make a zine PDF out of images
posted on /en/zines
warning: this page has animated gifs on it
If you like assembling your zine digitally, from photos or scanned images, but don’t need to process those images as much as you can in something like the electric zine maker, you might consider using a program called “ImageMagick”.
You will want to Google how to install ImageMagick on your specific computer; the instructions will probably look like they were published in 1998 and that’s okay. I’m not sure how this would work on a Windows computer.
If you can describe what you want to do with a block of pixels, ImageMagick can almost always do it, but it is often very non-obvious how to tell it to.
I have written a script to take 8 images, resize them to fit on standard zine pages, lay them out like a normal single-page zine, and convert to PDF. You can run it by downloading this script and invoking it like
onepagezine.sh front-cover.jpg second-image.gif third-picture.bmp fourth-image.jpeg fifth-image.png sixth-page.jpg seventh-page.jpg back-cover.jpg (whatever your images are named) in a folder with all your images in it.
I’m going to demonstrate with some Giphy gifs (click them to see the illustrators) that are fairly arbitrarily chosen1.
If you’re dealing with animated GIFs, you want to pick a frame from them first and make it non-animated so the script doesn’t get confused. Also, if you’re dealing with transparent GIFs, you also want to make the background white. If you just want the first frame, you can use the command:
convert "my-gif.gif" -background white -flatten my-gif.png
Then you can use it as the image for a page no problem.
This script converts these into a PDF that looks like this:
Feel free to reach out if you have problems with the script! I know command-line stuff isn’t comfortable for everyone, but if you think this tool would be handy for you, I want to help make it work.