TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Performing Basic Image Manipulation...

Volume Number: 21 (2005)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Programming

AppleScript Essentials

by Benjamin S. Waldie

Performing Basic Image Manipulation...

Using Your Existing Software!

This month, we're going to talk about performing some basic image manipulations with AppleScript. With the onset of the digital camera revolution comes a new set of problems for the computer user. The first thing many people realize after purchasing a digital camera is that film is essentially free, as is developing. You can take as many pictures as you like, just as long as you have ample hard drive space to store them.

While this concept seems amazing at first, you quickly realize that you now have thousands and thousands of image files to deal with. Those image files need to be downloaded, imported, renamed, filed, rotated, cropped, converted to other formats, and more! Sure, there are some tools that Apple gives us to help with these tasks, such as Image Capture and iPhoto. There are also a slew of other applications that you can download or purchase to aid with processing. However, wouldn't it be great if you could slap a few lines of code together to write your own application in order to help with your unique process? Well, using AppleScript, you can.

AppleScript is the perfect tool for automating many image-related tasks. As we have discussed in previous articles, AppleScript can be used to batch-rename files and folders. So, you could create a script that downloads your digital images into a custom folder structure and renames the images with the current date. You could create a script that opens up a folder of images in something like Photoshop and adds copyright information into the images' metadata. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

For this particular article, we're going to focus on performing some basic image manipulations, such as cropping, rotating, and resizing. We'll also look at ways you can convert your images to other formats, such as from JPEG to TIFF, and vice versa. Since AppleScript alone cannot manipulate images, you may be asking how will we do this? Using a background application named Image Events, which comes installed with Mac OS X, version 10.3 and higher, we can perform these tasks.

Image Events

Mac OS X, version 10.3 and higher comes with a background application called Image Events, which can be found in the System > Library > CoreServices folder on your hard drive.

    For those using Mac OS X, version 10.2, an application named Image Capture Scripting will allow you to perform a few of the same tasks that will be discussed in this article. Image Capture Scripting can be found in the System > Library > ScriptingAdditions folder on your hard drive.

The Image Events application can be used in conjunction with AppleScript to interact with a service in Mac OS X called SIPS, or Scriptable Image Processing Server. This service allows basic image manipulations, such as cropping and resizing to take place.

Accessing the Image Events Dictionary

In order to begin automating Image Events with AppleScript, the first thing you will want to do is open the Image Events AppleScript dictionary. This can be done by launching the Script Editor, and then selecting Image Events and clicking the Dictionary icon in the Library palette. If the Library palette is not visible, you can display it by selecting the Window > Library menu. You may also open the Image Events dictionary by selecting File > Open Dictionary... in the Script Editor.


Figure 1. The Image Events AppleScript Dictionary

Once the Image Events dictionary has been opened, you will notice several suites of classes and commands in the left-hand pane. Some of these can be ignored. For example, you won't need to use the Text Suite and you may not need to use the Disk-Folder-File Suite. You will need to access a few commands in the Standard Suite, such as open and quit. You will also want to access most of the classes and commands in the Image Suite, which contains all of the commands for actually performing image manipulations. The Image Events Suite contains some Image Events application properties, which you may want to modify, but I will not be covering them in this article.

Opening an Image

First, when working with Image Events, you need to make sure that the application is running. This is done with the launch command. For example:

tell application "Image Events"
   launch
end tell

Obviously, the next step in creating a script that will manipulate an image is to open an image. This is done by passing the image path to the open command. For example, the following sample code opens a JPEG image.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   open theImage
end tell
--> image "imageName.jpg" of application "Image Events"

As you can see in the above example, the open command returns a reference to the opened image.

Accessing Properties of an Image

Once an image has been opened in Image Events, you may access certain properties of that image, such as the resolution, or the dimensions of the image. For example, the following sample code gets the resolution of a JPEG image.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   set theImageReference to open theImage
   tell theImageReference
      resolution
   end tell
end tell
--> {180.0, 180.0}

This is just one example of an image property that can be retrieved with AppleScript. I encourage you to explore the other AppleScript-accessible image properties, which can be found under the image class in the Image Suite of the Image Events dictionary. One thing to note, though, is that all of these accessible properties are currently read/only properties. They cannot be changed with AppleScript.

Performing Image Manipulations

Image Events gives you the ability to perform a variety of basic image manipulations, including cropping, flipping, padding (i.e. adding a border around), rotating, and scaling. The commands for performing these, and other, image manipulations can be found under Image Suite in the Image Events dictionary. Let's take a look at one of these commands.

