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I have many pictures. The text in the text balloons is mirrored, or, horizontally flipped. How do I flip this text back so that it is normally readable?

Horizontal flipping (or mirroring) of the entire page in one go is not an option, because then the sequence of events is wrong. I strongly prefer any solution which has a customizable toolbar.

If there's no image editor with a built-in function for this, a possible solution might be to do this with a macro containing at least the following commands:

  • select part of the image (for example, a text balloon)
  • cut the image-part/partial-image
  • mirror the image-part
  • paste image-part back in the original place into the image.

... but how do I record this? Is using macros (like those in MS Word) even possible with the image editing programs of today?

Edit: OS is Windows 10. I would gladly mention which programs I've tried, or ask which have the capacity for doing this, but since even the tiniest mention of any program will be explained as asking for "opinions" and will be seen, gleefully, as a good excuse for downvotes, I won't do it.

It's also not really necessary. If you know of a program to do this with, feel free to mention this. But I won't. Burned too many times by this site.

partial flipped text

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    What operating system are you using? What image manipulation program are you using? Jul 22, 2022 at 13:48
  • 2
    "Forbidden to talk about programs on this site"? Where do you get that idea? Different image manipulation programs will have different methods to accomplish what you're asking; there's no "generic" way of answering your question without knowing what program you're using. Jul 22, 2022 at 15:11
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    "Which program is best to do XYZ?" and "how can I do XYZ in program A?" are very different questions. Jul 22, 2022 at 15:40
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    "How can I do XYZ in program A?" is about solving a problem. "Which program is best to do XYZ?" is about opinions and voting becomes a popularity poll (and please note that "most popular" doesn't necessarily mean "the best"). Some of such questions can be salvaged by removing the subjective part: "How to do XYZ?" is fine.
    – gronostaj
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:56
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    There are many questions "how can I do A in B?", with B being sed or awk, bash, cmd.exe, Firefox, Chrome, Excel, PuTTY, nano, less, VLC, ffmpeg, Rufus, Albert, … (not all B for the same A, of course). And there are questions like "how can I do A? I'd like a solution for B, but not necessarily for B". Such questions are fine. For many programs we have tags meant to be used in questions. Telling us what program(s) you use, can use, want to use, are prone to use, are familiar with, already tried – all this is different than asking for software recommendation. Jul 23, 2022 at 3:32

2 Answers 2

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Gimp:

  1. Use the Selection tools to mark one of the text ballons (e.g. Ellipse mode, hit e)
  2. Use one of
  • Toolbox Flip,
  • Menu:Tools > Transform Tools > Flip or
  • SHIFT+F
    -- they all have the same effect; tell that you wish to flip things
  1. Click in the selection to actually flip it
  2. Ctrl+M to merge down to a single layer.

Edit: more detail

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  • Can step 2 be achieved by either recording-writing a macro..... or via a short-cut? Which then can subsequently be run from a button on the toolbar?
    – GngrWtch
    Jul 22, 2022 at 23:42
  • Step 2: SHIFT+F
    – Hannu
    Jul 23, 2022 at 6:56
  • @Hannu So, no toolbar button, I take it... Jul 25, 2022 at 21:49
  • The clickable tool palette (default position is top left) contains a Flip tool, yes, appearance: [<-|->] - so Menu, Clickable Tool, and a keyboard shortcut. Your choice which to use: The far quickest is the keyboard.
    – Hannu
    Jul 26, 2022 at 17:20
  • Steps 2-4 can probably be scripted, I haven't tried that. e.g. gimp.org/docs/python/index.html
    – Hannu
    Jul 26, 2022 at 17:34
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Preface:

Again, I could rely upon the somewhat older, yet free software, of XnView. It's French, even. Imagine that. Which is relevant because their different life philosophy allows them to create imaginative and functionally sound software.

Description:

This is a two-step method. Step 1 is to horizontal-flip all the images to their mirrored version in batch. The result of that is visible above in the "intermediate step". Step 2 is to flip the text balloons back. This is done one-by-one, the result of which is visible in the 3rd panel of the picture in the question.

XnView can mirror images in batch, and in step 2, one-by-one via a toolbar button and keyboard (Shift+H) The "trick" is to use a macro recorder for this.

Workflow

Step 1 consists of:

  • Start XnView, open the batch converter with Ctrl-U
  • Set a destination directory under the General tab
  • Drag & Drop all of the images into the "Input" section. Alternatively, add them via the Add or the Add Folder-button. In this case, it was a comic book in .CBR format, so I changed the extension to .RAR and unzipped them into a likewise named directory. No doubt there's software which can unzip CBR's, but I don't know them.
  • Click on the Transformations tab, open the Image branch, select Flip Horizontal and double-click it.
  • Hit the Go-button on the bottom left

Step 2: Drag and drop all the images into the main XnView window. They will be visible as tabs. Use your favorite macro recorder to record just two actions: Ctrl-C and Shift-H. Yes, this might seem not useful and trivial, but it does save considerable time and accuracy. Now, I've used one with the über imaginative name of Macrorecorder and it can be found at https://www.macrorecorder.com/. It won't surprise no-one that this a not a French outfit, but a German one.

  • Open up Macrorecorder
  • Arrange both windows so that three quarters of your screens' left-hand-side is the XnView and Macrorecorder covers one quarter on the right-hand-side, and arrange it so that the Play, Record and Stop buttons are still visible.
  • click on Record and Edit at the top of Macrorecorder
  • We're just aiming to record key-strokes, not any mouse moves/clicks.
  • Press Alt-Tab to get the focus back on the XnView window with all the open files.
  • Select the desired text inside the text balloon, and if need be, select it line by line.
  • Press Ctrl-C and then immediately, Shift-H.
  • Press Alt-Tab to get the focus back on Macrorecorder
  • Stop recording and optionally save the macro, intermediately.
  • remove the line which contains the XnView windows name and remove all the lines with mouse action in them.
  • Save the macro for good.

(A word of warning to those who are looking for freeware macro recorders. It took me surely an hour or more to find one which was not chockfull with viruses or whatever. Even the well known ones with scripting capability like AutoIt, MiniMouseMacro and AutoHotkey had 3 to 7 viruswarnings. I have an unreasonably high fear of getting a frozen computer, so for me, the cut-off line is one warning... some of the time. For some software, the .exe will not set off a warning on the more than 70 anti-virus programs of VirusTotal.com but their corresponding zipped version will, so check both.)

Remark on GIMP

GIMP is a wonderful program, but for this particular case, it's too advanced to use it, it's not fit to do this. I tried the above solution, but one has to press 'R' every time one wants do select a rectangle, Ctrl-M to save intermediate flips per text balloon and it's just too much. To get the same result in GIMP, there are 7 actions: Press 'R", select the rectangle, press Shift-F (lefthand), click inside the rectangle, let go of the mouse, use righthand to press Ctrl-M , click OK/press Enter. In XnView there are just 2 left-handed keyboard actions.

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