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Image application performance optimization

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20120290930 patent thumbnailZoom

Image application performance optimization


Some embodiments provide a method that from a source external to a device, imports a first image and a lower resolution second image that corresponds to the first image into the device. The method assigns the second image as a temporary preview of the first image. The method generates a preview third image for the first image. In some embodiments, the method further selects the first image for display before generating the preview third image. The selecting causes the temporary preview image to be displayed as a preview of the first image. In some embodiments, the method further selects the first image for display after generating the preview third image. The selecting causes the preview third image to be displayed as a preview of the first image.

Inventors: Nikhil Bhatt, Alex Wallace, Cart Bianchi, Mark Kawano, Greg Gilley
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120290930 - Class: 715273 (USPTO) - 11/15/12 - Class 715 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120290930, Image application performance optimization.

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CLAIM OF BENEFIT TO PRIOR APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application, entitled “Image Application Performance Optimization,” filed Feb. 11, 2008 with attorney docket number APLE.P0120. U.S. Provisional Application with attorney docket number APLE.P0120 was originally filed as a Non-Provisional U.S. Application and was assigned application Ser. No. 12/029,462. One Jun. 12, 2008, a petition was filed to convert U.S. application Ser. No. 12/029,462 to a Provisional Application. The contents of U.S. Provisional Application with attorney docket number APLE.P0120 are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to image processing tools and in particular to preview of images prior to editing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Image processing applications are tools that allow management of digital images. Image processing applications allow a user to import digital images, perform photo edits, adjust and retouch images, publish images on the web or in print, export images, and back up the images. After a group of images are imported, a user often sorts through the images to choose the images that the user wants to work with and further adjust.

One desirable feature of an image processing application is to provide high-resolution previews to allow a user to review, rate, and organize the images. Many of today's digital images are, however, very large, resulting in long delays when a user is previewing high resolution images. There is, therefore, a need in the art for an image processing application to provide quick preview of high resolution images without causing long delays when loading high-resolution images for preview.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Some embodiments provide an image editing application that allows users to quickly preview images and to edit images. In some embodiments, the image editing application provides one or more tools for organizing images. The image editing application also provides a display area for displaying a selected image. It also provides at least one tool for editing the images that are displayed in the display area.

The image-editing application further provides a quick preview tool for foregoing the loading of a particular image in the display area after the particular image has been selected. Specifically, for each particular image, the image-editing application maintains or generates a preview image. In place of a particular image, the quick preview tool when selected causes the image editing application to only load the preview image of the particular image for full or partial display in the display area. When the quick preview tool is not selected, the image editing application loads each image in its entirety for full or partial display in the display area.

The quick preview tool allows users to speed up the image editing process. This is because a user can activate the quick preview tool to load and review images quickly in the display area when the user does not need to make any edits to the images, while deactivating the quick preview tool to load images in their entirety when the user wishes to view them in their entirety. A user might wish to view an image instead of its preview in the display area because the user wishes to edit the image and the editing application of some embodiments allows a user to specify image modifications to only the actual images and not their previews.

Because the image editing application of some embodiments does not allow a user to specify image modifications when viewing preview images in the display area, the editing application of some of these embodiments makes the editing tools not accessible to a user when the quick preview tool has been selected. This provides notification to the user that the quick preview tool has been selected. Instead of or in conjunction with this notification, the image editing application of some embodiments provides other indications of the selection of the quick preview tool. Examples of such indications include placing a mark (e.g., a “Quick Preview” mark) on the display area, placing a mark (e.g., a “P”) on the image, highlighting or otherwise marking a selected thumbnail of the image that is being previewed, etc.

While the editing application of some embodiments does not allow a user to specify image modifications when the quick preview tool has been activated, the editing application of other embodiments can allow a user to specify such modifications while providing quick previews. Moreover, even some embodiments that do not allow modifications during quick preview, do allow a user to exit quick preview by selecting all or some of the editing tools. These embodiments do not make the editing tools inaccessible during quick preview.

