Editing lots of digital photos in a single session is generally a tedious and time-consuming business, as most image editors still assume you’ll only ever want to carry out actions on one picture at a time.
Fortunately there are plenty of third-party batch processing tools around who are trying to fill this functionality gap, and COOLTWEAK is the latest, allowing you to resize, watermark or share multiple images (on Facebook, Picasa and Twitter) directly from the right-click Explorer menu.
At its simplest, the program can be about resizing your images to a specific size which you use all the time – 1024×768 or whatever it might be – and in just a couple of clicks. Resized images are then saved as copies in the program’s own folder, which is probably best for avoiding accidents.
But if you need more control, just choose the general “Resize” option and you’ll find it’s packed with options. So you can enter the width, and height; select your units (pixels, millimetres, inches, percentage, pica, dot, twip); define what happens with photos which don’t fit your chosen aspect ratio; and add conditions to the resize option (don’t resize images if they’re larger than your defined frame, for instance).
This is just the start, though. COOLTWEAK also has a similarly configurable watermarking tool. You can add text or image watermarks to a photo, and are able to control its position, whether it appears once or is repeated, its margins, opacity, rotation and more.
You can send images directly to your Facebook, Picasa or Twitter accounts.
And perhaps most conveniently, if any of the default context menu actions don’t suit your needs then a built-in editor allows you to customise them. If you don’t have a Picasa account, say, delete that menu option and you won’t see it again. If the default “Resize to 700px” or “Resize to 1600px” options aren’t of interest, replace them with actions you’ll actually use. It’s all very configurable.
COOLTWEAK does have one or two issues, though. And the relatively weak previewing was one.
Change settings in the Watermark dialog, for instance, and there’s only a tiny sample image (not one of those you’re using) to give you a general idea of how your photos will look. This won’t use your chosen image, text, colour or opacity. And to get a better idea you have to ask the program to create an image with your settings, then open it in a default viewer: not so convenient.
And the program’s interface is unusual, too, more like a web browser than a regular Windows tool, with large dialogs where you may have to scroll to see all your options.
You soon get used to these quirks, though, and on balance there’s no doubt that COOLTWEAK is an excellent tool: highly configurable, entirely free, and very useful for anyone who could use a little image batch processing help.