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Linux Multimedia Hacks by Kyle Rankin

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Hack #10. Create a Slideshow

Use Kuickshow or gThumb to turn a directory of photos into a slideshow.

For just about every vacation, there is a vacation slide presentation. After all, most people don't just take vacation pictures for themselves, they take them for their friends and family to see as well. In the past, to set up a slide presentation you had to take your film to get developed into slides, and then arrange them into your slide projector. Today with a digital camera, you can quickly, easily, and inexpensively set up a slideshow with open source tools.

There are a number of open source slideshow tools, but for the purposes of this hack I discuss two: KuickShow and gThumb. These slideshow programs are parts of the GNOME and KDE desktop environments respectively, but you can run them on either environment. In addition, one of the programs most likely will be prepackaged by most major Linux distributions.

KuickShow is a simple slideshow program for KDE. You can launch it from the Graphics programs menu for your desktop environment, or you can type kuickshow from the command line. The KuickShow interface is relatively simple. The toolbar along the top provides you with file system navigation tools and buttons to launch the slideshow and configure KuickShow itself (see Figure 1-4). The main section of the window along the bottom is a basic file system browser that lets you navigate to the section of the file system containing your images. Navigate to your images directory and then click the Start Slideshow icon on the toolbar, click File → Start Slideshow, or hit F2 to start your slideshow. KuickShow will display the images one by one, with a delay between images. Hit Esc to exit the slideshow.

KuickShow is pretty configurable. Click Settings → Configure KuickShow to open the configuration window. Here you can configure the background color that displays behind images, apply brightness, contrast, and gamma adjustments, toggle whether to switch to full screen, configure the delay between slides, and change the default key bindings.

gThumb is a GTK application that is more photo management program than slideshow tool. Select gThumb from the Graphics programs menu for your desktop environment or type gthumb at the command line. The gThumb interface is split into three main sections and a toolbar (see Figure 1-5). The toolbar gives you quick access to common gThumb functions. The rest of the interface is split up into panes that display directory information, individual image previews, and thumbnails of all of the images in the current directory. The layout of these three panes can be configured within the gThumb preferences page.

Default KuickShow window

Figure 1-4. Default KuickShow window

Browse to the directory that contains your slideshow photos to see thumbnails of the images. Click on any individual thumbnail to make a larger version appear in the preview pane, and double-click to switch to a single-paned window displaying an even larger version of your image. Right click an image to access a number of options, including the ability to open the image with another tool such as the GIMP. You don't necessarily have to resort to a tool like the GIMP just to rotate the images, though, because gThumb supports 90-, 180-, and 270-degree rotation as well as the ability to flip the image horizontally or vertically. This makes it easy to ensure that all of your images have the proper orientation before you start the slideshow.

To start the slideshow, click the Slideshow button on the toolbar, choose View → Slideshow, or types. gThumb will display each image and pause for a few seconds before it moves to the next image. When the slideshow is finished gThumb will return to the folder view, or you can hit Esc during the slideshow to do so immediately.

Default gThumb window

Figure 1-5. Default gThumb window

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