Graphical Interface (frontend) version:
animgif frontend zip date 2017-10-15T02:01:01+03:00

 

Szaturnusz, Cassini-rés. MC 102/1300, 268 frame-ből válogatott a Registax

Saturn and the Cassini division.  MC 102/1300, webcam, stack of 268 frames, Registax

I am nostalgic about those times when there was no, or at least much less black hat content on the internet. Search engines were as they were, but the results were valid. Free software was free, developed by developers, and the notion of bundleware, crapware, bloatware were like unknown. Today? Trojans, spyware and spamdexing wherever you look. This pisses me off, and this is the reason I wrote this article and developed the free software.

Same black hat sh*t when we try to find an animgif creator – yes, a free one. Be it a converter from video or still frames. Best case scenario: you get to look at ads and ads and ads, you get a burnt in logo on your gif etc. Worst case scenario: you get some bundleware, crapware or spyware. Nice tracking softwares for ad servers or you might find that your computer is actually mining bitcoins in the background.

Why animgif? Suppose I want to show you how bad the seeing was when I imaged Saturn. Should I upload a youtube clip? No: I wanted a GIF. Or suppose I want to show you a sunset with sunspots. Or the transit of Venus, recorded by myself. Because the treasures of astronomy are worthless if they are not shared. Science and hobby sciences are ment to be shared.

So after a while I decided to use the free ImageMagick + ffmpeg software collection. Both have a command line interface – no gui – to which Linux users might be much more used to. Under Windows, well, it worth learning. Or using my frontend (further down).

Mission:

1) extract still frames from an arbitrary video file
2) create an animated gif – animgif – from arbitrary still frames

1) Extracting frames from a video: ffmpeg. The ffmpeg software library emarges in various places on the internet. It stands at the core of many applications. One might download it individually, but ImageMagick brings it along. I use this command:

ffmpeg -i video.avi -qscale 0 frame%03d.jpg

Where:
ffmpeg is the name of the program. On my computer it looks like: C:ffmpeg-20131205-git-9ca32b2-win32-staticbinffmpeg.exe
-i  this tells ffmpeg to extract frames
video.avi the path and filename of the video file to be processed. In this case I just put it in the same folder.
-qscale 0 this would be a very long story. Lets just say this keeps each frame at a high quality.
frame%03d.jpg path and filename of the output files. In this case it is the same folder, next to the ffmpeg.exe. Red marks the filename lead, yellow the integer counter with three digits, and lime is the file extension. JPG is a lossy image compression format but since the goal is to create a lossy animgif (gif: 256 colors, jpeg: 16m colors) we are safe.

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

still frame of Saturn

2) Creating the animgif from still frames: ImageMagick. It is free software standing at the core of many image processing softwares. It brings ffmpeg along and can be downloaded from  this link. It is very very robust. To get a sense of just how robust, I printed the help of  convert (convert >a.txt). No program for ordinary users.

Version: ImageMagick 6.8.8-2 Q8 x86 2014-01-09 http://www.imagemagick.org
Copyright: Copyright (C) 1999-2014 ImageMagick Studio LLC
Features: DPC OpenMP
Delegates: bzlib cairo freetype jbig jng jp2 jpeg lcms lqr pangocairo png ps rsvg tiff webp xml zlib

Usage: convert.exe [options ...] file [ [options ...] file ...] [options ...] file

