I Love Quicksilver’s Image Manipulations
Why would I need this?
You know how it is. You join some website and they can only use avatar images of a certain format, of a certain size, and of a certain dimension (width & height). Or you’re trying to upload an image to a website, only to find out you need to convert that tiff to a png. Or whatever. And you don’t know Photoshop. Or any of those other graphic applications you downloaded, which claim to be so much easier to use than Photoshop.
Gee… I wonder what application could help with this…
How do I …
You know, I thought I knew Quicksilver pretty well, and this is a feature I use a lot, but it turns out there’s more to Quicksilver’s Image Manipulation Plugin than I was aware of. Specifically, I knew I could resize and I knew I could convert from one format to another. I didn’t know you could do both with one command.
You know, Quicksilver was created by Nicholas Jitkoff, aka Alcor. Google snapped him up to work a similiar project for them. Quicksilver languished a bit until other developers stepped in, continuing the great work.
Begin by activating Quicksilver. (If your Quicksilver looks different, note that I’m using Quicksilver’s Nostromo interface. if you like it and want to use it, go to
Preferences > Plugins to find and install. Then go to
Preferences > Appearance to select and customize the interface. Nostromo is one big interface by the way. Click on one of the screenshots below to see its full size.)
The screenshot below is a smaller version of this gorgeous desktop picture on Social Wallpapering. Resizing is a simple affair. First, I need to get the image into Quicksilver‘s first pane. I could navigate to the image file using Quicksilver, but I am going to do something different this time.
First I find the file in Finder and select it. Then, I press
command-escape. This pipes whatever is selected (text, files, etc) into Quicksilver.
Then we press tab to move into Quicksilver‘s second pane. Begin typing
Save Image in Format… until the action appears in the second pane.
Waiting for us in the third pane is a format we can use. You can convert to and from
If I press
enter right now, the image would be converted to a PNG file. Instead, I’m going to tab to the third pane and type
tif and press
And here is one of the things I love about Quicksilver. The new image we created appears in the first pane, ready for us to act on it. We didn’t even have to ask! I can open it and check to make sure it’s what I want. I can copy or move it, label it, etc.
I’m not going to do any of that just now. I want to show you the other image manipulation action.
This time, we’re going to pipe multiple files into Quicksilver by selecting the files and pressing
command-escape to pipe them into Quicksilver. In addition to our original image, we’re going to also add this beauty.
Our first pane looks a little different now, with both items added…
This time, we’re going to use the
Scale Image… action. (Remember that we don’t have remember the exact name of the action. In the example below, I’ve simply typed
image. After a brief delay, Quicksilver reveals actions which apply. You don’t have to wait; you can press the down-arrow key to show the actions.)
Scale Image…, I’m going to press
escape to hide the action menu so we can see what’s in the third pane. As you can see in the screenshot below, Quicksilver gives us some examples. Let’s add some more examples:
55%scales to 55% of original
400 x 200or
400px x 200pxscales an image to 400px wide by 200px high
x350 as bmpscales the image to 350px in height, maintaining the aspect ratio, and saves the result as a BMP file.
fit 100x100 as interlaced pngcreates an interlaced PNG image that will fit within a 100 x 100 rectangle
It also handles converting to low/med/high progressive JPG. Find the full scaling syntax at
Preferences > Plugins > Image Manipulation Plugin. Select that plugin, then click the Plugin Information button (the bottom right button with the question mark).
Wow. So many options. And just one blog post. Let’s scale to Facebook cover photo size (currently 851 x 315). This probably isn’t the same aspect ratio as our original iamges, so our new images will probably stretch a bit.
Quicksilver returns with our new files. It looks similar to how we began, except that Quicksilver renames these new images, adding sequential numbers.
And here are our new cover photos…
Why doesn’t it work on my machine?
Note that in order to use these actions, you need to install the following plugins and you may need to change your Quicksilver preference settings:
- Image Manipulation Plugin