to do successfully. If you are interested in learning about how I can help in such situations feel free to send me a message via chat below!
Tools for Image Manipulation
If you spend some time Googling some solutions you will find many online and offline options for manipulating images but here I am going to focus on resizing and converting types as well as look at some solutions we can learn on the desktop and deploy to cloud functions in order to automate bulk processing and offload required resources so we don't tie up our own machines!
1) Adobe Spark Express
First off if you are just looking to resize or convert a single image then tryout this free tool from Adobe called Spark. You can export to templates for a variety of platforms. Spark is powered by Photoshop but offers a learner more user friendly way of interacting with your media.
2) Adobe Photoshop
If you have an Adobe subscription you can always use Photoshop to crop and convert your images. Batch processing can be done on entire folders with Actions by recording your process. It is fairly simple but requires a Photoshop subscription and can tie up your machine for a while so if you are trying to multi-task it can make your life a challenge.
3) Easy Thumbnails
This is a little piece of free desktop software for Windows that is still one of my favs for quickly renaming batches or images or resizing them. It is super easy to use and rather fast. It is super lightweight making it easy to run alongside other processes however it will slow down the conversion process if you continue to use other apps.
4) ImageMagick Bulk Image Processing
This is my favorite tool as it is super fast, easy to use from the command line, and can be run on a VM in the cloud to offload image processing tasks once i am certain i know the workflow I would like to implement. It is worth mentioning that many of the online and in app tools will use this library to process the conversion. It is available for Mac, Linux and Windows as self installing binaries so it is as simple as clicking install!
The amount of memory can be an important factor, especially if you intend to work on large images. A minimum of 512 MB of RAM is recommended, but the more RAM the better! I can run this just fine on my laptop with 16GB RAM and even better on my desktop with 32GB. Your CPU will matter a bit as well, my 2 core laptop is significantly slower than my 8 core desktop.
Let's take a look at how we can install and use ImageMagicK to resize and convert our product images into a smaller size and standard format.
1) Install ImageMagicK
Head over to the open source page here and find your operating system and download link.
I will be installing the windows version that is prebuilt with some common options.
Follow the prompts to finish the installation.
2) Add all the images you want to a folder. Anywhere is fine.
I chose some large files, some medium size files and both jpg and png to show how the conversion works but normally I am processing thousands of product or lifestyle images.
3) Press your Windows key and type "cmd" then click "Run as Administrator"