From the desk of Stu Harman, our support and coaching expert. In this article Stu explains how to avoid getting into a situation where the thumbnails of imported pictures disappear from the Picture panel, and why the image of an imported picture you select only displays a black screen.
If you or another staff member move the folder from its original location when it was imported, you can cause thumbnails to disappear and a black screen to be displayed instead of the picture. This article describes how to avoid the problem.
The effectiveness of BiteFX is magnified when combining animations and pictures to show your patient the mechanics of normal and destructive occlusion, and their clinical effects on teeth. BiteFX also lets you import pictures you have taken of your patient's teeth so they can be included in that synergistic presentation. In doing so, the patient can better understand the nature of malocclusion, and see that they indeed have occlusal disease, effectively transferring ownership of the problem to that patient.
The process for importing your own pictures is very simple (click here for detailed instructions how to import pictures into BiteFX). Here's a quick summary:
- Put your JPG, BMP or PNG picture files you want to import into a folder.
- Open the Album panel and click on the Add new... icon.
- Find the folder in the Browse For Folder dialog and click on the folder's name to select it.
- Click on OK.
The import process causes the BiteFX software to create a pointer to each picture file in the folder you imported, and add an album group to the Picture panel with thumbnails of each picture in the folder. For example, let's say you've created a folder on your server drive, X/:Consult, named it Wilson and then added your patient's pictures to the folder. After you import the folder, when you click on any imported picture thumbnail, the software will use the following pointer pathway to find and select the picture.
Even though it appears that the pictures are now embedded in BiteFX, the folder's actual location and the pictures within it have not been moved. When you click on one of the imported picture thumbnails in the Picture panel (or from a user sequence), the software follows that pointer path to navigate to that folder and open that thumbnail's picture file.
Once the pointer has been created for the folder and picture files in it, you must not move, delete, or change the path to the pictures or folder. If you do, the pointer's path becomes invalid and this will cause a black screen to be displayed instead of the picture you selected.
What it Looks Like When an Album is Imported and the Folder Has Not Been Moved
Here are some screenshots that show what you should expect to see when you have imported an album of pictures, the path has not been altered and the folder has not been moved:
Fig 1. Imported "Wilson" album thumbnail in the Album panel after import
Fig 2. Imported "Wilson" album row in the Picture panel
Fig 3. Normal display of a picture when selected from the "Wilson" imported album
What Happens When You Move the Folder After Importing It
If the Picture panel is still open when the folder is moved, you may continue to see the thumbnail images in the imported album row in the Picture panel as well as any imported thumbnails you copied to the user-defined sequence row. You may even still be able select a picture and use the Next/Previous in sequence buttons to cycle through the imported pictures in the imported album because the pictures have been stored in cache memory. However, once you select any other button in the Control Panel, the memory will be cleared so when you re-open the Picture panel, that imported album row will be blank with no thumbnails.
However, if you copied any of the imported images into a user sequence row, you might be able to contine to select and display all imported photos from that folder unless you close BiteFX.
Screenshots of what you will see after the imported folder has been moved
If you didn't close BiteFX and the Picture panel is still open, you will most likely still see the row of picture thumbnails from the imported album, as well as any picture thumbnails you may have added to a user-sequence row.
Fig 4. View imported album in the Picture panel after the folder was moved but Picture panel left open
However, once you select any of the pictures in the album row that were imported from the folder that was moved, you will only see a black screen displayed:
Fig 5. Displayed picture when selecting an imported picture after the folder has been moved
In addition, if you open the Album panel after moving the folder, the imported album's thumbnail will only show up as a blank white screen.
Fig 6. Album panel view of imported thumbnail after the folder is moved
Then, when you return to the Picture panel, although the imported album row will still be visible, there will not be any thumbnails visible in the row. Note however that any imported images that were added to the user-sequence row will still be visible because those thumbnails and picture files are stored in a different memory location:
Fig 7. Picture panel showing the imported album picture thumbnails are no longer visible
Because the thumbnail image of the imported picture is still visible in the user-sequence row, and the actual picture file is still being maintained in memory, you can still select and display it as long as you haven't closed BiteFX:
Fig 8. Displayed imported picture from the user-sequence row before closing BiteFX
If you close BiteFX and then re-open it, the imported picture thumbnail images are still visible in the user-sequence row.
Fig 9. Imported picture in the user-sequence row is still visible
However, when you select any imported image from that user-sequence row, all you will see is a black screen because the picture files that were previously stored in memory were cleared when you closed BiteFX:
Fig 10. Displayed imported picture selected from the user-sequence row after closing BiteFX
Saved Sequences Are Affected As Well
If you have created sequences of your own that include imported pictures, it is equally important not to move the folder that was imported and used to add the pictures to that sequence. As described in the introduction, the folder's location pointer that is created when the folder is imported must remain intact. Although saved sequences can still be imported and appended to any BiteFX computer, unnless the original folder is still in its original location, selecting an imported picture in that sequence will display a black screen.
What happens if the same server drive has a different letter preceeding the directory name on different computers
If you are importing and appending sequences you have created to a local computer from a shared drive on your office server, it is possible that the imported images that were added to that sequence will be dislayed as a black screen. This can happen even if the imported folder from which the pictures originated has not been moved.
Usually we want and expect the drives to be called the same from every computer. However, because some of these "names" are simply letters automatically generated by the system (e.g. on one computer it may appear as Public Server (A:) and on another computer as Public Server (X:), they can be different on each computer. Even though the directory title looks the same, and you can still see its contents (including the folder that was imported and not moved), the pointer is very exact and the pathname must be identical to the settings that existed when the folder was imported and the sequence created. So, here's how this happens:
- You import a folder that is located on your Public Server drive. It appears as A:/Public Server/Patient Pictures/Wilson.
- You create a sequence and add some imported pictures to it.
- You save the sequence on the same drive, A:/Public Server/BiteFX Sequences/Wilson.
- You are on a different computer and want to import your Wilson Sequence and do a consult with it for your patient.
- When you select Import sequence in BiteFX on that computer, you navigate to X:/Public Server/BiteFX Sequences/Wilson and then click on Open.
- As expected, the sequence appears and the imported picture thumbnail are right where they should be, but when you select one of them, the screen is black.
- Because the letter preceeding the drive name was an "X" instead of an "A" as it was named on the computer that was used to import the folder, that's all it takes to change the pointer path and display a black screen.
- To fix this issue, have your IT specialist verify that every computer is configured so the drives that are mapped to those computers have the same exact map name with the same preceeding letter.
Helpful Hints to Avoid the Black Screen
Although there are a few nuances as to how and when imported pictures will still be displayed, the important lesson to be learned from this blog is that once a folder of pictures has been created and imported into BiteFX, it is best not to move it. Because patient pictures are valuable resources and it is understandable one may want to be very careful what is done with them, here are a few suggestions:
- Don't try to import a folder containing a large number of pictures - you probably don't need an excessive number of pictures for a consult, and doing so not only requires the BiteFX software to create a large number of pointers, but it also consumes a lot of space in the Picture panel.
- Create a central depository for BiteFX related files such as:
- BiteFX Imported Pictures
- BiteFX Sequences
- BiteFX Installation Files
- BiteFX Shared Information
- Create patient subfolders in the BiteFX Imported Pictures folder and copy the pictures you need into that folder, then don't move it!
If you need further assistance when experiencing black screens after selecting imported pictures, please contact us by email at your convenience, or by telephone Mon-Fri 8am–5pm Pacific Time:
International (+1) 530-582-1189