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ImageMagick Tricks: Web Image Effects from the Command Line and PHP [Paperback]

Sohail Salehi
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Jun 2006 1904811868 978-1904811862
Unleash the power of ImageMagick with this fast, friendly guide. It's packed with examples of photo manipulations, logo creation, animations, and complete web projects. With this book up your sleeve, you'll be creating spellbinding images from code in no time. ImageMagick is a free software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images using text-based commands. The commands can be issued from the command line, but more often will be included in web or desktop applications - carrying out complex image-manipulation tasks in response to the user's input. ImageMagick is a popular way for generating images on-the-fly in web pages, whether it's generating thumbnails from a large image, or creating complex combinations of images, text, and effects chosen by a visitor or the web site's creator. Sohail Salehi is an experienced computer graphics artist, working with 2D, 3D, and video graphics. The book shows his techniques in action. This is no laborious walk through of ImageMagick, with one dull example after another. The chapters consist of workshops, each one applying a set of ImageMagick commands to produce surprising and exciting results. As you read the book, you will learn the features of ImageMagick as well as getting lots of inspiration and ideas for how you can use it in your own projects. You'll be amazed by the creative results you can achieve using code.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (8 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904811868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904811862
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,949,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Sohail Salehi was born in Mashad, Iran in March 17, 1975. He graduated in Software Engineering from Mashad University in 2000. In recent years, Sohail has contributed to over 20 books, mainly in programming and computer graphics. He has written frequent articles for "0 & 1 Magazine"; an IT magazine from Ferdowsi University. You can find a complete list of his works at In the past he has worked as a Chairman in the IT department of various universities including Mashad, Ferdowsi, and the Industrial Management University. Currently he is working on the IT training standards for the Iranian "Work and Science Organisation" 2005-2006 period.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 22 Oct 2006
I had hoped that this book would cover use of ImageMagick through the MagickWand PHP API, as the title might suggest. In fact the book (on page 10) states very clearly that this API is covered within its pages;

"PerlMagick, MagickWand, Magick++ and MagickWand for PHP are the interfaces covered in this book".

On page 12 we have;

"The programming interfaces that we are going to study in this book are PerlMagick, MagickWand, Magick++ and MagickWand for PHP"

However, this is not the case at all. No such interfaces are even mentioned. All the examples given use the PHP exec() function, which is not an option for serious PHP developers, and is definately not an API. Mr Salehi either thinks that passing an ImageMagick command to PHP exec() is one of these APIs, or the book has not been properly proofed. It is quite annoying and clearly a cockup by the author and/or publisher.

I think that the title of the book is completely misleading and I cannot recommend it if you are looking for information on the MagickWand PHP API. If you just want a noddy web app showing your holiday snaps then maybe this might be useful. If you are a pro web developer then avoid it.

Some information is useful but it is often let down by the poor quality monochrome images. There are no colour pictures at all in this book, making some sections hard to fugure out (such as the section on mattes).

This book may be useful for ImageMagick newbies with no programming experience, but for developers looking to integrate IM into a PHP application (and who might be tempted by the book's title) I would not recommend it at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful referance book 17 Oct 2006
This book starts of explaing how to install ImageMagick on different

platforms and then goes through how to use Imagemagick with practicle


The book is mainly made up of examples without lengthy sections of text

going off the subject. The examples cover, graphics, animation and photos

and give you loads of ideas for different things you can do with ImageMagick

and there are also lots of titbits of useful information to be found in the


I use ImageMagick with php and there are 3 chapters showing examples of how

it can be used and they include watermarking photos & ecards.

It is quite simple to use the other examples in your php code as well.

The pictures in the book are in black and white but you can download a pdf

file with the images in colour from the Packt website along with the code

examples used in the book.

There are some small typing errors in the example code although once you see

how ImageMagick works it is quite simple to see what is wrong. The php code

also contains some errors and the examples I tried I could not get to work.

I have spoken to Packt about this and they are looking into it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Its a clever title... 15 Feb 2007
By Titus Purdin - Published on
This is a *really* bad book. It fails on several levels. The organization is bad. It is poorly written. It is incomplete. It includes almost no explanitory material. Oh, did I mention that the color examples are in black and white?

(1) Image Magick is large and complex. That is where a good book could win over the on-line documentation. The on-line documentation is really useful---if you already know what you are looking for. But it makes it difficult to move beyond what you already understand. The first thing an Image Magick book is going to do is provide some structure to the myriad nooks and crannies of the product. This book doesn't even begin to do that.

(2) The text of this book is brief, chatty and, in many places, downright ungrammatical. The essense of the book is chapter after chapter of "here is a

command line instruction; this is what it produces." One might browse the book in hopes of finding a command line that does (or does within epsilon) what they want to do. But the book will not lead them to a solution or an understanding of a solution.

The book is chatty to the point of pain: "You may ask if there is any solution to affect a specific location with any of these filters."

