Batch Image Enhancer

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for November 27, 2008 is Batch Image Enhancer.
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{rw_good}

  • Easy to use.
  • Light on resources.
  • Can transform multiple images at once.
  • You get to chose where to save your images, the file name, and the image type.
  • Has an abundance of “effects”.
  • You can add all the images in a specific folder with a click of a button.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • Preview window is too small.
  • Advertisement at the bottom.
  • Microsoft Office like color scheme is getting kind of annoying now.
  • “Start” button is kind of hard to find initially.
  • Missing a couple of features/accident prevention tools.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Features as Described” value=”9″}9 because they claim you can “access it from Windows right-click menu”. I cannot seem to do that.
{/for}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use. Enough said.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”5″}I give this a 5, because if you think about it, a person that needs to add these type of effects onto an image is most likely a graphic designer, or someone else who will need more image editing features then what this program provides. There is not a really big niche of people that will need only the features this program provides.
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

Installation was quick and easy. You will run into a problem if you do not have .Net Framework 2.0+ installed. Some people were complaining about being force to install this but my argument is so many things use .Net nowadays, being forced to install it for one program will only help you in the future in my humble opinion.

As for registration…I do not think there is any “registration” for this program. I say this because

  1. There is no option in the program to view Registration/Register the program (something like “About” or “Register”).
  2. There is no “trial” version I could find on their website.

Putting 1 and 2 together, I get the feeling that this program does not have to be “registered” at all. I maybe wrong though, and if 30 days from now you get a “trial has ended” message, I am sorry.

This is what the program window looks like:

Everything is pretty self explanatory. First thing you do is add an image (or images). You can do this by clicking “Add Images” button that is located in the top left of the window. Almost all image types are support: .jpg .jpeg .jpe .gif .png .bmp .dib .rle .tif .tiff .wmf .emf. By default, it is set to only find the first 6 formats I just listed. If you want to edit an image of the last 6 formats, you need to click on where it says “All common images” in the “Open” window and chose “All Supported Files”. You can add as many images you want – the program allows you to add effects to multiple images at once. If you CTRL + click on multiple images while at the “Open” window, you will be able to load multiple images at once, or you can add images one at a time also. At the same time, if you have a folder full of images that you would like to, for example, change all the images to grayscale, you can add all the images in that folder with just one click: click “Add All”, chose the folder that contains your images and click “OK”. All the images of that folder should be loaded into BIE now.

Next you have to chose what type of effects you want to add to your image(s). You can change the following settings/add effects to your images with BIE:

  • Brightness – the range is from -1 to 1. 0 is the default setting. -1 will make your image totally black. 1 will make it totally white.
  • Contrast – the range is from 0 – 2. 1 is the default setting. 0 will make your image totally black.
  • Saturation – the range is from 0 -5 and 1 is the default setting. 0 will make your image look like you added the grayscale effect to it.
  • Tint – the range is from -100 to 100. Default is 1. -100 will sort of make your image look like you added a green filter, while 100 will make it look like you added a red filter (sort of).
  • Temperatue – the range is from -100 to 100. Default is 1. -100 will rougly make your image look like you added a light green-bluish type filter while 100 will rougly make your image look like you added a light orange-yellow type filter.
  • Auto-Adjust Levels – you have the option to “Auto-adjust white balance”. From what I see what this option does seems like the same thing what increasing your contrast would to (to a high level).
  • Sepia – you have the option to “Convert to Sepia tone”. I am not sure what Sepia is, but from what I can see, it seems like a whitish gray scale type thing.
  • Grayscale – here you have you 3 predefined grayscale algorithms (BT709, RMY, Y) or you can chose to do it by your self (custom).
  • Reduce Noise – I have heard of this before, but I am not 100% what reducing noise does. Default values are 10 for radius and 40 for strength.
  • Sharpen – will ‘sharpen’ your image. Range is from 1- 8 and default is 3.
  • Soften Photo – hard to describe, see it for your self. Default values are 5 for softness, 0 for lightness, and 10 for temperature.
  • Lighten Photo – adds kind of a “light” filter to your image. Default values are 7 for radius, 10 for brightness, and 10 for contrast.

