PictureRelate - Help


Loading pictures

There are several ways to load images.

View pictures in order of loading

This is the default. To return to this view of your loaded images (a.k.a database),

View a picture in full size

Since version 1.1 PictureRelate can display selected images in large. Just open up the view window using menu or tool bar. To initiate viewing you can also
For more thorough viewing, PictureRelate also offers to use the application associated with the picture to view. Choose "View external" from the picture context menu.

View sorted by directory and file name

Do a quick similarity search

Adjust criterias

To adjust criterias
Criterias are grouped into global, coarse, local, and other.

Global criterias refer to the overall appearance of the picture.
Coarse criterias split the image into a few regions and compare those regions. Therfore these criterias emphasize similar picture layout.
Local criterias focus on dominant accumulations of color in the image. Often these accumulations appear as blobs to the human eye.
Other criterias are

Searching pictures

With a bit of experience you can search pictures by similarity the following way:

Selection History

To move forward and backward in the recorded list of selected pictures, you can

Search for duplicates

Select the degree of similarity you want and press "Search". Comparing every picture with all other pictures can take a while for larger databases, especially if you opted for a low degree of similarity. But you can browse found images as soon as they appear in the list, and you can  cancel the search.

Semi-Automatic Adjustment of Criterias

Adjusting criterias is sometimes a difficult task, because it is not always obvious which criterias are useful to find similar pictures and which are not. Therefore I implemented two methods of auto-adjusting criterias, which you can find in the "Search" menu and in the toolbar.

First select a number of pictures you consider to be similar. Use Control-Click (hold down control key and click with left mouse button) to add or remove an picture from the selection. Use shift-Click to select a range of pictures.

Quick-Adjust Criterias:
This algorithm guesses your choice of criterias in a quick single step. It compares how similar the criterias in all selected pictures are and activates very similar ones and deactivates dissimilar ones. This can give you an idea on what criterias to focus for your search. Unfortunately in most cases the number of selected pictures is far too small to give any statistically significant hints, so this option on its own might not produce good results.

Auto-Adjust Criterias:
This algorithms adjusts your current choice of criterias iteratively so that as many of your selected pictures as possible are as similar as possible to the search picture, while at the same time all non-selected images are made as dissimilar as possible. In other words, the images you selected will - on average - move to the top of the list of similar images. Note that it is quite often mathematically impossible to find a setting for criterias that brings all images to the top of the list. Also note that this algorithm is iterative, so it matters where you start from. Especially those criterias you turned off completely will not be turned on. In general I recommend to start from the default setting of criterias.
For very large databases this option may become slow. In those cases you may want to cancel it as soon as the results did become better. Press escape key to do so. Otherwise use this algorithm repeatedly until results won't change any more. Add more images to the selection and repeat.

Reset Criterias:
Use this option to restart adjusting your criterias from a "reasonable" default whenever it looks like you reached a dead end in adjusting criterias.

Large numbers of picture and database files

As soon as your loaded collection of pictures becomes larger, I recommend you associate it with a database file on disk. Otherwise you might run out of virtual memory pretty soon. To associate your pictures with a database file, choose "Save..." or "Save As..." from the application menu. Note that the file is not always created immediately, but when needed. The name of the database will appear in the title bar of the application window. Once you opened a database, PictureRelate is working on that file. So you must not move or delete an open database. And it is important to close the database. Otherwise it may become corrupted. So don't kill the application. You may want to make a copy of a large database (and by the way, if you compare the time a database needs for copying with the time it needs for opening, you will appreciate the work I spent into creating an efficient database architecture).

Also you may want to consider multiple databases. If you know which pictures you want to relate, and which you don't want to relate, use this information and put separate groups of pictures into separate databases.

Status Bar

The status bar at the bottom of the application window displays current status information (as it usually does in most windows applications).
There are some safety measures integrated into PictureRelate to avoid running out of memory or disk space, but I recommend you don't rely too much on them. Remember: crashing the program can corrupt your picture database.

Deleting duplicates

Searching duplicate pictures is one thing, to decide which of the duplicates to delete is another task. In the end you have to decide yourself which picture to delete, but here are some helpful hints how to do it. After pictures where modified in the Explorer or with other programs, I recommend you use "File / Update / Update All Pictures" from the menu, so PictureRelate knows about the change. If pictures were renamed outside of PictureRelate, you may have to re-load them into PictureRelate.

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