I want to digitize my old family albums using a scanner and there are lots of photos in them. Thus far, my method has been to scan 4 images at a time and then manually cropping them in a simple editor like Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery. This has been pretty time consuming as each scan is followed by 4 crop operations. Scanning each image individually would possibly be even more time consuming.

Is there any software or simple plugin (preferably free) that does this job? The best solution I have found is in Photoshop, but that's an overkill. Is there a similar feature for one of the free photo editors like Paint.NET or GIMP?

  • There is a similar question - photo.stackexchange.com/q/5192/1977 - but that deals with more with equipment & external lab solutions – ab.aditya Nov 5 '11 at 4:59
  • I wouldn't underestimate Photoshop's usefulness... It has incredible batch capabilities for what you're talking about, but also has an impressive set of other useful tools for photo manipulation. Even an older+student license (which would be much cheaper) would be an asset in any image tinkerers hands. – Jane Panda Nov 8 '11 at 14:47

12 Answers 12

If you don't know the crop boundary then you can use Fred Weinhaus's multicrop script (this script also uses Imagemagick). The script also handles different photo sizes and rotated images.

Example (book covers):

Scanned image (input.tiff):

original scanned image

multicrop input.tiff output.tiff

Result:

output-0.tiff:

enter image description here

output-1.tiff:

enter image description here

  • I gave this a shot (had to install cygwin with bc on my Win 7 laptop to run the script), but I end up with the error ")syntax error: invalid arithmetic operator (error token is " on any file I run it on. I've tried it on different files & types with no luck – ab.aditya Nov 6 '11 at 9:34
  • I don't have much experience with Imagemagik. How do we use this script? – Steven M. Vascellaro Aug 9 '17 at 18:37

Is it a safe assumption that you know the crop boundary and image size for complete batch? If that is the case then you can use convert tool from Imagemagick.

Something like:

convert orig_file.jpg -crop <w>x<h>+0+0 1.jpg
convert orig_file.jpg -crop <w>x<h>+0+<h> 2.jpg
convert orig_file.jpg -crop <w>x<h>+<w>+0 3.jpg
convert orig_file.jpg -crop <w>x<h>+<w>+<h> 4.jpg

Where <w> is original_image_width / 4 and <h> is original_image_height / 4

More crop usage with convert.

  • 2
    And if you don't know exactly but can get it close, look at ImageMagick's trim to remove the remaining border. – mattdm Nov 5 '11 at 14:24
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I stumbled upon a GIMP script called Divide Scanned Images that worked pretty well for me. It has an input interface and even supports batch processing of files. It's not entirely foolproof, and you may need to adjust the "Abort Limit" and\or "Background Sample Corner" settings to get the script to work properly.

I had tried the ImageMagick multicrop script without much luck, and it may be due to the fact that I'm trying to use the software on Windows with cygwin.

  • The problem with this one is all bets off if you want to keep your tif's 16bit, it doesnt support that. – blamb Oct 20 '16 at 6:47

Its not free, but VueScan is one of the best pieces of scanner software around. Its been in business for a long time, and the software is the most feature rich I have used. It has a multi-crop mode where you can set multiple crops on a single scan. Your trick is to get the photos in the same place each time.

  • Im not sure, but i believe it runs a pass for each scan, so 9 minutes on a 3 pass for a bed of 4 pics, turns into 36 mins, one for each image. so i need a solution that doesnt multiply scanning times. – blamb Oct 20 '16 at 6:49
  • Ok i stand corrected, i have used the hell out of the cropping features and hands down the best one to use for rectangular non overlapping photos is to put them in the same place(or not, but saves time), use MF mode, but preview and finetune the crop on each bed of image before each run, takes about 20 secs, then the pass is only about 9 minutes TOTAL on my HP7410, using 2 pass 600 dpi four 4x6 images. This is great piece of equipment. – blamb Oct 25 '16 at 22:29

After having to Google this issue myself, I decided to write some instructions on how to do this with either Adobe Photoshop (if you already have that), or with GIMP (for free). GIMP turned out to work better in my case. Complete easy-to-follow instructions can be found here: http://wp.me/p1YGyn-s9

Check out AutoSplitter at http://autosplitter.com/ It does just that. Divides, splits, deskews automatically. You can also adjust the cropping/rotating parameters if you want.

  • Sounded good, but cant control quality of output, i want to keep the 64bit RGBI – blamb Oct 20 '16 at 6:59

For anyone else coming across this question and going down the GIMP + scripts path (like me)...

Check the software that came with your scanner!

I was all ready to run the post-processing scripts only to discover that my scanner's crappy software (the MP Navigator EX that comes with my Pixma MG5200) already broke up my multiple scan image into separate pictures. Surprising, and saved me an extra step.

So do a scan first, and see what happens.

Absolutely free, very light, and powerfull for simple (and sometimes more complex) tasks : IrfanView

Try PicaJet FX - it's optimized for scanning and cropping multiple images at once. Thanks to 3D acceleration support for the basic operations like image cropping and rotation are very fast.

http://picajet.com

PicaJet FX is a product of our company.

ScanSpeeder will scan multiple photos and automatically crop them into separate photos.

I have this problem myself. The best thing, so for me, was to open the pictures in Adobe Acrobat in one file, and use the crop feature and expand that to each page. I then export them, or save as pics (tiffs). My only problem is having to rotate them. I am going to see what Adobe Lightroom can do for me.

I think this is what you are looking for

http://francoismalan.com/2013/01/how-to-batch-separate-crop-multiple-scanned-photos/image-editor

This page includes instructions for splitting photos with Photoshop, and also offers a free plugin for Gimp to do the same. From the page:

In this post I’ll show you two ways in which you can automatically split a (collection of) scanned pages, each containing several photos, into individual image files. My experience is that for this GIMP works better than Photoshop, and as an added bonus: it’s free!

  • Yay old threads. – Linuxmint Dec 2 '13 at 5:13

protected by John Cavan Sep 8 '14 at 10:19

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