You can pick and chose which of the above effects you want to change/add. You can change/add more then one at the same time, or you can just chose to change one. All the effects can be previewed in the “Preview” box (duh! =P). Here is one of the problems I have with this program: the preview box is too small and there does not seem to be an option to make it bigger!

After you are done with all the above, you can change the name of the images that will be saved, chose where to save the images, and chose what format to save the images in. By default the name is set to “*_proc#”. The * will be the name of your input image. the _proc will be added to that name and the # will be the position of the image in the list of images in the “Select image” box above. What I mean by this is if you have an image named “cool”. This is the only image you are adding effects to. You make your changes and click save. Your new image will be saved as “cool_proc1″. If there was another image you were changing and it was first on the list, then the image name would be “cool_proc2″. By default the image is set to save in the same folder the input (original) image is located and the image is set to save into the same format as the original image. You can change all of these properties.

After you are done, just hit “Start” and wait for the program to finish. It is pretty fast. The “Start” button is kind of “hidden” in the sense that is placed underneath the advertisement and the color scheme does not really help it stand out. I initially had trouble finding it, but it may just be me.

There are two ‘major’ problems I have with this program (which is why I said “Missing a couple of features/accident prevention tools.” in “The Bad”):

  1. There is no option to automatically open the folder where the new images are saved in after you are done editing them. What I mean is, I would like the program to automatically open my “Pictures” folder (if the image is saved in the “Pictures” folder) after I hit “Start” and the image is processed.
  2. While there is a button that gives you the option to “Overwrite” existing images, it seems the program automatically overwrites the images without even prompting you first. For example, I have an image file named “cool.jpg” located in my “Pictures” folder. I make my changes to it, hit “Start” and the file is saved as “cool_proc1.jpg” in “Pictures”. Then lets say tomorrow I come back and want to make another change to “cool.jpg” that is still located in my “Pictures” folder. So I make my changes, and hit “Start”. Now this new image is also saved as “cool_proc1.jpg” in the “Pictures” folder effectively overwriting my earlier “cool_proc1.jpg” image – without even prompting me if I want to do that or not. People can accidentally overwrite pictures they did not want to this way.

In addition to the two problems mentioned above, I have two more grievances about this program.

  • The Microsoft Office look. Enough already – this color scheme is way too abused nowadays. We get enough of it when using Microsoft products. Lets try to be a bit original.
  • The advertisement at the bottom. It is just annoying. I wonder if they put that advertisements in the program if we would have paid for it. Or is it just something extra they added in for GOTD to make the giveaway extra special.

In terms of system resources, the program is pretty light on resources: uses around ~11 MB with just the program opened and no image loaded. Obviously the RAM usage increases are more images are added.

Here are a few examples of what this program can do:
Original Image
Brightness -> 0.33
BT709 GrayScale
Sepia
Soften Image

Overall, I think this program is simple, easy to use, and effective for what it is designed for. I just do not see it as being very handy to many people because, as I mentioned before, the people who manipulate images on a normal basis, like graphic designers, will need more features then this program offers and the rest of us really do not even need to manipulate images at all.

Free Alternatives:

IrfanView

IrfanView is a fast and compact image viewer/converter. It is trying to be simple for beginners and powerful for professionals. Many supported file formats and features. Features include: multi-language support, Thumbnail option, Painting, slideshow, toolbar skins, fast directory browsing, batch conversion/editing, multipage editing, file search, change color depth, scanning, cut/crop, IPTC edit, capturing, lossless JPG operations, effects, ICC support, EXE/SCR creating, many hotkeys, command line options and plugins.

-Download.com

—-

IrfanView does most of what BIE does + more. It is more light on resources, and is always free for home use. To add the effects that BIE does on IrfanView, go to “Images” from up top.

The only problem with IrfanView is that for a lot of the functionality you would consider “standard”, (such as saving an image as a .jpg), you have to download plugins. You can get all the plugins in one file by going here.