Image Settings:
  -adjoin              join images into a single multi-image file
  -affine matrix       affine transform matrix
  -alpha option        activate, deactivate, reset, or set the alpha channel
  -antialias           remove pixel-aliasing
  -authenticate password
                       decipher image with this password
  -attenuate value     lessen (or intensify) when adding noise to an image
  -background color    background color
  -bias value          add bias when convolving an image
  -black-point-compensation
                       use black point compensation
  -blue-primary point  chromaticity blue primary point
  -bordercolor color   border color
  -caption string      assign a caption to an image
  -channel type        apply option to select image channels
  -clip-mask filename  associate a clip mask with the image
  -colors value        preferred number of colors in the image
  -colorspace type     alternate image colorspace
  -comment string      annotate image with comment
  -compose operator    set image composite operator
  -compress type       type of pixel compression when writing the image
  -define format:option
                       define one or more image format options
  -delay value         display the next image after pausing
  -density geometry    horizontal and vertical density of the image
  -depth value         image depth
  -direction type      render text right-to-left or left-to-right
  -display server      get image or font from this X server
  -dispose method      layer disposal method
  -dither method       apply error diffusion to image
  -encoding type       text encoding type
  -endian type         endianness (MSB or LSB) of the image
  -family name         render text with this font family
  -fill color          color to use when filling a graphic primitive
  -filter type         use this filter when resizing an image
  -font name           render text with this font
  -format "string"     output formatted image characteristics
  -fuzz distance       colors within this distance are considered equal
  -gravity type        horizontal and vertical text placement
  -green-primary point chromaticity green primary point
  -intensity method    method to generate intensity value from pixel
  -intent type         type of rendering intent when managing the image color
  -interlace type      type of image interlacing scheme
  -interline-spacing value
                       set the space between two text lines
  -interpolate method  pixel color interpolation method
  -interword-spacing value
                       set the space between two words
  -kerning value       set the space between two letters
  -label string        assign a label to an image
  -limit type value    pixel cache resource limit
  -loop iterations     add Netscape loop extension to your GIF animation
  -mask filename       associate a mask with the image
  -matte               store matte channel if the image has one
  -mattecolor color    frame color
  -moments             report image moments
  -monitor             monitor progress
  -orient type         image orientation
  -page geometry       size and location of an image canvas (setting)
  -ping                efficiently determine image attributes
  -pointsize value     font point size
  -precision value     maximum number of significant digits to print
  -preview type        image preview type
  -quality value       JPEG/MIFF/PNG compression level
  -quiet               suppress all warning messages
  -red-primary point   chromaticity red primary point
  -regard-warnings     pay attention to warning messages
  -remap filename      transform image colors to match this set of colors
  -respect-parentheses settings remain in effect until parenthesis boundary
  -sampling-factor geometry
                       horizontal and vertical sampling factor
  -scene value         image scene number
  -seed value          seed a new sequence of pseudo-random numbers
  -size geometry       width and height of image
  -stretch type        render text with this font stretch
  -stroke color        graphic primitive stroke color
  -strokewidth value   graphic primitive stroke width
  -style type          render text with this font style
  -support factor      resize support: > 1.0 is blurry, < 1.0 is sharp
  -synchronize         synchronize image to storage device
  -taint               declare the image as modified
  -texture filename    name of texture to tile onto the image background
  -tile-offset geometry
                       tile offset
  -treedepth value     color tree depth
  -transparent-color color
                       transparent color
  -undercolor color    annotation bounding box color
  -units type          the units of image resolution
  -verbose             print detailed information about the image
  -view                FlashPix viewing transforms
  -virtual-pixel method
                       virtual pixel access method
  -weight type         render text with this font weight
  -white-point point   chromaticity white point

