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Scanners, Cameras, and Media Readers: Image Capture
The Mac OS X Image Capture application (path: /Applications/Image Capture) enables you to connect a digital camera, media reader (USB/FireWire), or flatbed scanner to your Mac and import images or even share the device to a remote computer.
Although you might opt for the commercial iPhoto solution, Image Capture provides quick-and-dirty import features from the same range of devices as iPhoto. In addition, its capability to control flatbed scanners gives you a single solution for most of your image import needs.
When launched, Image Capture displays a control window for each of the capture devices that you've connected. The digital camera/media reader controls provide the ability to download pictures, whereas the scanner controls allow a user to preview and scan images. Scanner and camera control windows can be seen in Figure 5.44.
Figure 5.44. Image Capture displays a window for each connected device.
Using Cameras and Media Readers
The camera/media reader control window should resemble that of Figure 5.45. The type of camera or media reader and number of images available for download are displayed. Note that the camera icon itself resembles the actual device connected.
Figure 5.45. The Image Capture application can be used to download images, audio, and video from cameras and media readers.
To control where images are stored after downloading and what (if any) post processing is performed, use the Download To and Automatic Task pop-up menus.
Selecting a Download Location
The default location for camera downloads is the Pictures, Movies, and Music folders in the current user's home directory (some digital cameras support basic audio and video recording). To change the directory, use the Download To pop-up menu to select Other and then choose the directory to hold the files.
Setting an Automatic Task
After images have been downloaded, Mac OS X can automatically use one of several different AppleScripts or actions to format and arrange your photos. The AppleScripts are located in the /System/Library/Image Capture/Automatic Tasks folder and can be modified (or added to). You can learn more about AppleScript in Chapter 4, "Controlling Applications with Automator and AppleScript."
The eleven available default actions are
To choose another script or application, use the Other pop-up menu selection to browse the filesystem and select an alternative.
Downloading the Images
When you're ready to download images, you can choose all the pictures or select from thumbnails of the images stored on the camera. If you choose Download All, Image Capture downloads the files from your camera.
When the download is complete, Image Capture performs your selected automatic task, if any.
To download only certain images from your device, click the Download Some button. After a brief delay, thumbnails appear, as shown in Figure 5.46. Use the Thumbnail Size slider to scale the preview thumbnails within the window. The View buttons can be used to toggle between the thumbnail view and a Finder-like list view with extended image information (size, resolution, and so on).
Figure 5.46. Choose the images to download.
To perform basic editing, click a thumbnail to select it; then, if necessary, use the Rotate Left/Right and Delete buttons to fix the photo orientation or remove it completely from the device.
Finally, if you didn't get it right on the initial control screen, you can reassign the Download folder and Automatic Tasks using the pop-up menus at the top of the screen.
Setting Camera Options
The Image Capture Options button (seen in both the main control window and the Download Some window) configures what happens to images that are downloaded from a camera or media reader and also provides the ability to trigger automatic downloads. These preferences are stored and used each time the device is connected.
There are two panes of settings within the Options dialog: Options and Information. The Options pane, shown in Figure 5.47, customizes the image download process.
Figure 5.47. Download options are used to fine-tune image transfers.
Choose from these available settings:
The second pane, Information, lists the connected device and all known information about its capabilities, driver, and manufacturer.
Click OK to save your Device options.
Using Flatbed Scanners
Flatbed scanners work a bit differently from digital cameras. When Image Capture senses that a supported scanner (that is, many Epsons) has been attached and the scanner's Scan button has been pressed, it automatically launches into Scan mode (shown in Figure 5.48) and scans a preview into the Image Capture window.
Figure 5.48. Image Capture works with some flatbed scanners.
The scanner mode of Image Capture is controlled by the toolbar buttons along the top of the window. From left to right, these are
Scanner and Image Setup
To configure the settings for a scan, click the Scan Setup button in the upper-left corner of the scanner window. Here you can choose the document type, scan resolution, geometry, as well as configure transparency scanning and document feeders (if available). Use the button at the top of the drawer to select the scanner feature to configure. Figure 5.49 displays the Flatbed scanner settings.
Figure 5.49. Use the Flatbed settings to set up the scan type, dimensions, and resolution for a flatbed scanner.
As with images downloaded from a camera, you can choose where scans will be saved and an automatic task to be carried out after a scan is completed. By default, images are opened in Preview after scanning. Image Capture also provides the ability to choose the image file type and a prefix used to label all scans.