For comparison:
Original Image
Grayscale
Sepia

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone Image Viewer is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping and color adjustments. Its innovative but intuitive full-screen mode provides quick access to EXIF information, thumbnail browser and major functionalities via hidden toolbars that pop up when your mouse touches the four edges of the screen. Other features include a high quality magnifier and a musical slideshow with 150+ transitional effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image annotation, scanner support, histogram and much more. It supports all major graphic formats (BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA) and popular digital camera RAW formats (CRW, CR2, NEF, PEF, RAF, MRW, ORF, SRF and DNG).

-FastStone Image Viewer Developer

—-

Although more resource intensive then IrfanView and BIE, FastStone Image Viewer has the ability to also add most of the effects of the other two programs + has a lot more options (image converter, resize, etc.). Compared to IrfanView, though, the program is a bit more complicated.

To add the effects on FastStone, go to “Edit”.

FastStone Image Viewer is free for home use.

For comparison:
Original Image
Grayscale
Sepia

Paint.net

Paint.net is an excellent free program that was intended to replace the default Paint program that comes with windows. It is very light on resources and it can do basic photo editing in a breeze. Some people compare it to GIMP and Photoshop. I have been using Paint.net for quite a while and I can swear by it – really great program.

Paint.net can do the same thing this program does and since it is a “image edition program” not just an “effect editing” program, it has all the features you would need to do basic – intermediary image manipulation.

“Effects” and “Adjustments” at the top of the window will accomplish all the effects that BIE, IrfanView, and FastStone can do.

In terms of resource use, it is more heavy then all the other 3 programs mentioned above, but that is to be expected – its an image editor.

For comparison:
Original Image
Grayscale
Sepia

Google Picasa

Google Picasa is one-in-all image management software. It is an excellent program that has more features then just image manipulation. But in terms of adding effects, Picasa will do everything BIE does.

Picasa is an excellent program that can easily be your main program for image management for your computer. It is very well coded and the interface is very aesthetically pleasing.

To add the effects, just double click and image and it will bring you to a window where you can mess around with the effects.

It is more resource intensive then IrfanView, FastStone and BIE.

For comparison:
Original Image
Grayscale
Sepia

Gimp

Often referred to as the “little brother” to Photoshop, GIMP is a free advanced image editor. It basically does everything Photoshop does, but just in a different way. It is an excellent program for people who need Photoshop abilities but cannot, or do not want to, afford Photoshop.

It will will everything all the programs mentioned above will do + more. To add the effects that have been discussed in this post, go to “Filters” and “Colors” that is located at the top of the image window.

In terms of resources usage, it is the most heaviest. But again, that is to be expected with all the features it has.

For comparison:
Original Image
Grayscale
Sepia

PMnet Verdict: Batch Image Enhancer is a good light weight program, but I recommend a combination of Google Picasa and Paint.net. Google Picasa is an excellent program that will allow you to do everything Batch Image Enhancer does, and Paint.net is a more ‘heavy weight’ image editor that will allow you to do make up for what Picasa cannot do. If you do not like Picasa, I would say go for IrfanView (since it is very light weight) then FastStone if you do not like Picasa or IrfanView. GIMP, of course, is recommended for those who need to do Photoshop level image manipulation only.

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7 comments

  1. giovanni

    Hi Ashraf,
    many thanks for your prompt reply!!

    Don’t worry about the links mentioned above: AVIRA and Dr WEB LINK CHECKER told me that they are safe (but maybe they are wrong…who knows!!)

    Anyway, another great FREE Image enhancer tool is FXFOTO which allows users to automatically organize, edit, enhance, annotate, e-mail, print, upload and archive their digital photos.

    Have you ever heard about it?

    It can apply a number of effects, add frames, borders and captions, correct colors or alter white balance on the images of your pics and once tweaked your pictures to your liking, you can also create a slide show with transitions, design a photo collage and share it via e-mail as well as burn it to CD or upload it on sharing websites.

    Here a full review with screenshots of the program and the link to download it:

    http://www.download.com/FxFoto/3000-12511_4-10304500.html

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    Another good IMAGE ENHANCER application is Photo Editor 1.1:

    http://www.bestfreewaredownload.com/freeware/t-free-photo-editor-freeware-dmjdgpic.html

    Of course both SW do not have the BATCH CAPABILITY but I as for as I’m concerned every PIC needs different enhancing tweaks: so what’s the point of editing the images of several different pics in one go?