Image Operators:
  -adaptive-blur geometry
                       adaptively blur pixels; decrease effect near edges
  -adaptive-resize geometry
                       adaptively resize image using 'mesh' interpolation
  -adaptive-sharpen geometry
                       adaptively sharpen pixels; increase effect near edges
  -alpha option        on, activate, off, deactivate, set, opaque, copy
                       transparent, extract, background, or shape
  -annotate geometry text
                       annotate the image with text
  -auto-gamma          automagically adjust gamma level of image
  -auto-level          automagically adjust color levels of image
  -auto-orient         automagically orient (rotate) image
  -bench iterations    measure performance
  -black-threshold value
                       force all pixels below the threshold into black
  -blue-shift factor   simulate a scene at nighttime in the moonlight
  -blur geometry       reduce image noise and reduce detail levels
  -border geometry     surround image with a border of color
  -bordercolor color   border color
  -brightness-contrast geometry
                       improve brightness / contrast of the image
  -cdl filename        color correct with a color decision list
  -charcoal radius     simulate a charcoal drawing
  -chop geometry       remove pixels from the image interior
  -clamp               keep pixel values in range (0-QuantumRange)
  -clip                clip along the first path from the 8BIM profile
  -clip-path id        clip along a named path from the 8BIM profile
  -colorize value      colorize the image with the fill color
  -color-matrix matrix apply color correction to the image
  -contrast            enhance or reduce the image contrast
  -contrast-stretch geometry
                       improve contrast by `stretching' the intensity range
  -convolve coefficients
                       apply a convolution kernel to the image
  -cycle amount        cycle the image colormap
  -decipher filename   convert cipher pixels to plain pixels
  -deskew threshold    straighten an image
  -despeckle           reduce the speckles within an image
  -distort method args
                       distort images according to given method ad args
  -draw string         annotate the image with a graphic primitive
  -edge radius         apply a filter to detect edges in the image
  -encipher filename   convert plain pixels to cipher pixels
  -emboss radius       emboss an image
  -enhance             apply a digital filter to enhance a noisy image
  -equalize            perform histogram equalization to an image
  -evaluate operator value
                       evaluate an arithmetic, relational, or logical expression
  -extent geometry     set the image size
  -extract geometry    extract area from image
  -features distance   analyze image features (e.g. contrast, correlation)
  -fft                 implements the discrete Fourier transform (DFT)
  -flip                flip image vertically
  -floodfill geometry color
                       floodfill the image with color
  -flop                flop image horizontally
  -frame geometry      surround image with an ornamental border
  -function name parameters
                       apply function over image values
  -gamma value         level of gamma correction
  -gaussian-blur geometry
                       reduce image noise and reduce detail levels
  -geometry geometry   preferred size or location of the image
  -grayscale method    convert image to grayscale
  -identify            identify the format and characteristics of the image
  -ift                 implements the inverse discrete Fourier transform (DFT)
  -implode amount      implode image pixels about the center
  -interpolative-resize geometry
                       resize image using 'point sampled' interpolation
  -lat geometry        local adaptive thresholding
  -level value         adjust the level of image contrast
  -level-colors color,color
                       level image with the given colors
  -linear-stretch geometry
                       improve contrast by `stretching with saturation'
  -liquid-rescale geometry
                       rescale image with seam-carving
  -magnify             double the size of the image with pixel art scaling
  -median geometry     apply a median filter to the image
  -mode geometry       make each pixel the 'predominant color' of the
                       neighborhood
  -modulate value      vary the brightness, saturation, and hue
  -monochrome          transform image to black and white
  -morphology method kernel
                       apply a morphology method to the image
  -motion-blur geometry
                       simulate motion blur
  -negate              replace every pixel with its complementary color
  -noise geometry      add or reduce noise in an image
  -normalize           transform image to span the full range of colors
  -opaque color        change this color to the fill color
  -ordered-dither NxN
                       add a noise pattern to the image with specific
                       amplitudes
  -paint radius        simulate an oil painting
  -perceptible epsilon
                       pixel value less than |epsilon| become epsilon or
                       -epsilon
  -polaroid angle      simulate a Polaroid picture
  -posterize levels    reduce the image to a limited number of color levels
  -profile filename    add, delete, or apply an image profile
  -quantize colorspace reduce colors in this colorspace
  -radial-blur angle   radial blur the image
  -raise value         lighten/darken image edges to create a 3-D effect
  -random-threshold low,high
                       random threshold the image
  -region geometry     apply options to a portion of the image
  -render              render vector graphics
  -repage geometry     size and location of an image canvas
  -resample geometry   change the resolution of an image
  -resize geometry     resize the image
  -roll geometry       roll an image vertically or horizontally
  -rotate degrees      apply Paeth rotation to the image
  -sample geometry     scale image with pixel sampling
  -scale geometry      scale the image
  -segment values      segment an image
  -selective-blur geometry
                       selectively blur pixels within a contrast threshold
  -sepia-tone threshold
                       simulate a sepia-toned photo
  -set property value  set an image property
  -shade degrees       shade the image using a distant light source
  -shadow geometry     simulate an image shadow
  -sharpen geometry    sharpen the image
  -shave geometry      shave pixels from the image edges
  -shear geometry      slide one edge of the image along the X or Y axis
  -sigmoidal-contrast geometry
                       increase the contrast without saturating highlights or
                       shadows
  -sketch geometry     simulate a pencil sketch
  -solarize threshold  negate all pixels above the threshold level
  -sparse-color method args
                       fill in a image based on a few color points
  -splice geometry     splice the background color into the image
  -spread radius       displace image pixels by a random amount
  -statistic type geometry
                       replace each pixel with corresponding statistic from the
                       neighborhood
  -strip               strip image of all profiles and comments
  -swirl degrees       swirl image pixels about the center
  -threshold value     threshold the image
  -thumbnail geometry  create a thumbnail of the image
  -tile filename       tile image when filling a graphic primitive
  -tint value          tint the image with the fill color
  -transform           affine transform image
  -transparent color   make this color transparent within the image
  -transpose           flip image vertically and rotate 90 degrees
  -transverse          flop image horizontally and rotate 270 degrees
  -trim                trim image edges
  -type type           image type
  -unique-colors       discard all but one of any pixel color
  -unsharp geometry    sharpen the image
  -vignette geometry   soften the edges of the image in vignette style
  -wave geometry       alter an image along a sine wave
  -white-threshold value
                       force all pixels above the threshold into white

