User Interface Introduction

The PixelGrinder interface is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to construct sequences of actions that you can apply to your entire library with just a few mouse clicks. This guide will help you to learn the main areas of the user interface so that you can start using PixelGrinder as quickly as possible.

Each PixelGrinder sequence is a separate document, which can be saved and re-opened later much like a Pages or Keynote document. This means that once you have setup a sequence of actions that suits your needs, you can save that sequence and load it up later to apply it to a different set of images. You can even share your sequence files (.aips files) with your work colleagues.

Main User Interface Elements

The following screen shot shows an open PXGND document and the interface consists of 5 main areas. Each is explained below.

1. Input Folders Panel

The input folders panel shows a list of all of the folders that will be scanned when you press start. All images that are found within this directory (and all sub-directories of this folder) will be added to the processing queue. This allows you to process an enrire library of images by simply adding the root folder to your input folders.

Adding an Input Folder: You can add a directory to the input folders list by clicking on the plus button (+) on this panel. This will then bring up a dialog box that will allow you to select one or more directories from your hard drive. The directories won’t be scanned straight away – they will only be scanned for images when you press start, allowing you put new images into the folder and restart the process without having to change any settings in your application. You can also drag and drop folders directly from Finder onto this panel to add them to your input folder list.

Removing input folders: You can remove directories from the processing queue by selecting one or more folders from the list view and then clicking on the minus button (-) at the top of this panel. You can remove all of these folders in one go by clicking on the clear button.

2. Input Files Panel

The input files panel shows a list of images that will be processed individually when you press the start button. The input files panel allows you to add more specific selections of images instead of adding whole directories of images as with the Input Folders panel. Images that appear on the input files list view will be processed as soon as you click on the start button.

Adding input files: You can add individual images to the processing queue by clicking on the plus button (+) at the top of the input files panel. This will then bring up a dialog box that will allow you to select one ore more files (or directories) from your hard drive. If you select any folders at this point, they will be scanned immediately and all images inside those folders will be added to the input files panel. If you later add files to that directory, they will not automatically be added to the input files panel. If you require that functionality, you should use input folders instead.

Removing input files: You can remove input files from the processing queue by selecting one or more files from the list view and then clicking on the minus button (-) at the top of this panel. You can remove all of the files in the list view in one go by clicking on the clear button.

3. Action List Panel

The processing action list view presents the actions that will be applied to each image that is found in your input folders and input files when you click on the start button on the toolbar. Each of the actions will be applied in the order presented to each image that is either present in your input files or is found in your input folders at the time you press start.

Adding a new action: You can add new actions to the action list by clicking on the plus button (+) at the top of this panel. This will bring up a temporary menu that will allow you to select which action you would like to add to the action queue. All new actions will be added before the last save action in your action queue.

Re-ordering actions: You can change the order of the actions in the action list by clicking and dragging on an action’s title / header bar and dropping it into the position that you would like it to be. The darker blue background area represents the area that you can click to drag an action to another position in the list.

Changing action settings: The small arrow next to each action’s title can be used to show or hide that action’s settings and parameters. A few actions don’t have any settings (such as Invert Image and Grayscale Image), but most do. When the arrow is pointing down and the settings are visible, you can then change the parameters for each action as you would in any other OSX application. Changes that you make here will be applied automatically to the preview image so that you can test your settings before running your action sequence on your image library.

Enabling / Disabling actions: Sometimes you might want to disable an action from the action list instead of deleting it entirely. This is useful if you want to preview what would happen if that action was removed without losing all of the settings for that action. By checking the ‘enabled’ box next to an action’s title you can ensure that the action is going to take effect. By unchecking that box, you are temporarily disabling the action so that it will not have an effect on the preview, or when you press the start button on the toolbar.

Deleting actions: Any action can be deleted from the action list view. First you should select an action by clicking anywhere on the darker blue area surrounding the action title so that it becomes highlighted. Next, clicking on the minus button (-) at the top of this panel will remove that action from your action queue.

4. Preview Panel

The preview panel allows you to test out your action sequence and settings before running the process on all of your images.

Selecting an image to preview: You can select an image to preview by selecting an image file in the Input Files panel (2). When a row is highlighted in the input files panel, it will become the current preview image. You can change the image to another image in your input files list at any time by clicking on another image in the list. If you select an input folder from the input folders panel, the first image found inside that folder will become the preview image used in the preview panel.

Auto Update Preview: If the auto update preview check box is selected then the preview image will be updated as soon as you change any settings in your actions list panel. This allows you to quickly see any changes to your preview as you edit your action settings. However, on older computers this could make your system less responsive – by unchecking this box, the preview will only be updated when you click on the manual update button at the top of this panel.

5. Main Toolbar

The main toolbar gives you faster access to the main functions of the application. The buttons on the toolbar are as follows;

Add Folder: The add folder button brings up a dialog box so that you can add an input folder to the input folder list view.

Add Files: The add files button brings up a dialog box so that you can select images to add to your input files list view.

Start: The start button will put this document into processing mode and will start to apply your actions to each image that you’ve selected as input.

View Output: When processing is complete, this will open the output folders in Finder so that you can easily view the output from the last run.

Save: This button allows you to save your action sequence and other settings so that you can re-open it again for later use.