    Do you agree with me?

    Cheers from Italy

    Giovanni

  2. reghakr

    Hello Ashraf:

    I am amazed at the detailed reviews that you give the software from GOAD. It’s excellent and must take a considerable amout of time.

    I’ll try to make a long story short. I was banned from the forums for posting information dealing with what registry keys and files that were not properly removed after uninstalling the GOAD programs. Actually, this pertains to most all program installs.

    [Removed by Ashraf. Reason: If a GOTD admin banned you from the forums for posting this, that means they had some problem with it (whatever that problem may be).Therefore, I cannot allow you to post that here either. Please deal with this issue with them. I am sorry.]

    I submitted a question to them as to why I was barred, and AS you, have never received a response.

    When the program contains the Activate.exe and the setup.exe, it’s the activate.exe that puts the serial key, number, or license in the registry. Then when you run setup.exe, the program picks up that information and the program is now registered.

    I generally prefer open source or freeware over most commercial software and thank you for the free alternatives.

    I download most all of my software from:
    1. http://www.majorgeeks.com/
    2. http://www.snapfiles.com/
    3. http://fileforum.betanews.com/
    4. http://shellcity.net/

    Actually I pay a 9.95 charge for snapfilespro.com, where you have the choice of viewing the most recent addition during the last 5, 10, 15 etc. day in the freeware category or shareware catagory or both. Your initial signup fee is $19.95, but well worth it.

    I am currently a Security & Computer Forensic student and have some utilities that might help you with more information about Who is Giveawayoftheday.com?

    Like you, I also feel people should use and regularly update their anti-virus, spyware, and firewall software.

    I think people should create a restore point just before the software installation, try out the software and it they feel it’s useless, then uninstall it and then go back and do a restore to completely remove all traces of the software.

    Please give me a shoot back and let me know how you feel.

  3. Ashraf
    Author/

    Giovanni,

    No, I do not get paid.

    As for all those links, I have not used or heard any of them. But thank you for posting them.

    To anyone that tries those links Giovanni post: Please be sure you have your antivirus/antispyware software up to date.

    While I am not saying any of those are malicious programs, I am saying be careful – remember anyone can write a program and place it on the internet.

    I never trust websites like fileheap.com for my downloads. Only download.com and sometimes softpedia.com. Even then I scan all my downloads.

  4. giovanni

    Hi Ashraf!!

    Very good comment!!

    Just out of curiosity: are you paid by GAOTD for writing this fabulous reviews almost daily or you do it just for passion?

    Sorry if you ask you this tricky and maybe awkward question but your reviews are absolutely excellent and always written in a professional way.

    Having said that I would like to get a feedback from you about these other FREE BATCH IMAGE ENHANCER ALTERNATIVES which I posted in the GAOTD forum a few minutes ago:

    1) iPhoto Batch Enhancer

    It’s an excellent free application, that allows you to apply iPhoto effects to a batch of images with a few mouse clicks. There are versions for Leopard, Tiger and Panther for download.

    h ttp://www.feroxsoft.com/ibe/download_en.html

    (remove space at beginning)

    Other GOOD FREE BATCH IMAGE ENHANCER are:

    1) APlus Viewwer v2.19:

    h ttp://www.fileheap.com/software-aplus-viewwer-download-15605.html

    (remove space at beginning)

    Support more than 16 formats, readable formats: BMP, ICO, CUR, JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, TIF, PCX, PSD, TGA, WBMP, WMF, JPEG2000, PCD etc. and writing format: BMP, ICO, CUR, JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, TIF, PCX, TGA, WBMP, WMF, JPEG2000 etc. ;
    Batch resizing images;
    Batch converting images;
    Batch creating image thumbnails;
    Batch creating image copyright watermarks;
    Batch adjusting image color levels;
    Print images and image contact sheet;
    Batch rotating images;
    Poweerful image editing functionality;
    Support Lots of image effects, such as Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, Radial Blur, Color Balance, Brightness & Contrast adjust, Mosaic, Add Noise, Adjust Levels, Auto Levels, Sepia Effect, Emboss Effect, Oil Painting Effect etc. ;
    Extract frames from multi-frames images such as GIF, MNG and TIF image files;

    2) 36-image converter 4.4.3.7:

    h ttp://www.phoenxsoftware.com/

    (remove space at beginning)

    It’s an image converter that can resize, rotate, lighten, darken, blur, sharpen, set transparency, move, use special effects, merge, use a filter or picture-frame on any image in batch and all actions can be redone by using the history function..