For instance, the image editing application of some embodiments provides an automated way of exiting quick preview by detecting that the user wants to perform operations (e.g., edit operations) that would require the actual image to be loaded in the display area. Some of these embodiments not only have the editing application exit quick preview in an automated way, but also have the application enter quick preview in an automated way. For instance, in some embodiments, the application exits quick preview when the user selects a cropping tool for an image, but automatically re-enter quick preview after the user is done editing the image (e.g., when selecting a non-editing tool).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, for purpose of explanation, several embodiments are set forth in the following figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a user interface of an image-editing application of some embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates an image displayed in some embodiments after a control is selected to display the image in full size.

FIG. 3 illustrates a quick preview image displayed when quick preview is enabled in some embodiments.

FIG. 4 illustrates several ways of enabling and disabling quick preview in some embodiments.

FIG. 5 illustrates a master image displayed when quick preview is turned off in some embodiments.

FIG. 6 illustrates an image that is being loaded for display in the image display area of some embodiments when the quick preview is turned off.

FIG. 7 illustrates the same image of FIG. 6 after being loaded.

FIG. 8 illustrates an image that is displayed in quick preview mode in some embodiments.

FIG. 9 illustrates a master image in some embodiments with a visual cue placed on it to indicate that a master image is currently displayed.

FIG. 10 illustrates a master image and a menu displayed on full screen when the quick preview is disabled in some embodiments.

FIG. 11 illustrates the image of FIG. 10 when the quick preview is enabled.

FIG. 12 illustrates a quick preview image displayed on full screen with a visual cue to indicate that the quick preview is on in some embodiments.

FIG. 13 illustrates several quick preview images displayed in the image display area of some embodiments.

FIG. 14 illustrates controls and tools in some embodiments for a user to select and stack images, add keywords or change other metadata associated with the image when the quick preview is enabled.

FIG. 15 illustrates an image-editing application that provides options to select a set of preferences in some embodiments.

FIG. 16 illustrates a set of preferences provided for previews in some embodiments.

FIG. 17 illustrates examples of several options that are provided for the resolution (or size) of the preview images in some embodiments.

FIG. 18 illustrates an image displayed at full size when quick preview is active in some embodiments.

FIG. 19 illustrates an image displayed at full size when quick preview is not active in some embodiments.

FIG. 20 illustrates a loupe tool and a master image scaled to fit the size of the display area in some embodiments.

FIG. 21 illustrates a selected area of the image in FIG. 20 displayed to 100% the size of the same area of a full size master image.

FIG. 22 illustrates a loupe tool and a scaled to fit image with quick preview activated in some embodiments.

FIG. 23 illustrates the magnified area of the image of FIG. 22 in some embodiments.

FIG. 24 illustrates an image displayed in full size with quick preview activated in some embodiments.

FIG. 25 illustrates an image displayed in full size with quick preview not activated in some embodiments.

FIG. 26 illustrates a loupe that is set to enlarge to 200% of the mater size in some embodiments.

FIG. 27 conceptually illustrates a process for performing quick preview in some embodiments.

FIG. 28 conceptually illustrates a process for generating the quick preview after the master image is edited in some embodiments.

FIG. 29 conceptually illustrates a process for generating the quick preview in some embodiments.

FIG. 30 conceptually illustrates a process that is used to import an image into the image-editing application of some embodiments.

FIG. 31 illustrates an exemplary scenario where two different images might have corresponding quick preview image of different sizes in some embodiments.

FIG. 32 conceptually illustrates an image importing tool of some embodiments.

FIG. 33 illustrates a process for zooming a displayed image in some embodiments.

FIG. 34 conceptually illustrates a process that allows editing of an image when the quick preview is activated in some embodiments.

FIG. 35 conceptually illustrates a computer system with which some embodiments of the invention are implemented.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, numerous details are set forth for the purpose of explanation. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will realize that the invention may be practiced without the use of these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order not to obscure the description of the invention with unnecessary detail.