Image Sequence Operators:
  -append              append an image sequence
  -clut                apply a color lookup table to the image
  -coalesce            merge a sequence of images
  -combine             combine a sequence of images
  -compare             mathematically and visually annotate the difference between an image and its reconstruction
  -complex operator    perform complex mathematics on an image sequence
  -composite           composite image
  -crop geometry       cut out a rectangular region of the image
  -deconstruct         break down an image sequence into constituent parts
  -evaluate-sequence operator
                       evaluate an arithmetic, relational, or logical expression
  -flatten             flatten a sequence of images
  -fx expression       apply mathematical expression to an image channel(s)
  -hald-clut           apply a Hald color lookup table to the image
  -layers method       optimize, merge, or compare image layers
  -morph value         morph an image sequence
  -mosaic              create a mosaic from an image sequence
  -poly terms          build a polynomial from the image sequence and the corresponding
                       terms (coefficients and degree pairs).
  -print string        interpret string and print to console
  -process arguments   process the image with a custom image filter
  -separate            separate an image channel into a grayscale image
  -smush geometry      smush an image sequence together
  -write filename      write images to this file

Image Stack Operators:
  -clone indexes       clone an image
  -delete indexes      delete the image from the image sequence
  -duplicate count,indexes
                       duplicate an image one or more times
  -insert index        insert last image into the image sequence
  -reverse             reverse image sequence
  -swap indexes        swap two images in the image sequence

Miscellaneous Options:
  -debug events        display copious debugging information
  -distribute-cache port
                       distributed pixel cache spanning one or more servers
  -help                print program options
  -list type           print a list of supported option arguments
  -log format          format of debugging information
  -version             print version information

By default, the image format of `file' is determined by its magic
number.  To specify a particular image format, precede the filename
with an image format name and a colon (i.e. ps:image) or specify the
image type as the filename suffix (i.e. image.ps).  Specify 'file' as
'-' for standard input or output.

I usually use this command:

convert -fuzz 4% -delay 1×30 input2*.jpg -coalesce -layers OptimizeTransparency outputanimacio.gif

Where:
convert Is the imagemagick program doing the job. On my computer this is located at: C:Program FilesImageMagick-6.8.8-Q8convert.exe  .
-fuzz 4% This tells the program to do some compression: within a 4% boundary treat colors as the same. Huge gifs are nonsense.
-delay 1×30 This gives the speed of the animation in frames/sec. Rendering large images can be expensive in terms of processing power, so browsers might limit this number to what a human can see: about 25 or 30 frames/sec. Coincidentally, 30fps is the  speed at which my webcam recorded Saturn.
input2*.jpg These are the input frames. I put them here to save the trouble of giving a long path as an argument in the command line. I will relocate them when I am done.
-coalesce Necessary for the animation to be fluid.
-layers OptimizeTransparency Some times useful, some times not. When it helps it reduces filesize by keeping pixels from the previous frames.
outputanimacio.gif The output file in the folder I created for this purpose.

So my goal was to show how bad the seeing was on July 19th 2013 when I imaged Saturn.

A videó: ilyen volt a légkör, ennyire kevés a fény

Little light, unsteady air

The Analemma of Kolozsvár city:
kolozsvari_analemma_animgif

About the frontend

A program az asztalomon a Nagyvárad-Félixfürdő vasútvonallal a hátterében :)

The frontend on my desktop. The rails in the pavement are those used to link Nagyvárad to Félixfürdő :)

Now imagine I got bored typing all the commands. There may be (somewhere in plain sight or buried deep within an obscure linux forum) frontends that do all this, but I gave up looking. I wrote my own. It provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to receive the user input. Be it photos from a camera or a short video clip. Then it copies the input files to temporary folders to process them and feed them to the ImageMagick with all the necessary scripting. I used Lazarus (Delphi clone) to keep the program absolutely free. I didn’t give the program a proper name or a version :P The exe is called animgif for it cannot be called unnamedfile-01.exe and the version number is the date and time I compiled it and uploaded the zip file to the server (animgif frontend zip date 2017-10-15T02:01:01+03:00). Tested it under Win32 XP and 7. You can download it from this link: http://csillagtura.ro/wp-content/uploads/animgiffrontend.zip . It is absolutely free, but a thank you email patting me on the shoulder would be nice :)

 

Jupiter, the Moon and the Sun superimposed to show sizes

Jupiter, the Moon and the Sun superimposed to show sizes

I imaged the supernova in M82

I imaged the supernova in M82

Transit of Venus as I imaged it in 2012

Transit of Venus as I imaged it in 2012

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

Clouds near Csíkszereda, Székely Land

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "rotating" Sun created from the SOHO archive

The "rotating" Sun created from the SOHO archive

Stick-Pygmalion

Stick-Pygmalion

A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods

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