New in Tiger is the option to have Image Capture perform basic image correction on your scans. To activate this feature, choose either Automatic or "Manual" from the Image Correction pop-up menu. If set to Automatic, Image Capture will make its best guess for how the images should look. When Image Correction is set to Manual, use the correction sliders (visible in Figure 5.49) to adjust the brightness, hue, tint, and saturation by hand.
Scanning and Previewing
To create a scan, use the two action buttons in the lower-right corner of the scanner control window: Overview and Scan.
An overview is a quick preview scan that is displayed in the scanner window. After an overview has been created, you must draw a scan region around what is important on the page.
Click and drag within the page to create a rectangle that will be the focus of your detailed scan. Areas of the image outside this crop area will not be included in the final image. You can reposition the crop rectangle by clicking and dragging inside it, or resize it using the handles on the rectangle's sides, as shown in Figure 5.50.
Figure 5.50. Choose the region that will be the focus of the scan.
After setting up the scan region, click the Scan button. This creates detailed scan at the resolution specified in the scan setup saving it to the chosen download folder and processing it with the appropriate automatic task setting.
Setting Scanner Options
As with the digital camera and media reader functions, scanning options are set by clicking the Options button. The main Options pane provides the capability to create custom icons for scanned images as well as store information about the scan in the Finder's comment field and to embed ColorSync profiles in each image. Additionally, the Overview Scan Resolution slider allows you to choose the resolution at which the overview (preview) scan is created.
The second options pane, Buttons (shown in Figure 5.51), allows you to configure what will happen when one of the buttons on the front of your scanner is pushed. Use the pop-up menu to choose an application or script to launch with each button.
Figure 5.51. Choose how Tiger will react to pressing your scanner buttons.
Finally, the Information pane provides information about the connected scanner, its capabilities, and the driver controlling it.
Sharing Image Capture Devices
Tiger can share the devices that Image Capture recognizes. In a bizarre user interface decision, Apple has added these sharing features not to the Sharing System Preferences pane but to the Image Capture application preferences.
There are two functions you'll use when sharing devices: sharing and browsing. Sharing allows you to share your scanners and cameras, whereas browsing serves to find and connect shared devices. Sharing is enabled through the Sharing pane of the application preferences. The browsing feature is accessed from the Devices menu.
To set up sharing, open the Image Capture application preferences and switch to the Sharing pane. A screen similar to that shown in Figure 5.52 appears.
Figure 5.52. Configure sharing of image capture devices on Tiger.
Click the Share My Devices check box and the check boxes in front of the devices you want to make available.
Decide whether you want to enable web-sharing of your digital camera (scanners currently aren't supported). If so, click the Enable Web Sharing button we'll get to exactly what this does shortly.
If you want to change the name that your shared devices appear under, enter a new shared name, and (if desired) a password that will be required to access the resources. The sharing setup is now complete and active.
Browsing and Using Shared Devices
To browse and connect to shared devices (assuming that you've enabled browsing) choose File, Browse from the menu. A window appears, listing each device source, including Remote Image Capture devices and TWAIN devices, as shown in Figure 5.53. To use a remote device, expand the listing by clicking the disclosure arrow in front of Remote Image Capture devices. Choose the device you want from the list that appears, and then click the Connect button.
Figure 5.53. Find and connect to shared devices.
Within a few seconds, Image Capture displays control windows for each of the devices exactly as if they were directly connected to your computer. Interact with the devices exactly as if they were local. Unfortunately, this might mean having to get up and actually walk to swap photos in and out of the office flatbed scanner.
Web-Sharing of Digital Cameras
Your mind says "what?" and, well, so does mine. If you enable web-sharing, you'll notice that the Sharing setup window (see Figure 5.53) refreshes to display a web-sharing URL. The URL should be the same as your machine hostname/IP and the port 5100 that is, http://<machine name>:5100. Visiting the URL from another computer displays a page, shown in Figure 5.54, with controls similar to Image Capture's image download window.
Figure 5.54. Control your digital camera over the World Wide Web.
Use your mouse to highlight images just as you would locally (try it it actually feels like an application, not a web page); then click the controls along the top of the window to perform those actions on the selected image.
If your camera supports it, you can use Take Picture to take an instant snapshot. The ability to take a picture remotely is extended even further by the Remote Monitor feature. Access the monitor by clicking the Remote Monitor tab on the web page.
Remote Monitor is a remote image capture function that can be configured to take pictures at a timed interval. Click the icon that resembles a preference panel to change the snapshot frequency. As pictures are taken, thumbnails will automatically begin to appear in the Remote Monitor.
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