Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Developing MobyCAIRO

May 25th, 2021 by Multimedia Mike

I recently published a tool called MobyCAIRO. The ‘CAIRO’ part stands for Computer-Assisted Image ROtation, while the ‘Moby’ prefix refers to its role in helping process artifact image scans to submit to the MobyGames database. The tool is meant to provide an accelerated workflow for rotating and cropping image scans. It works on both Windows and Linux. Hopefully, it can solve similar workflow problems for other people.

As of this writing, MobyCAIRO has not been tested on Mac OS X yet– I expect some issues there that should be easily solvable if someone cares to test it.

The rest of this post describes my motivations and how I arrived at the solution.

I have scanned well in excess of 2100 images for MobyGames and other purposes in the past 16 years or so. The workflow looks like this:

Workflow diagram

Image workflow

It should be noted that my original workflow featured me manually rotating the artifact on the scanner bed in order to ensure straightness, because I guess I thought that rotate functions in image editing programs constituted dark, unholy magic or something. So my workflow used to be even more arduous:

Longer workflow diagram

I can’t believe I had the patience to do this for hundreds of scans

Sometime last year, I was sitting down to perform some more scanning and found myself dreading the oncoming tedium of straightening and cropping the images. This prompted a pivotal question:

Why can’t a computer do this for me?

After all, I have always been a huge proponent of making computers handle the most tedious, repetitive, mind-numbing, and error-prone tasks. So I did some web searching to find if there were any solutions that dealt with this. I also consulted with some like-minded folks who have to cope with the same tedious workflow.

I  came up empty-handed. So I endeavored to develop my own solution.

Problem Statement and Prior Work
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