Whatever data gathering tool (scanner or ABI machine) you use, it probably won't produce a hidump file of the right dimension and orientation. With the Image package comes a program "im3conv" that converts DAT, GIF, TIFF and ABI-gel files into the hidump format.
You should set the environmental variable $IMCONVERT_CMD to "im3conv", and every time a gel is opened and no hidump file yet exists it is run.
The argument passed to $IMCONVERT_CMD by Image is the filename
of the image file that needs to be converted.
The filename is the directory where all the data files for the current
gel are stored plus the name "image." and the file extension
selected in the Defaults Window.
If you have selected [.tif] in the Defaults Window, Image will pass the file name [GEL-DIRECTORY]/image.tif to $IMCONVERT_CMD.
The conversion program recognizes the image format by its filename extension and processes the image data to write out the Hidump file "image.hi" in the same directory. After the conversion is finished, Image and the external analysis modules will be able to load/process/display the gel image.
im3conv also rotates the image by 90 degrees left, as scanners usually read the image along the lanes, which makes an image with vertical lanes (from top to bottom), but Image analyses images with lanes going from left to right (horizontally).
E.g. your scanner writes 16-bit TIFF images which are not only a format which which can't be read by "im3conv", it will probably also be the wrong way round (the loading well at the top and not the left hand edge).
Write a script that uses a more sophisticated image conversion package like "ImageMagick" to read the 16-bit TIFF, rotate it left and write out something "im3conv" understands, say a GIF image. The script then calls "im3conv" to write the hidump file from the gif. So $IMCONVERT_CMD will be set to the name of that script and Image is then able to pick up all sorts of image formats, if you find conversion programs that can do complicated conversion and possibly rotations on the image, that your scanner writes.