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Matthew B

(Archived) Image Contrast and Orientation Control?

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I love evernote, except when I am uploading an image from my iphone (which is quite often). I think there are two issues: image contrast and orientation.

Image Contrast

I take photos of all the business cards I receive, but the iphone's camera (and most phones for that matter) will average a white card to 50% grey. The same is true when I take pictures of notes on 3x5 cards. As a result, all of the photos of business cards and 3x5 cards stored in evernote are too dark and difficult to read.

Suggestion: give the user the option to 1) accept the original picture as is, 2) choose an auto-contrast adjusted picture or 3) retake.

Orientation

There's a similar problem with orientation. When the iphone is tilted down to take a picture (for example of a business card on a table), the orientation of the picture depends entirely on the orientation of the iphone before it was tilted. As a result, half of my business cards stored in evernote are sideways :(

Suggestion: give the user the option to rotate the image clockwise or counter clockwise before saving.

There are lots of easy ways to add this functionality without mudding up the user interface. For example, on the preview screen where the user can select "use" or "retake" -- swiping right or left to adjust the contrast. And/or add a button to adjust orientation.

Finally, since I've got a ton of business cards in Evernote that are sideways and grey, it would be great to be able to just right-click on them from Windows (or option-click on Mac) and select "change orientation" or "adjust brightness/contrast."

I don't think it's acceptable to require the user to use another app or program to adjust images before storing in Evernote, especially for something basic like business cards.

Thanks!

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KISS - let's keep it simple.

I don't want to see Evernote get bloated with all sorts of graphic and photoshop type addons. First it is orientation and contrast, then why not cut & paste, then how about layers for photo enhancements, and then let's add image toolbars for all sorts of special effects.

Evernote has to support a ton of different media products - Windows, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, etc., etc.

No thanks. I want Evernote to stay focused on information storage and fast searches.

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I don't think it's acceptable to require the user to use another app or program to adjust images before storing in Evernote, especially for something basic like business cards.

Thanks!

In the Windows client, you can edit your images using an external program; that sort of editing capability is not uncommon with Windows apps (though you don't get it for free as a developer). Why do you think that business cards present a more basic user case than any other types of image?

~Jeff

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KISS - let's keep it simple.

I don't want to see Evernote get bloated with all sorts of graphic and photoshop type addons. First it is orientation and contrast, then why not cut & paste, then how about layers for photo enhancements, and then let's add image toolbars for all sorts of special effects.

I agree it needs to be kept simple and, no, I don't want any of that. There are several ways to add the functionality without adversely affecting the user interface. It just requires some creativity, of which the developers at Evernote have plenty. I'd be happy to mock up a user interface for them if it helps.

There are several iPhone applications that specialize in transforming and cleaning snapshots, which integrate with Evernote. Click the "Mobile" tab on this page to see three of them:

http://www.evernote.com/about/integration/

Most of those apps are overkill. If I take a picture of a business card or a napkin with my iphone, there are really only 2 issues: orientation and image contrast. If these issues aren't fixed before the image gets uploaded, then the quality of the data going into evernote is very poor and almost unusable. Not the properly balanced and oriented photos of napkins that you advertise!! I don't need multipage scanning and cropping, I just need to take a picture, have it auto-balanced, and have an option to orient it correctly.

In the Windows client, you can edit your images using an external program; that sort of editing capability is not uncommon with Windows apps (though you don't get it for free as a developer). Why do you think that business cards present a more basic user case than any other types of image?

Evernote is an exceptional program, and already does things other apps do not do.

Taking pictures of small documents represents a significant subset of the basic user case when the camera in question is a smartphone running Evernote.

Business cards and taking pictures of small notes on napkins has ALWAYS been a major selling point of Evernote. They use these examples prominently in their marketing, heavily promoting this use. I suspect it's because I'm not the only one interested in this aspect of the program :)

It's inconvenient to be required to use an external Mac or Windows program to rotate or auto-balance images, especially for a large volume of images. These are simple operations to include programmatically.

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I agree that Evernote should have a few simple graphical editing tools.

The two I miss the most are

1. Orientation. Whenever I take a picture with my iphone, it usually comes out sideways when I view it on my pc, my mac or the web-interface.

2. Resizing before uploading. With cameraphones getting higher resolution. A simple picture gets bigger and bigger in means of MB's, and when we only have a certain amount of MB's we should be allowed to resize what we upload.

Hope you developers look this. If you cant do resize, then atleast do orientation :)

cheers.

yes. I know Im gravedigging in the threads here. but I wanted to give my feedback :)

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I completely agree with the absolute necessity for the ability to rotate images within evernote! (the auto contrast would make a lot of sense too) and would argue that there should be a crop command as well. I have a few business cards and misc photos that would benefit from a crop. The response that we should rely on another program to do these things is absolutely ridiculous, and only points to the fact that the application is not complete as is. The whole point of (my using) Evernote is to be a self contained note and organization tool, RIGHT NOW, on the spot, not "oh, I'll organize that when I get home." Are you really going to tell me that I need to bring (sync) all my stuff home and then open up windows picture manager a'la win 98 to complete the dreadfully difficult task of rotating a picture?... Really?

