[Features Request] Upscaling and Crop Margins\Borders

First of all, I guess I should start that after trying Panels I was impressed with ability to sort stuff into collections and it’s much better than my main daily driver Chunky Comic Reader does (tho it’s automatic collection making is rather nice), but because of Panels currently missing those 2 features I still use Chunky. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t mind even subscription model to the app (I actually hate subscriptions like that for general software) with these 2 functions working in Panels, but as of yet I’m kinda on the fence about it. And I think I might not be the only one because they’ve been available like for years in Chunky and that app is developed by one person AFAIK and those features cost 0 for upscaling (pretty sure it’s in the free version) and 2.99$ tip for crop margin. I know your app has different focus but I can’t refrain from comparing it to Chunky in this department because I’ve been using it since at least 2013-2014 and I don’t know any other good readers except Chunky and, maybe, Panels (tho for now it would be second). I may be mistaken about Panels lacking upscaling but I’ve compared several low-res comics in both and Chunky always makes them looking better because in Panels they are visibly pixelated. I have iPad Air 2020 btw.

And without further ado, my reasons why those features should be implemented:

  1. Upscaling goes first. Even in 2022 there are still tons of DRM-free manga (and maybe even comics, but mostly manga from my point of view) with atrociously low resolution (around half or even lower of current iPads) that’s sold by some publishers. And some of the older stuff (like good chunk of comics before digital comic boom) also falls under that category and looks at the very least pixelated a bit. So this feature would be most appreciated by manga fans and fans of older stuff that’s not yet available in better quality (and most likely never be sigh). Also, I’m pretty sure there out there tons of various already done algorithms to do just that efficiently, fast and in-place. Like Chunky does. You could even include several of them or let us regulate strength of upscaling manually.

  2. Crop Margins\Borders now. While I’ll agree that it’s not that big of a deal most of the time, sometimes there are like lower and\or right and\or left margins that takes good chunk of screen space while image itself so high resolution that it doesnt event need upscaling after cropping. And most of the time these border\margins are not that consistent that this older suggestion is more hassle than it’s worth because of how margins are. Again, I must compare that with Chunky and one dude made pretty much perfect implementation that never missed it’s mark (at least in my experience). And to boot Chunky does it pretty fast and in-place even on my older iPad 3 to this day. I’d need tests to confirm my next statement (I’ve never really worked with images except some basic transformation and searching areas of images stuff using OpenCV in uni) but I’m pretty sure even something naive like “scan from up-down\left-right\right-left\down-up rows\columns until at least 1(?) different pixel in line\row is encountered (let’s call it line\row X) and crop it till X-1\2\3\Y” should already get the job done in most cases and with some tweaks like “don’t crop on up more than down and vice versa” it should even maintain aspect ratio. And that’s naive version, OpenCV or DeepPanel most likely already have some auto-detection and cropping mechanisms that should be more effective for in-place transformation

I know how software development works (myself developer tho in whole another area) and we, as users, maybe missing something crucial about underhood structure of app but these features look feasible enough (at least from outside) and useful for most of the users (even tho some may say they don’t need them now, nobody know when upscaling will be needed). So I ask of you, please, consider to add these features for premium users because then I’m sure Panels really could be called “the best comic reader there is on iOS\iPadOS”

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Thank you so much for the feedback and the time put into describing the features that you miss.
Both things have been requested in the past and they are in our roadmap. They are both niche features though, and we need to give priority to other features that we consider more important or people request them more.
Nevertheless, we always try to balance high and low priority features, so that doesn’t mean we’ll never implement them. We definitely will, but I can’t give you a realistic timeframe. Bear with us until we have the bandwidth to do it.

I agree regarding the automatic comic management feature of Chunky. That is a big reason that Chunky stood out from the competition for so long (and still does even though it hasn’t been developed for several years now). I did go ahead and get a Panels subscription because I want to support its continued development, but that is a huge feature that I definitely wouldn’t consider “niche”.

Being an iOS developer myself, I do understand its complexity, though. I believe Mike did it by reading the imbedded comic metadata (i.e. ComicInfo.xml). That of course requires it to exist in the comic file for it to work properly, although the majority of comics that I’ve downloaded contain it already or it can be automatically added by tools such as Mylar.

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Thanks for the feedback @ymerej

I used the word “niche” as in “a specialized segment of the market”. Not with a negative connotation or taking any merit away from Chunky’s creator. (I keep huge respect for him BTW, I was a big Chunky user years ago). But, for us, these features are quite a niche, not because we subjectively think so, but because there are other features that people request more. That doesn’t mean they are less valuable.

We try to balance what we, as creators, think Panels should have, the features that people request the most, and others that passionate users request, and we believe they make sense.
Upscaling and automatically crop margins fall in that third group.
We don’t work on Panels full-time, so we need to carefully choose every feature.
As I said, both things will eventually come. I just can’t guarantee when, exactly.

I get it, thanks for the explanation. And I just realized my post doesn’t make much sense in light of the original post – I admittedly only read the first paragraph since that’s all the showed up in the email summary. I clicked on the link and replied, not realizing there was more to the post and the actual request was not even for what I was discussing. I just honed in on the “automatic collection making” line in the first paragraph and assumed that was the request. However, I’m sure that too would qualify as a “niche” feature.

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Hey, good to know that they are on your roadmap tho of course would be better to know that they have somewhat higher priority. I’ve decided to buy subscription for a year and read some stuff in Panels (mostly that doesn’t require upscaling) and seems like there are some bugs present, at least on my Air, will compile them sometime soon in another post as to not divert this thread