Sometimes we go with a software because we find a sudden use for it. Sometimes it’s just for fun. The software I am going to harp on about in this post is not a slick looking one.
That’s strange for a tool which is all about images and JPEGs. But it is a very functional piece of software for someone who not only likes to click photos but also takes the pains to add information about them. The software also happens to be a free download and that just bumps up its attractiveness a notch.
We are familiar with the system of tagging and annotating images online. It’s there in social apps like Facebook and Orkut. It’s also a common feature in Flickr photo storage sites of its ilk. FotoTagger is a desktop tool filling in for that particular job.
FotoTagger is a free utility that lets you tag photos with small descriptive notes on any part of an image. And no, it does not “˜spoil’ the image because the notes can be easily removed and also hidden with a click of a button. The photos also can be shared across the web along with the comments or annotations.
A Picture Says A Thousand Words But”¦
Just sometimes an image is not enough. We need to tag photos to put some words into it :
- to better describe it
- to put in some information for posterity
- to identify some landmark or person
- to simply highlight a uniqueness that the eye might miss.
We can tag photos in a tool like Picasa, we can geotag them or add name tags to identify faces, but with FotoTagger we can pinpoint any element on the photo and place a comment on it. FotoTagger also does a few things more with our photos.
FotoTagger In Action
Let’s start by looking at the ways we can better tag photos using FotoTagger. Photos (JPEGs) can be given a caption that’s like a label for the whole photo or a tag which can be pointed towards any element in the photo (also called a callout). An image can be given only one caption but it can have multiple tags. Fonts and colors can be customized for tags and captions. They can be shown as rectangles or as balloons.
Tags and captions do not significantly add to the size of the image as they are stored within the image file in text format. They also can be revealed and hidden with a single click within FotoTagger (thus, displaying the image with and without tags).
Viewing Annotated Images
We can directly open the image in the FotoTagger window. The better way though is FotoTagger’s Organize Mode. The Organize Mode is like an image file organizer with similar functions like album preview. It is also the interface which lets us view all the properties of your image files. In a large album, a special symbol (FT) also lets us know at a glance which files are tagged.
The technically inclined can use the image information tabs in the bottom panel to view specific data like EXIF, IPTC, image properties, histogram and of course the tags for the image. The Comment tab is for entering a more descriptive note on the particular image or the whole album.
Sending Annotated Photos To The Web
Single images or a bunch with all its annotations can be exported (and imported back) to and from Flickr. While exporting, you can also perform a resize operation to fit it into your Flickr set.
Before uploading to Flickr, you have to follow a few steps to authorize FotoTagger to access your Flickr account. FotoTagger handles the change in meta-data formats between it and Flickr.
A simple wizard also lets us publish annotated pictures to our blogs (Blogger and LiveJournal). If the image size is too large for blogs, an alert pops up requesting permission to resize the image.
Exporting to HTML as whole folders or as individual files is also a two step process. What we get are HTML pages that include the annotated image with tags which can be hidden with a click of a button. These are viewable in any browser and do not require FotoTagger for displaying the tags. Creating animated slideshows and presentations is also easy and descriptive with the annotations help of FotoTagger.
The fourth way is to send annotated images by email. Send it with tags merged into the image automatically through FotoTagger which launches your default email application.
A Side Benefit
It’s not only the second person who gets the benefit of the annotated images. Annotation using tags and captions is also an ironclad way to organize your zillion photos. FotoTagger and its search tool can then go to work searching the right image for you.
FotoTagger is a plain functional tool to tag photos. I wish it could be slicker and throw in a few more options that would allow me to customize the “˜look’ of tags and captions. In the Web 2.0 world, the output does seem a bit antiquated. But cosmetics aside, FotoTagger does the basic job of captioning and tagging quite well. Also, the plug-in which allows us to capture an image straight from either IE or Firefox into FotoTagger is not updated for the latest version of the Firefox browser.
But despite these niggles, if I need to make my photos say a few words, FotoTagger is an option worth a glimpse.
FotoTagger ver. 2.13 is compatible with Windows XP (not tried out in Vista).