[Added] Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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porg
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[Added] Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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What is really great about it

✅ 1) Drag and drop directly onto placeholders on canvas from Finder or GC's browser or Collage Editor's file list

✅ 2) A lot of options for canvas size and background, layout grid and effects

✅ 3) Drag horizontal and/or vertical dividers to adapt the grid on the fly, very cool if you want to distribute space and attention differentiated

✅ 4) No loss of image assignment to spot position when changing layouts, as long as the number stays the same or grows. This really supports you well in "trying out different options" without needing to start all over each time.


What could be improved

❗️ Ad 4) If you reduce the amount of images in the collage, the assignments of images to collage spot index numbers is lost for those falling out of the grid.
- Would be cool to preserve it in memory.
- So that if your layout control tweaking increases the effective amount of image positions again, the newly gained positions are again filled up.
- Of course if in the course of all this you re-arrange it's your own fault and no undo can be expected.
- But merely option tweaking ideally is as lossless and effortless as possible.
- That way you could also very quickly dare do try out design iterations "Is a 2x2 enough, or shall it be a 3x3, let's just try fearlessly".

❗️ 5) Button layout & labels could be clearer
• No recommended order?
• At first glance unclear what's the difference between CLOSE & DONE


What I miss

💡 10) Drag and drop multiple files onto collage which get auto assigned to the grid's position-index-numbers by their file attributes (name, filepath, creation, modification, aspect ratio) asc/desc

a) Technically each layout in memory provides some kind of internal image position order (in a grid most likely our normal Latin reading order, a zig zag from left to right, and then to next row)

b) Upon this index the files would get ordered by their chosen attribute

💡 11) Zoom factor percentage info on bottom left like in normal GC windows — Because otherwise you have a hard time estimating this.

💡 12) Zoom factor control, maybe - "Scale to fit" the work area is a very good default! But maybe you want to zoom in a bit to see something in detail, and then out again, or back to "Scale to fit"

💡 13) Canvas preset options "Auto Size @72 DPI", "Auto Size @144 DPI", "Auto Size @custom DPI"

a) Why? In the use case of Make an image grid collage of still frames from a movie I was a bit surprised.
- You set a fixed canvas size
- You set a grid and space (gutter) within that grid and an outer margin
- But wait: The images are not completely visible, they are cropped. Was surprised at first.
- Ofc logical when you think if through. But it did not fulfill my user goal.

b) In that proposed mode your goal is:
- I want all my images to be fully visible and the canvas gets created accordingly.
- If "Canvas Size" is set to that "Auto" mode, then "Layout" only offers "Grid"
- "Grid" gets a new settings section "Placeholders Containers"
-- Useful for this scenario and in general
-- Aspect ratio: [ First dropped image ▾]
--- Other choices: "Last dropped image", 16x9, 16x10, 4x3, … all other usual ratios …, Square, Custom…
-- Scaling: [ Scale to fill ▾ ] → visually appears as a regular grid
--- "Scale to fit" → height/width may vary amongst images, feel visually a bit more chaotic (though placeholder grid is regular, but the content within differs)
--- Full height → width may vary amongst images
--- Full width → height may vary amongst images
-- "Reference point" for the scaling operations: Top left, top center, top right, left, center, right, bottom left, bottom center, bottom right.

Followup:
- Please tell me if you want to consider any of those proposals for implementation
- And I would create the proper single topic follow-up tickets.
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Re: Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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11+12) The collage displays always the complete collage fitted in the center area. So, there is no zoom required and supported.
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Re: Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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13) I suggest to use the picture catalog creation feature for this usage case.
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Re: Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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5) I improved the labels.
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Re: Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

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10) Drag and drop of multiple files is now handled better.
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porg
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Re: [Added] Collage Editor: Review + Improvements + Missing Features

Post by porg »

I first will answer bit by bit. But to the end will answer more holistically on the features "Collage Editor" + "Picture Catalog" + "Concatenate" + "Picture Package" which all deal with "one or multiple image(s) compiled into one or multiple collages(s)" and have quite some functional overlap, but nevertheless leave blind spots which none of them covers. And this part I better answered holistically.


BIT BY BIT ANSWERS:
5) I improved the labels.
Labels are a bit better now. But not good enough. And overall the usability of the buttons is still bad in this window.

Window close button "X" on the top left: Should be there as a redundant click option to "Close without Saving". Then the "Are you sure?" dialog is ok.

When clicking the very explicit "Close without Saving" the "Are you sure?" dialog is superfluous and just annoying.

"Create Image" → Expected a file saving dialog. Surprised that it opened a new Editor window. Makes sense though! Button label needs to better convey that! See below.

"Save" → No clue that this saves a collage type file. Could as well save the image.

I address all these concern with this solution:



[ ↓ Save Template ] [[ → Render & Open ]]

[ ↓ Vorlage speichern ] [[ → Bild erstellen und öffnen ]]

- Button "Close without Saving" gets removed. Just use a normal "Window close" button with the followup question "Collage file not saved. Do you want to save it?" Cancel / Don't Save / Save.
- "Render & Open" as primary button
- The arrows further help to convey the differentiation
- Template saved "down" to disk (for later re-use)
- "Render & Open" leads "to the right" to the next screen (for further processing/saving)
- "Template" to make clear you save not the collage result but a template and its file links and their position within the template.
- "Create image & open"


And why not simply:

[ Save Template… ] [[ Save Image… ]]

- "Save Template…" if persisted and opened gets just "Save Template".
- "Save Image…" simply opens the usual GC file save dialog.
- Or is it quite usual that people further process the collage rendering right away?


11+12) The collage displays always the complete collage fitted in the center area. So, there is no zoom required and supported.
Is okay. As long as the concept is "Fixed canvas size gets subdivided, images on the grid get scaled/interpolated accordingly anyways" the lack of zoom is ok. You can view the result at 100% zoom size if needed later.

The paradigm in #13 "Auto Size" would be an "inside out" workflow, similar as in "Concatenate", but with the full layout capabilities of the "Collage Editor". Here the images would remain in their size as is + add row/column gaps + canvas padding and the result of all this is the canvas size. Which in a last setting can possible be set to a maximum length/width/longest-side or set to by scaled percentually (e.g. to 25%) as the last procesing.
10) Drag and drop of multiple files is now handled better.
Yes. But 10 was not really about drag'n'drop, but more about which file attributes (name, creation-date, modification-date, exif-date; all of this asc or esc), are considered for the order of filling. See holistic answer.
13) I suggest to use the picture catalog creation feature for this usage case.
Looked at it. The strictest of all your "image compilation" features. Canvas has fixed dimensions. Thumbnails has fixed dimensions. Everything else subordinated to this.

Certainly a good feature for some use cases! But not mine.


HOLISTIC ANSWER:

See the table which compares the different UIs/features that GC offers for "compiling one/many images into one/many collages".
There's no "actionable followup" on this. Consider it just as an analysis. Possibly helping you.
GraphicConverter - One or many images into one or many collages.png
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