Posts Tagged ‘digitalphotography’

Convert Media Files with Format Factory

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Format Factory is a handy tool for the Windows platform that allows you to easily convert media files from one format to another. Whether you need to reduce the size of a media file for uploading to the Web or you need to convert files for iPod or iPhone compatibility, file conversion software can be incredibly useful. With a free download of Format Factory, you can convert common video formats such as AVI, MOV, WMV, and SWF to another video format.  You can also convert image and audio files to popular formats.

Save Colors from the Web with Instant Eyedropper

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Instant Eyedropper is a free software program that allows you to easily copy and save any color you see on the Web. With Instant Eyedropper, you can identify and save the HTML color code so that you can use the color on your Web page or in an image editing program, such as Adobe PhotoShop. The best part is that you can do this with just one click and without opening any graphics editing software!

How it Works

Once you install the software, the Instant Eyedropper icon will appear in your system tray.

When you click on the icon, you will see your mouse arrow turn into cross-hairs. Continuing to hold the mouse button down, you can guide the cross-hairs across your screen; you will see a zoom of the pixels under the cross-hairs so that you can select the exact pixel you would like to identify and copy. You will also see the HTML code for that specific color.

Releasing the mouse button immediately pastes the information onto your clipboard.  Additionally, you can change what format the color code is saved as. For example, rather than HTML, you can save the information in Hex or RGB notation. Simply right click over the Instant Eyedropper icon in your system tray to choose from a list of formats.

Online Photo Editing Made Easy and Fun

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Creative Kit in Google+ (formerly known as Picnik and has since joined Google) is a free online photo-editing program that offers an array of professional and fun tools. This application provides numerous creative filters and effects such as cinemascope, focal B&W, vignette and many others. A few highlights of the program include:

  • - Allows you to upload pictures straight from social networking sites such as Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket and more
  • - Access to creative and fun tools such as adding text, stickers and creating collages
  • - Provides options to print straight from your computer, order prints online or order other photo projects like books, posters and wrapping paper

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A Guide to Understanding Image Formats

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

If you’ve ever worked with photo-editing software, you’re probably aware of the numerous file formats for saving digital images, ranging from JPG to GIF to TIFF.  Some formats are proprietary to specific software, while others can be used across programs and platforms.  There are several factors to consider when selecting an image format, such as how the image will be used (prints, slideshow presentation, Web) or whether or not you will need to continue editing the image later.  In this week’s tech tip we’ll provide some basic information and best uses for the more common image formats.

Saving Images
When you click on an image to view it, a photo-editing program that came installed on your computer such as Windows Picture and Fax Viewer or Apple Preview may open it.  If you have a digital camera or scanner, the software that came with your device may open your image. Or you may use Adobe’s higher end tools such as Photoshop or Illustrator. The images that your digital camera produces are most likely JPEGs, however when you download an image from the Web, it can be in a variety of formats.  If you wish to change the format of an image, click Save As in the image-editing program that you are using. Before changing the file type, keep in mind how you plan to use the image.  Follow the guide below to help you choose the best file format for your image. 

Common Image Formats

BMP (Bitmap)
An older format typically used for graphic elements on Microsoft applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Paint, etc.. BMP files are uncompressed, meaning they can create extremely large files. Keep in mind that bigger files can be less versatile for email transfer and posting to the Web and can also take up more disk space.   

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
Typically a Web-based format, GIF allows images with fewer than 256 colors and little pixel information to be displayed at a higher quality. It’s ideal for graphic images with few colors such as logos or Web page navigation icons that you want to place on the Web.

JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
JPGs are a commonly used format for photographic images (most digital cameras output JPG images). Compression rates for JPGs are adjustable; JPGs that are moderately compressed lose very little quality from the original image.  JPG images also have a 24-bit color scheme, which enables subtleties in complex images to be displayed. JPGs are very versatile and can be used for photo prints, slideshow presentations and Web-based applications. 

PDF (Portable Document Format)
PDFs are generally used to maintain both textual and graphic information such as a newsletter or brochure. PDFs are a standard for making such materials available on the Web for download.  

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
This format was developed to replace the older GIF format for use on the Web. However, unlike a GIF formatted file, PNG allows for a wider range of color use.

PSD (Photoshop Document)
This format is used to save Photoshop projects midway through completion. It is especially helpful with multi-image or multi-layer projects that you have not completed or may want to return to edit later. Do not use this format to save an image you wish to use outside of Photoshop.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
Generally used for print images, the TIFF format allows varying degrees of compression and a 24-bit color scheme. Because it allows for a completely uncompressed file, it is most often used for professional printing of high-resolution images.

Compression
If you intend to email an image or post it to the Web, it’s a good idea to reduce to the file size for accessibility purposes.  Here are links to previous tech tips that provide information on free photo-editing software solutions and steps for resizing images.

Free Photo Editing Tools

Resize Photos Fast

Resizing Photos and Making Banners with Paint.NET

Resize your Digital Photos in Windows XP

Easily Create Online Photo Galleries

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

PictoBrowser is free slideshow creation tool that allows you to display pictures from your Flickr account on your website or blog.  The main advantage of using Pictobrowser is that you can embed a photo gallery of your images directly on your webpage, rather than linking to your Flickr account.   Once you’ve uploaded photos into a Flickr account, all that you have to do to create a slideshow is to provide your Flickr account name on the PictoBrowser website, select the group of images you want to display, then copy and paste the HTML code created by PictoBrowser onto your blog or webpage.

PictoBrowser also has a number of adjustments that can be made to your slideshow including modifying photo size and changing the player’s color, size and transparency.

Free Photo Editing Tools

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Image-editing software can help you alter images that you may have downloaded from the Internet, scanned for your business card or webpage, or taken with your digital camera. This type of software is incredibly helpful to have around. However, the most popular image-editing applications – Adobe Photoshop and its simplified brethren: Photoshop Elements, Corel Paintshop Pro, and Macromedia Fireworks, can be rather costly. Why not save some clams and get some programs that are absolutely free?

Paint.NET is an image and photo manipulation software that runs on Windows. It was developed at Washington State University by computer science students, and was intended to be a juiced-up freeware replacement for the MS Paint software that comes standard with all Windows operating systems. Paint.NET has many powerful features such as special effects, layers, unlimited undo, masking, color, tone and lighting adjustments. Whew!

PhotoPlus Starter Edition is free software that is chock full of features we’re sure everyone will use: image maps, image slicing, smart shapes, export optimizing. Uh, what? But really, it does have great things like red-eye removal tool, all sorts of photo enhancement tools so you can touch up your pictures, and did we say that this is free? Sorry Mac users – PhotoPlus 6 is for Windows only.

GIMP for Windows
Gimp for Mac
GIMP (which means “GNU image manipulation program”) is a popular open-source image editor developed by volunteers. It was created to be an open-source replacement for Adobe Photoshop. We recommend this software for people who are more comfortable with computers – it’s a bit more confusing to install and navigate than PhotoPlus and Paint.NET. It’s also available (and originally created) for Linux users.

GimpShop is a version of GIMP that is supposed to be friendlier to Adobe Photoshop users. GIMPshop users have found the interface of GimpShop to be easier to navigate than GIMP. In many instances, Photoshop tutorials can be followed in GIMPshop with no changes or with little modification.