The Light table workspace allows the unstructured arranging of photos
as you would have done with slides on a real light table some years
As can be seen in the above example screen shot the layout has no real
structure, you are free to drag and drop photos wherever you please
within the bounds of the screen (they do however snap to a 100x100px
As you can see I've organised a group of photos roughly according to
the subject matter, African animals at the top, frogs and toads lower
down, goannas below them, kangaroos at the bottom etc.
This sort of arrangement would be a typical first pass at sorting some
photos for submittal to a client.
Number of photos allowed
A "light table" can have up to 1000 photos, however it is
not practical to work with that many on a single screen so each screen
is limited to 100 photos.
You can however have 10 screens and for these I use the "stack"
metaphor. That is you can have stacks of up to 100 slides on the side
of the light table and these stacks can be "moved" onto the
light table much as we used to move slide sleeves from the side of the
table to the lit surface.
At the left of the screen can be seen the stacks.
In this case there are only 42 slides being worked with so a single
stack is all that is required.
Clicking on any stack icon will display the photos in that stack in
whatever position they were in last time they were viewed.
This remembering of positions applies across invocations of the program,
all stack information is recorded in a database so the next time you
view a light table everything is where you left it.
Moving photos on the light table
You move a single photo by simply dragging and dropping as is normal
for a windows program.
Here we see that I've spotted a photo of a seal in with the kangaroo
shots. I drag it away and the rectangle follows the mouse.
When I drop the photo it moves to a new position.
Notice that it has snapped to the grid and is actually directly above
it's previous position despite me dropping it slightly to the right.
You can also move multiple photos by drawing a marquee around them
and dragging as before.
Outlines of all the photos are drawn as you drag so you can see if
they will fit in the intended position (it's a bit kludgy at present
as it draws the 100x100px cell rather than the actual photo, I'll work
Moving photos between stacks
It's an easy matter to move photos between stacks. You just drag and
drop them onto a stack icon at the left of the screen.
The photo (or photos) will be moved from the current stack to the target
stack and placed at the bottom right of the screen on the new stack.
If the new stack was empty the first photo that was dropped becomes
the icon photo for that stack.
Moving photos to another stack can also be a good way to temporarily
remove them from the selected photos, the possible rejects can be moved
off the screen but easily brought back again if you change your mind.
I have made an initial attempt at providing a loupe for the light table. When
enabled the loupe will display an enlarged version of the photo on the screen
when you mouse over a thumbnail.
Obviously this might cover some of the thumbnails but the loupe can be dragged
to any position on the screen.
This is not a 1:1 loupe as is common with other programs because SiiMAN
doesn't have immediate acccess to the original files.
Loading a light table
Previously created light tables are loaded onto the screen by clicking
their name in the panel at the left of the screen or by using the "File>Open
light table" menu item.
Creating a new light table
A new light table can be created from the tagged photos in the Workbench
or by scanning a folder to get filenames.
This second option is useful when you have a folder of photos that
were used for a specific purpose and you want to work with the images
from that folder.
Creating a slide show
All the photos in a light table can be used to create a slide show.
There are two methods to do this.
You can send the photos to the slide show workspace by simply clicking
on the "Slideshow" menu item at the top of the screen. When
you do this a list of files is sent to the Slideshow workspace, the
photos are sorted by their position on the screen firstly and then by
the stack they are in.
The sort order is top-left to bottom-right, stack 1 to stack 10.
This is also the only way to get a slide show in a random order from
This method creates a slide show within the SiiMAN environment but
what if you need a folder with photos for an external slide show application?
The "File>make slide show" menu item will copy large JPEGS
of all the light table photos to a folder of your choosing. The order
that are copied is the same as described above but to ensure that the
photos are viewed in the correct order a 3-digit number is prepended
to the filename.
Thus when viewed with a file browser or other application all photos
will be ordered the same as they were on the light table.
Below we see the results of trying to create a slide show folder of
images from the example light table we have been using.
Note that the current version will only copy JPEGs from the "large
JPEG" folder for a slide show and that in this case many of the
photos didn't have a large JPEG to copy so some errors were raised.
Note also the filenames have the sequence number prepended, for example
12928 has been copied to a file called 037-12928.
Sorting and rearranging a light table stack
There are three commands that will sort or otherwise
rearrange the photos in a stack.
Sort stack to original order —
This will arrange the photos in numerical order as they were first imported
to the light table.
Neaten slides — This will arrange the
photos in neat rows and columns but it won't change the order. Basically all
slides are moved to the left.
Pack slides — This option will pack
all the photos half on top of one another to give room do some manual rearranging.
Note that the slides are in the same relative positions, they
have just been "bunched up". Photos can be moved around in this mode
as with the normal display, it's just that you have more room to move.
When finished the photos can be "unpacked"
to normal positions.
Tagging light table photos in the Workbench
All the photos on a light table can be tagged in the
Workbench workspace. This allows the final selection to be used for
other purposes in the Workbench, say to add them to a collection or
to use one of the copy functions such as "Collect hi-res files"
to get the original images from an external hard disk or "Copy
tagged files" to copy preview JPEGs to a folder.