I. Overview

Some embodiments provide an image editing application that allows users to quickly preview images and to edit images. In some embodiments, the image editing application provides one or more tools for organizing images. The image editing application also provides a display area for displaying a selected image. It also provides at least one tool for editing the images that are displayed in the display area.

The image-editing application further provides a quick preview tool for foregoing the loading of a particular image in the display area after the particular image has been selected. Specifically, for each particular image, the image-editing application maintains or generates a preview image. In place of a particular image, the quick preview tool when selected causes the image editing application to only load the preview image of the particular image for full or partial display in the display area. When the quick preview tool is not selected, the image editing application loads each image in its entirety for full or partial display in the display area. The quick preview tool allows users to speed up the image editing process. This is because a user can activate the quick preview tool to load and review images quickly in the display area when the user does not need to make any edits to the images, while deactivating the quick preview tool to load images in their entirety when the user wishes to view them in their entirety. A user might wish to view an image instead of its preview in the display area because the user wishes to edit the image and the editing application of some embodiments allows a user to specify image modifications to only the actual images and not their previews.

Because the image editing application of some embodiments does not allow a user to specify image modifications when viewing preview images in the display area, the editing application of some of these embodiments makes the editing tools not accessible to a user when the quick preview tool has been selected. This provides notification to the user that the quick preview tool has been selected. Instead of or in conjunction with this notification, the image editing application of some embodiments provides other indications of the selection of the quick preview tool. Examples of such indications include placing a mark (e.g., a “Quick Preview” mark) on the display area, placing a mark (e.g., a “P”) on the image, highlighting or otherwise marking a selected thumbnail of the image that is being previewed, etc.

While the editing application of some embodiments does not allow a user to specify image modifications when the quick preview tool has been activated, the editing application of other embodiments can allow a user to specify such modifications while providing quick previews. Moreover, even some embodiments that do not allow modifications during quick preview, do allow a user to exit quick preview by selecting all or some of the editing tools. These embodiments do not make the editing tools inaccessible during quick preview.

For instance, the image editing application of some embodiments provides an automated way of exiting quick preview by detecting that the user wants to perform operations (e.g., edit operations) that would require the actual image to be loaded in the display area. Some of these embodiments not only have the editing application exit quick preview in an automated way, but also have the application enter quick preview in an automated way. For instance, in some embodiments, the application exits quick preview when the user selects a cropping tool for an image, but automatically re-enters quick preview after the user has performed the crop operation on the image (e.g., when selecting a non-editing tool).

The quick preview tool of some embodiments can be incorporated into any image editing application by way of a plug-in, applet, or direct function incorporated within the application itself. Accordingly, different image editing applications, such as Apple Aperture®, Apple iPhoto®, Adobe Photoshop®, and Adobe Lightroom®, may implement the quick preview tool described herein.

Such image editing applications typically have several additional functionalities in addition to editing functionalities. For instance, in some embodiments, such an application provides a set of tools for (1) organizing images into different collections of images (e.g., different digital photo albums), (2) organizing the images by tagging images with informative keywords, (3) organizing the images by marking selected images as favorites, (4) organizing the images by rating each image, etc. The image editing application can also organize the images and publish the images on the World Wide Web, or publish the images as individual image prints. The application can also organize the images into a “photo book” of images that are sent over a network in order to publish a custom photo book, where each photo book has several pages that have one or more picture fields for presenting pictures. Different photo books can differ in their size, themes, covers, page designs, page colors, picture-field designs, picture-field layouts, and/or other attributes. In some embodiments, a user can modify the page design, color, frame design, and/or other thematic aspects of a selected photo books.

In addition to stand-alone image editing applications, the quick preview tool of some embodiments can be incorporated within the functionality of an operating system such as Microsoft Windows® or Apple Mac OS®. Specifically, the quick preview tool of some embodiments can be a tool that is selectable from any folder that access files within the file system of the operating system. The quick preview tool can also be incorporated into a portable device such as a digital cameras, iPod®, mobile phone, etc.

