The other day I was on Flickr trying to figure out whether a photo one of my friends had posted might look better in black and white. I did what I’ve done loads of times before — downloaded the image, sucked it into a graphics program, and desaturated it. But that made me think — there must be an easier way…
So, introducing Flickr Noir, a Chrome extension that will let you turn the main photo on any Flickr photo page black and white at the click of a button. It does a nice quick-fade effect during the desaturation, and clicking the toolbar button again will restore the colour, so you can easily compare the two.
Since writing the Chrome version, I’ve also created a Safari version. This was a fairly easy conversion job; the two extension systems are very similar, presumably because of their shared base in webkit. I’m still not sure which system I prefer — while I found Apple’s documentation much nicer, Safari’s “Extension Builder” crashed on me eight times while I was doing the conversion work, which was a tad disconcerting.
My extension uses Dmitry Kelmi’s nice little jQuery desaturate plugin to do the hard work, basically copying the image into a canvas and processing it there. Then I add the desaturated photo on top of the normal photo on the photo page, and the extension’s toolbar button toggles between showing and hiding it with a nice jQuery fade effect.
The only problem I had was avoiding tripping over cross-domain security violations, but luckily “serg” on Stackoverflow helped me out of that one.
If you give it a try and notice any problems — or just enjoy it! — please leave a comment.