The example code below shows how to scale a JPEG image to a maximum height or width, based on the image's longest side. Please take note that in order to actually see the scaled image, you must save the image after it has been manipulated. This is done by using the save command. You may also want to close the image using the close command.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   set theImageReference to open theImage
   tell theImageReference
      scale to size 100
      save
      close
   end tell
end tell

One thing to note is, by using the save command in the manner above, the image you opened will be overwritten with the newly scaled image. If you want to save the newly scaled image in another location, you may optionally specify a save path.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
set theOutputFolder to choose folder
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   set theImageReference to open theImage
   tell theImageReference
      scale to size 100
      save in (theOutputFolder as string) & "Scaled Image.jpg"
      close
   end tell
end tell

Let's take a look at one more type of image manipulation. The following example code will flip an image horizontally, and save it into a separate folder.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
set theOutputFolder to choose folder
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   set theImageReference to open theImage
   tell theImageReference
      flip with horizontal
      save in (theOutputFolder as string) & "Flipped Image.jpg"
      close
   end tell
end tell

Performing Image Conversions

When working with images, it frequently becomes necessary to convert images from one format to another. Sure, you could open a JPEG image in Preview, and manually export it to TIFF format. But, what if you needed to do this to 100 images, or 1000? This type of process can actually be done with AppleScript and Image Events.

Earlier, we discussed using the save command to save images once they have been manipulated. Well, the save command also some optional parameters, one of which allows you to specify a file type in which to save the image. The following example code demonstrates how to convert a file from JPEG to TIFF format.

set theImage to choose file of type "JPEG"
set theOutputFolder to choose folder
tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   set theImageReference to open theImage
   tell theImageReference
      save in (theOutputFolder as string) & "Converted Image.tiff" as TIFF
      close
   end tell
end tell

Image Events supports saving images in the following formats - BMP, JPEG, JPEG2, PICT, PNG, PSD, QuickTime Image. And TIFF. While Image Events can open GIF, MacPaint, PDF, SGI, and TGA images, it cannot save in these formats.

Pulling it Together

Now, let's pull together a few of the tasks we have discussed. The following example code uses a repeat loop to process a folder of JPEG images. Using Image Events, each image is opened, resized, and saved in TIFF format to an output folder.

set theImageFolder to choose folder with prompt "Select a folder of JPEG images:"
set theOutputFolder to choose folder with prompt "Select an output folder:"

tell application "Finder"
   set theImages to every file of theImageFolder whose file type = "JPEG"
end tell

tell application "Image Events"
   launch
   repeat with a from 1 to length of theImages
      set theImage to file ((item a of theImages) as string)
      set theImageReference to open theImage
      tell theImageReference
         set theImageName to name
         save in ((theOutputFolder as string) & theImageName & ".tiff") as TIFF
      end tell
   end repeat
end tell

Other Image Manipulation Tools

As you may already know, there are some other image manipulation tools available. Both Graphic Converter <http://www.lemkesoft.com/> and Adobe Photoshop <http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/> offer extensive AppleScript support. By using AppleScript to automate applications such as these, you can create simple to complex automated workflows in order to perform virtually any type of image manipulation or conversion process imaginable.

In Closing

Throughout this article, we have discussed some basic ways to go about manipulating images in Mac OS X using Image Events. While we looked at a few examples, as I mentioned earlier, there are many other image manipulation commands and image properties that are available within the Image Events dictionary, that we did not have a chance to cover. The examples in this article only scratch the surface, and are meant to show you some basic ideas of what is possible. I would encourage you to begin exploring the Image Events dictionary in greater detail, so that you can begin using this application to its full potential, making your own workflow more efficient.

For some additional information about Image Events, please visit Apple's AppleScript web site http://www.apple.com/applescript/imageevents/

Until next time, keep scripting!


Benjamin Waldie is president of Automated Workflows, LLC, a firm specializing in AppleScript and workflow automation consulting. In addition to his role as a consultant, Benjamin is an evangelist of AppleScript, and can frequently be seen presenting at Macintosh User Groups, Seybold Seminars, and MacWorld. For additional information about Benjamin, please visit http://www.automatedworkflows.com, or email Benjamin at applescriptguru@mac.com.

 
AAPL
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Evernote 6.0.5 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Airs for...
B&H Photo has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, for a limited time, for the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday shopping season. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: iMacs for up to $...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 1.4GHz... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac minis availab...
B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off MSRP... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac Pros for up t...
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $500 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2599, $400 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3499, $... Read more
Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.