Several more detailed embodiments of the invention are described in sections below. Specifically, Section II describes quick preview images and master images of some embodiments of the invention. Next, Section III describes different features of quick preview tool of some embodiment. Section IV then describes the quick preview processes of some embodiments. Finally, Section V provides a description of a computer system with which some embodiments of the invention are implemented.

Ii. Quick Preview and Master Images

A. Master Image

Some embodiments provide a nondestructive method of managing and editing images. In these embodiments, the master images are not modified during image modifications. Instead, versions of master images are created whenever changes are made to the images (such as image adjustments or changes to associated metadata). In some embodiments, these versions might be organized into albums. In some embodiments different projects can be created to include digital master files, versions, and albums.

A master image is an original digitized image. A master image might be imported into the image-editing application from camera, memory card, computer, storage, etc. A master image is often a raw image file (also referred to as RAW image file) which includes minimally processed data from the image sensor of a digital camera or an image scanner. The raw files are not processed and cannot be edited with a graphics editor. Instead, the raw file has to be converted to an RGB format such as JPEG or TIFF for editing, storage, or printing. Usually, this conversion involves precise corrections to preserve the colors of the image within a color space for a particular output device. Such corrections might involve corrections, e.g., for exposure and sharpening. Also some raw files represent image pixels as a mosaic of filtered pixel values in red, green, and blue. Converting these raw files to the RGB format requires demosaicing (or interpolation) of these image pixels values to convert the mosaic of filtered pixel values into a full RGB image. Other processing such as noise reduction or color correction is also required for raw files whether or not they are in a mosaic pattern (e.g., a Bayer pattern instead of a mosaic pattern). Also, Foveon sensors are RGB at each sensor location and still require an expensive processing step for noise reduction and color correction. Decoding a raw image could be very time consuming.

Also, any adjustments a user has made on an original need to be applied to the original prior to rendering the image. In some instances, an original may not be in raw format (e.g., when the picture is taken with a camera that generates a JPEG image). Even in these instances, an original image may take a long time to load when there are many adjustments to be made to the image prior to rendering it on the display. While it is typical for a master image to have its adjustments applied when selected, some embodiments pre-fetch a set of candidate master images and apply adjustments to them before they are selected. Some embodiments use a heuristic to determine which image (or images) a user might want to display next and apply user adjustments to these candidate images so that the user does not have to wait each time a new image is selected for display. For instance, in a grid of images presented to the user for selection, the set of candidate images may include one or more of the followings: the next image located horizontally after (i.e., on the right of) the current image, the image located horizontally before the current image, the image located above the current image, or the image located below the current image. The pre-fetch, however, does not help when the user is selecting images for display in a random order or reviewing the images in quick succession. That is why quick preview is essential for improving the performance.

B. Quick Preview Image

1. Faster and Less Resources to Decode

In some embodiments, the quick preview image shown by the quick preview tool is a high resolution image (up to the resolution of the master image) created from the master image. Quick preview images might be compressed (e.g., JPEG images) or not compressed (e.g., TIFF images).

In contrast to a master image that may be in raw format which requires a long time to decode, a quick preview image can be loaded much faster and with less resources because it is already in a format such as JPEG or TIFF format. For instance, in order to be decoded, master images may require many database accesses to inquire about information such as the type of camera used, the raw format supported by the camera, different characteristics of the image, etc. Many corrections might be required to preserve the color of the image. These processes are not required when decoding quick preview images.

2. Includes the Adjustments of the Master Image

In some embodiments, the preview image is a digitized image that includes the adjustments required for the master image. In these embodiments, the quick preview image is a rendered image with all adjustments that the master image has and, therefore, is much faster to load. Also, a quick preview image with a certain size takes the same amount of time each time it is loaded for display as opposed to the original image that takes a varying time (depending on the adjustments it needs) and often takes much longer to load.