(3) I solved all of my Image Magick problems (and gained some insight into the tool) through the on-line documentation. It took some time. I read this book and I found

that most of those solutions weren't even touched on in the book. Where is the OReilly book on Image Magick?

(4) Far too many sentences begin with the phrase, "As you can see from the given command line" or something similar. When, in fact, it is not clear at all from the given command line. And there is a dirth of attendant explanatory bulk. There is so much material in Image Magick and this book is pitiously thin, both in size and content.

(5) Hopefully, there are on-line versions of the example outputs from the book. If they exist, they are not easy to find. I didn't find them. The greyed out images in the book leave a lot (okay, everything) to the imagination.

Very, very disappointing.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only Trick is getting you to pay $$ for this book 2 April 2007
By Code Girl - Published on
I read the other reviews on this book and should have listen.

I bought the book to help me with using imagemagick within PHP. (I didn't test the command line stuff as I wanted to use imagemagick in php applications).

Anyway, i downloaded the sample applications from the website they give in the book. NONE... I REPEAT NONE... of the applications worked flawlessly. They either had errors or didn't display anything on the screen. I tried the examples in Chapter 8.

I had to add $ to variables that were missing them. When i finally fixed all the errors for their "confirmation box" script the screen is blank. I added code to display back to me "what the variables were holding" and i can see that the "characters" are being generated but... they are just "not displaying on the screen". I tend believe that's because there's not code written to make it do that. We... have to do that ourselves but... they don't tell you that in the beginning. They display a box saying "type the characters you see..." so naturally i expect to see that. But not so.

I tried the other 2 scripts in chapter 8 (the watermark one) again nothing but a blank screen. The ecard works somewhat but no text is displayed on the image like it shows in the book. further investigation shows that they are "NOT" even getting to step #2 which contains all the Imagemagick code. I try pointing the ecard7.htm to step #2 and then find there are errors in the script. I fix them and i get to another script that also has errors msg.

All said i gave up trying to get these applications to work. It's clear these scripts are "NOT COMPLETE" and are "heavily filled with errors.

All said i could go on but simply put the code came directly from their site so it's no excuse why the code is filled with "errors" such as $ missing from in front of variables.

As i said... the tricks are that you have been "encouraged" to buy this book. They don't give complete examples, it seems you are expected to "add stuff" to their code. But... they don't tell you that you have too. I think this book was rushed to press (they may have been running behind on the deadline and figured something is better than nothing). But they should have waited as the only enjoyable part of this book is looking at the cover. The contents inside (with regards the parts dealing with using Imagemagic with PHP) are not complete.

I finally gave up on this book and went online, did some searching on google and found some tutorials to help me with what i needed to accomplish. This book helped me "0%". It was a complete waste of money.

Save your $$, check it out at your local library or visit a bookstore and look inside "BEFORE" purchasing as this book in my opinion is NOT worth 34.99+

Very, Very, Very disappointed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this book 16 Aug 2013
By dimstar - Published on
Don't make the mistake I have. This book is awful. If you're trying to learn new software it is imperative that you learn from a source that provides examples that are correct and functional.

I found that the example command-line references were mostly wrong. The arguments were written with incorrect values. The options for the various ImageMagick utilities were incorrectly written. Example: on chapter three "How to Draw Basic Shapes with Convert" contained options without any preceding dashes ("size" instead of the correct option "-size") which is necessary for the command to execute successfully.

The book is a lemon. Don't waste your time.
11 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to use command line utilities with ImageMagick 11 Sep 2006
By Diane Cipollo - Published on
ImageMagick is a command-line image processing system from ImageMagick Studio, LLC. It is used by websites for dynamic processing and displaying images. If the number of images on your site is not too large, you will probably process the images in a graphics program such as Photoshop and display the images on your site using HTML and CSS. Although it is mostly used by websites with huge numbers of images, another option is to use a command-line system such as ImageMagick to process and display your images on the fly. For example, the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia uses ImageMagick's command-line utilities for their imaging needs.

In this book, Sohail Salehi teaches what ImageMagick is and how to do some nice tricks with it. There are many small workshop exercises throughout the book that reinforce what you have learned. Salehi begins with an introduction and then walks you through installing and configuring ImageMagic on your system. Next, he covers the basic command-line utilities ranging from the simple resizing and formatting of images to applying special effects, watermarks and creating animation all from text-based commands.

I found the second half of the book to be the most useful. It presents several web applications using ImageMagick and PHP. The first was a confirmation-code box. You have probably encountered one of these when you opened an account on the web. It is that little box containing a mystery code of numbers and letters and you must enter this code in the web form to prove that you are a real person filling out the form and not a web robot. Salehi shows you how to use ImageMagick and PHP to generate the mystery code and display it in the web form. Another application that I really liked was a three-step process for a customizable e-card application which uses ImageMagick utilities to create the thumbnail and gallery images for an HTML-based web gallery. He also shows you how to use ImageMagick to dynamically customize the e-cards with text and graphics based on user input.

Sohail Salehi has contributed to over twenty books and many articles related to graphics and programming.
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