I can understand how it would be difficult to get something like this to happen on an iphone, but do not excuse it. I'm paying $5 a month for this service because its the best thing around, for now. The part that gets me is that this should be an incredibly simple thing to do within evernote's OWN program running on my PC (or mac). Sorry to vent, but this has become quite an annoyance in the day-to-day use of Evernote, hope somebody other than users is listening?

Thank you, Andy.

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I'm paying $5 a month for this service because its the best thing around, for now.

You can use it for free, you know. It's still quite good at that price (you can still vent here, too).

hope somebody other than users is listening?

The Evernote CTO already has posted in this thread: http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=16876#p67649. External editors are a reasonable approach to leveraging the user's own tools (or those that come with the operating system) to accomplish various tasks; the aim is to keep Evernote relatively simple to use.

Evernote staff do read all messages; stick around and you'll see.

~Jeff

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The whole point of (my using) Evernote is to be a self contained note and organization tool, RIGHT NOW, on the spot, not "oh, I'll organize that when I get home." Are you really going to tell me that I need to bring (sync) all my stuff home and then open up windows picture manager a'la win 98 to complete the dreadfully difficult task of rotating a picture?... Really?

Hmmm....well, I guess if you're using it from a computer or device that doesn't allow you to edit images, yeah. Handing off to a third party eliminates bloat & is flexible since we can each use the editor of our choice. You want EN to be a self contained app that allows image editing. Others want more beefy text editing. Everyone has their own set of wants. And others want a lean info capture & retrieval system with no bloat. Handing off functions that exist in third party apps prevents EN from having to reinvent the wheel. (And I'm sure if they did, some would want different wheels than the ones EN chose - you can't please everyone.)

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I dont think, that image rotating and cropping features will bloat the software. It's not really image editing, The rotation feature for example will just change the order of the pixels, that are rendered to the screen. That won't add much overhead at all.

I agree, that you have to be very careful, that a software doesn't get to bloated and i know that your philosophy is to practically add no features at all, but i think that's as bad as adding to much features, too.

The art of designing a good software is to add excactly the right amount and only the most important features and i think, that a few basic image formating (not editing) features are necessary.

Otherwise you have to remove your text formating buttons also. Why integrate them, when you can format your text with an external HTML or RTF editor and insert it as formated text into your note? At least be consistent. ;)

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noxon wrote:

I dont think, that image rotating and cropping features will bloat the software.

It's a slippery slope. Several requests on this format have pushed for not just rotation and cropping; but also image reduction, hue adjustments, contrast control. Other's push for stronger word processing capabilities such as advanced outlining. Other's want voice memo editing. Others want GTD and mindmapping options. Others want e-book reader capabilities. Others want PDF editing features. That is what this forum is designed for - to bring ideas forward.

But if Evernote responded to all of their customers desires, that is how the bloat problem develops. And with the abundance of 3rd party developers who could charge for these enhancements as well as the large number of free programs already in the marketplace, it makes sense for Evernote to concentrate on improving the fundamentals - speed, storage and multiplatform stability.

And yes, to be politically correct, I will add the obvious rejoinder that it is important for Evernote listen to their customers. They are. Their remarkable growth and the 5 million users are indications they are making the right moves.

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I think there is an important distinction to recognise here between note editing tasks that require you to manually load something up in another app and then copy it across to EN (like the example of doing advanced text editing in another application), and those that can easily be done whilst using EN but with the help of an external application, without breaking the workflow. Image rotation can be done in a matter of seconds without really leaving EN (OK, you are technically opening another app, but you don't have to do anything to manually choose the other app and it can be done extremely quickly & without extra thought); just double click on the image (in EN) and it will almost instantly open up in whatever image editor you have set as the default for that image type (usually one of the basic lightweight image editing apps that comes as standard with the OS, such as Windows Photo Viewer on Win 7), you click the rotate button in that app, exit the app (most of the windows ones I've used will auto save the image) and you're done! OK, it takes fractionally longer than it would if the function was built into EN, but honestly, it is an incredibly quick process and requires virtually no extra thought or effort on the part of the user. Of course, this process won't be as quick if you have set the default image app to be something like Photoshop... but then why would you do that anyway?! :?

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Now imagine you have to do this 20 times a day over and over again. Won't that be a little anoying? Doing this from inside EN would easily save you half an hour of unnecessary work right there.

You have to consider, that there are some users out there, who clip a lot more pictures than you do. For them it can be a huge inconvenience.

I'm not saying, that you have to create a button for all these features. This may clog the UI. Instead you can add all this to the context menu of the image.

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noxon wrote:

Now imagine you have to do this 20 times a day over and over again. Won't that be a little anoying? Doing this from inside EN would easily save you half an hour of unnecessary work right there.

20 times a day = 30 minutes

1 minute 30 seconds to open an app? - maybe the problem is not Evernote, but your computer?

Read missdipsy's excellent post right above yours that addresses your concern.