    You can also use a central-focus effect on the image to make spectacular action pictures or merge images with other pictures, backgrounds, colors and masks to create beautiful scenes. This image editor and converter can be used as alternative for expensive applications like photoshop or paint shop pro.

    3) Batch AutoCorrector

    h ttp://www.vicman.net/autocorrector/

    (remove space at beginning)

    It’s a powerful tool that provides a simple way to solve low quality images issues, allowing the correction of multiple images that need overall contrast or color correction with just a few mouse clicks.

    Autocorrection features include the:

    – auto levels correction
    – color balance correction
    – autocontrast

    HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT THEM??

    THEY ARE NOT BAD AT ALL (try the FIRST and the LAST ONE when you have time to do so)

    A list of FREE IMAGE ENHANCER TOOLS (as for as I know without batch capabilities though) can also be found here:

    h ttp://www.trustmeher.net/freeware/freeware-digital-camera-software.htm

    (remove space at beginning)

    ANOTHER NICE PHOTOS EDITORS AND IMAGE ENHANCER APPLICATIONS is Jpeg Enhancer 1.8 (5 Mb)

    h ttp://jpeg-enhancer.findmysoft.com/

    (remove space at beginning)

    It’s an advanced application that removes all those blotchy looks responsible for the low quality of Jpeg images.

    A keeper for publishers, design studios and webmasters, fit to repair over-compressed images with a plugin for creating thumbnails of your photos for web galleries.

    Finally, for those interested in editing e resizing their PICS in batch, I suggest this two free tools:

    Batch Images Now v1.2

    h ttp://www.fileheap.com/software-batch-images-now-download-15800.html

    (remove space at beginning)

    Mihov Image Resizer v1.1

    h ttp://www.fileheap.com/software-mihov-image-resizer-download-17945.html

    (remove space at beginning)

    The first tool is an automated batch-imaging editor that allows you to resize, rename and compressing JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIF, TIFF, PCD, PNG, PSD, JPEG2000, MAC images with a few clicks.

    The second tool is a handy application for BATCH RESIZING IMAGES in bmp, gif, and jpg picture formats. You can make pictures or any kind of images smaller or bigger, converting them between different formats (from Bitmap to JPEG or GIF, from JPEG to GIF or from GIF to JPEG) and rotate the photos to the left or to the right in batch mode. That means that you will only have to select the images and the program will do the rest for all selected images.

    FOR A LIST OF FREE IMAGE EDITING TOOLS with BATCH CAPABILITIES SEE ALSO:

    h ttp://www.fileheap.com/freesoftware/jpeg2000.html

    (remove space at beginning)

    Cheers from ITALY

    Giovanni

  5. watcher13

    Saw your posts over in the comment section about reviews at 3 O’clock in the morning (or, I guess, getting up early to do it). Please let me weigh in on that part of the issue. I’m in a similar boat, on EST. I’m just not going to stay up until 3 A.M. for a software giveaway. Also, like everybody else, I’ve got other things to do. Often, I end up going to the extreme of not going to GOTD until near the end of the Giveaway. I always wonder if it will be helpful at all to post a comment on what I’ve found for that reason, and often don’t. I can’t tell you how to assign the priorities in your life. All I can say is this: We appreciate the high effort, quality, and conscientious you put into this. To me, that’s much more important than WHEN you do it. And, obviously, you did this more than early enough for this to be useful to a LOT of people. If you had done it a lot later, that still would be true. So let me say respectfully something people usually say insultingly: don’t knock yourself out (At least no more than you already are with all the effort your putting in.).

    Thanks again.