3. Size and Compression Quality is User Controllable

In some embodiments, the size and the compression quality of the quick preview images are controlled by the user. These embodiments provide options for a user to determine the size and compression quality of quick preview images. These options provide for a tradeoff between selecting (1) larger size quick preview images which take up more storage space but have more pixels to cover a larger display area and (2) smaller size quick preview images which take less storage space but have fewer pixels. Also, a smaller quick preview image is faster to display. A user in these embodiments is, therefore, provided with an option to tradeoff between savings in time to display versus storage space by changing the size of quick preview images.

Similarly, for the embodiments that use a compressed format such as JPEG (as opposed to uncompressed format such as TIFF), a user can determine the compression quality of the quick preview image. For instance, when a compressed file is generated, the compression quality can be set to maximum to generate larger files and sharper images or the compression quality can be set to lower quality levels to generate images with more artifacts but with smaller file sizes.

4. Ancillary Processing and Display of Some Information is Skipped

In order to display metadata and other information about a master image, many database accesses and calculations are required to properly display the relevant information. For instance, metadata associated with the image such as image date, aperture, shutter speed, exposure bias, ISO speed rating, etc., need to be read from one or more databases, analyzed, and displayed.

In some embodiments, processing of some or all of this information is skipped for quick preview images, while in some other embodiments this information is made available to the user when the quick preview is enabled. Also, some embodiments may provide options for a user to selectively display all, some, or none of this information when the quick preview is enabled. Specifically, the processes that read and analyze image metadata, processes that adjust image metadata, processes that generate statistical information about the image, can be selectively set to skip some or all of their relevant processing for some or all of the image metadata.

One example of information that can be skipped for quick preview images is display of a histogram. Histograms display distribution of pixel values in the image. For instance, a histogram for luminescence may show a curve that depicts different pixel values from black to white. Generation of such a histogram can be very time consuming since every pixel in the master image must be accessed to generate the histogram. Some embodiments skip generation and display of the histograms when the quick preview is enabled. Other embodiments provide an option to selectively skip generation of histograms when quick preview is enabled.

C. Differences Between a Regular Thumbnail and a Quick Preview Image

Like a quick preview image, a regular thumbnail image can be a compressed (such as a JPEG) or not compressed (such as TIFF) representation of the image. However, in some embodiments, a quick preview image is different than a regular thumbnail. For instance, in some embodiments, generation of one or several thumbnails for each image is mandatory while generation of a quick preview is optional.

Also, in some embodiments, the size and the compression quality of the quick preview images are controlled by the user while the size and the compression quality of thumbnails are determined by the image-editing tool. Also the sizes of quick preview images are generally larger than the size of regular thumbnails. For instance, a regular thumbnail may have a size of 32 pixels, 256 pixels, or 1024 pixel while the size of the quick preview images may be larger than 1280 pixels. All pixel sizes or resolutions in this disclosure are given for the long side of the image (i.e., the height of a portrait image or the width of a landscape image). The preview image and the thumbnail images can be viewed as different versions of the master image that have less information than the master image and are used in some embodiments to quickly display the images.

Iii. Quick Preview Features

In some embodiments, the image-editing application provides a quick preview tool for foregoing the loading of a particular image in the display area after the particular image has been selected. Specifically, for each particular image, the image-editing application maintains or generates a preview image of the particular image.

In place of a particular image, the quick preview tool when selected causes the image editing application to only load the preview image of the particular image for full or partial display in the display area. When the quick preview tool is not selected, the image editing application loads each image in its entirety for full or partial display in the display area.

Several features of the quick preview tool of some embodiments will now be described by reference to FIGS. 1-26. These features are features of an image-editing application in some embodiments. Before describing these features, a brief overview of the image-editing application is provided in sub-section A.

A. Image-Editing Application Overview

Some embodiments provide an image editing and/or image management application. For simplicity, this application is referred to as the image editing application. In some embodiments, the image editing application includes a graphical user interface through which a user can view, edit, and manage images.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120290930 A1
Publish Date
11/15/2012
Document #
13473518
File Date
05/16/2012
USPTO Class
715273
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F17/00
Drawings
36


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