  • "just double click on the image (in EN) and it will almost instantly open up in whatever image editor you have set as the default for that image type (usually one of the basic lightweight image editing apps that comes as standard with the OS, such as Windows Photo Viewer on Win 7)"

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Of course, this process won't be as quick if you have set the default image app to be something like Photoshop... but then why would you do that anyway?! :?

That's another reason for EN to utilize third party apps. Some people actually do want to edit their EN images in Photoshop:

Occasionally I edit in Photoshop clipped screen images and after saving,

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=19249&p=83580&hilit=photoshop#p79554

I've noticed that when I right click in a note, the set of options for a file type is a subset of the ones I see in Windows Explorer. In particular, I cannot open images in Photoshop (it's not listed - even though its the top item in Explorer).

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=16549&p=66124&hilit=photoshop#p66103

when I right-click an image in EN, I get offered "open with" Picasa, MS picture viewer, and paint - but no photoshop. And yes I DO have photoshop installed!

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=15286&p=60382&hilit=psp#p60163

Handing off to third party apps allows each user to use their editing program of choice.

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I think there is an important distinction to recognise here between note editing tasks that require you to manually load something up in another app and then copy it across to EN (like the example of doing advanced text editing in another application), and those that can easily be done whilst using EN but with the help of an external application, without breaking the workflow.

That's true. (Good point.) And so far, IME, double clicking on the attachment within EN opens up whatever your default program is for that file type. So even if I have advanced text editing, say in a Word document, or an Excel spreadsheet, double clicking still invokes Word or Excel & opens the attachment in the third party app. If you have your default apps set correctly, it's pretty seamless.

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20 times a day = 30 minutes

1 minute 30 seconds to open an app? - maybe the problem is not Evernote, but your computer?

Some people might actually have photoshop as their default app for a good reason. Maybe they use an other app which can't decide to integrate editing features, so they are required to have photoshop as an default app. For them it would take ages to rotate an image. I'm not one of those users, but i know some people who have photoshop as their default app.

Well, however the Evernote team thinks they should handle this. My opinion on this is pretty clear and i hope that they will integrate basic and useful features if needed, even if they theoretically could be realized by third party software.

As far as i know Evernote already confirmed the plans for a configurable UI. If that's the case, everbody who doesn't need a specific feature can remove the button completely and won't be bothered with it and those who want a button for a new feature can add it to their buttonbar.

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A somewhat apropos (and interesting, at least to me) article on the topic of determining the right set of features for an application: Rands in Repose: The Art of Not. In the spectrum ranging from Ronco-style do-it-all apps (it's a toaster! it's a vacuum cleaner! it's a it's a large particle collider! See also Tom Waits' 'Step Right Up') to extremely simple does-one-thing-but-does-it-well apps (e.g. iPhone Cowbell app? Pet Rocks?), where do you draw the line?

~Jeff

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This constant argument against adding a new feature in nearly every thread is really getting old, particularly when the requests are greatly exaggerated by those who don't want any new features. I haven't seen one request for anything near Photoshop capability, yet this same comparison gets thrown out time and time again.

Only 4 out of 20 posts in this thread actually deal with the feature requested.

The rest are arguing, once again, whether or not new features should be added to EN.

This same argument seems to appear in just about every new feature request thread. I'm sure by now the Evernote staff is very aware of the "dangers" of adding new features. Must it be repeated for every new thread? What's the point? Who are you trying to convince?

It is too late to restrict EN to a single purpose app. From the beginning it has been multi-purpose. The secret to continued success is balance.

If you want to discuss "bloat", then why don't you ever bring up the effort being spent on a multitude of new platforms before EN has fixed a number of significant bugs on its core platforms. This is consuming far more EN resources than adding new features.

IMO we don't need all Word features, we don't need all Photoshop features, but we do need a very few rich text editing features and a very few image capture (not editing) features to make EN a reasonably efficient, productive tool.

Since Evernote iPhone provides a Camera image capture feature, it should also provide the small number of basic options needed during image capture: resolution/file size, orientation, retry, and maybe autobalance/autocontrast (if it is easy to implement).

Having to process these basic camera options later in Windows or Mac has a real impact on the workflow and time. First, you have to remember to "fix" the image, find the image/Note, and then open it in some external app. All of this takes considerably more time than mentioned.

Just my 2c.

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This constant argument against adding a new feature in nearly every thread is really getting old etc. etc.

Are you replying to anyone in particular here? It's hard to tell, because you didn't specify, especially when you used the pronoun 'you'. If you're referring to my posting of an article that's related to the topic of what to put in and what to leave out of applications, it's not really an argument for or against this particular feature, and neither was my posting of the article. I found it interesting in the context, that's all. If you don't find it to be topical, then it's ok to ignore it; if it's a springboard for discussion, here or in another thread, then that's fine too.

~Jeff

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I completely agree with the absolute necessity for the ability to rotate images within evernote!

Would you please explain a bit the reasons behind this or some citation that I could read? Unhappily, it's not clear to me that this is an essential and, for me, not even a useful feature. But I'm happy to change my mind (and learn something new) if someone can explain this.

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