Sunday, July 26, 2009

Digitally Framing Photographs

I've been experimenting with adding coloured frames to some of my photographs on Flickr. What colour or style of frame and matte to use is very subjective and what suits me might not suit anyone else but I thought I'd give it a go to try and enhance the on-screen display of some of my pics.

Little Egret
After some trial and error I've decided on a formula to work out the size of the frame and matte. The frame width is calculated as the width of the narrowest axis (in pixels) * 0.032. I've no real scientific or artistic reason for the choice but it works for me. So, for example, a photograph measuring 4000 * 2000 would produce a frame width of 64 pixels with the matte width being twice that at 128. If I wanted to use a double matte for an edge highlight, then I'd calculate that width using a factor of 0.004.

The Squinty Bridge By Night
Bearing in mind that I'm just trying to enhance the on-screen display a bit, I decided to go for a plain-coloured frame, no wood-grain or textured finishes, just a flat colour. After a bit of research that seemed to suggest that the best colour to use would be one that complements the colours in the photograph, I decided to use a site I'd mentioned a few years ago to calculate the best colours - Whats Its Color.

Whats Its Color is an image-color processing utility that'll give you an image's primary and complementary dominant colours, how many visually unique colours there are in it and the top ten visually unique colours used. All very useful when trying to choose frame, matte and highlight colours around an image.

Blue Butterfly
Choosing which colours to use is also quite simple. The frame gets the complimentary colour and I pick a highlight colour from the image for the matte, lightening it a bit if necessary. For a highlight edge, I'd pick the colour closest to the main subject of the image or one of the top-ten colours. As I said before, it's all a matter of personal taste so whatever works, works.

Calvari Oratory
If you're just interested in experimenting with framing without actually editing your photographs, then have a look at the BigHugeLabs Mat tool. It'll let you add a matte and frame border as a percentage of your choice of the original image and has a few extra bells and whistles like bevelled edges and credits.. It's also compatible with Flickr, Photobucket and Facebook.

Of course, if anyone knows of a recognised way to calculate all of the above, I'd be grateful to hear it. Also happy to take comments on any of those that I've framed on my photostream as well.

Boquer Valley
Related Posts: Whats Its Color

Friday, April 03, 2009

myPod Apps

myPod Apps offers a few, very useful freeware utilities if you happen to own an iPod or iPhone…

Pod to PCPod to PC is a freeware utility that lets you copy and recover music, videos and playlists from any iPod, iPhone or iPod touch to a Windows PC and iTunes.

Use it to…
  • copy any music or video files from any iPod onto your computer.
  • recover your music into iTunes after a computer crash,.
  • preview music and movies on any iPod before transferring into your iTunes library.
  • easily copy a whole or partial playlist from any iPod into iTunes.
Comes with an Automatic Transfer button to instantly select, then transfer all songs on an iPod that are not already in your iTunes Music Library and you can prevent duplicate transfers as tracks already in iTunes are indicated with a blue check.

Pod to MacPod to Mac is a freeware utility that lets you copy and recover music, videos and playlists from any iPod, iPhone or iPod touch to an Apple Macintosh and iTunes.

See Pod to PC above for a list of capabilities.

Pod Photo Transfer is a freeware utility that lets you transfer photos from an iPod photo or iPod video to a Windows PC.

Pod Photo TransferI suspect that it's been superceded by the two utilities above as both can transfer photos and videos from any iPod that supports them.

Related Posts: DiskAid - Disk Enable Your iPhone And iPod Touch, iPod -> Folder, Access Your iPod!

Friday, March 13, 2009

iPaper, A Mulit-platform Web Document Viewer

iPaper is a rich document format built for the web. Built with Adobe Flash, iPaper will display documents in the same way regardless of whether you're using Windows, MacOS, or Linux. Your readers no longer have to download files or extra software to view your documents.

You can convert just about any major document format into iPaper, including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs,OpenOffice documents, and PostScript files. Supported formats include:
  • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps, .pptx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls, xlsx)
  • OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw)
  • OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi)
  • OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc)
  • All OpenDocument formats
  • Plain text (.txt)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)
Once you've uploaded your documents and converted them to iPaper, you can publish them to Scribd, a huge online library of user-generated documents. Scribd documents are indexed by major search engines, so you can broaden your audience and share your creative works with the world.

Scribd's iPaper document viewer is embeddable in any website or blog. Whether you have a few documents or a million, Scribd has tools to help you convert, publish and manage them better than ever before.

You can even send documents as attachements to Scribd via email and have them deliver links to the converted files to your recipients via iPaper@Scribd. That way, the recipients can view the documents in their browser without downloading the file. Of course, they can opt to download the original if they want to as well.

All of this is very nice but the limitaton of having to use the Scribd servers to convert and host your documents will limit the spread of iPaper as a web-wide tool. Fine for personal and small website use but corporates and goverment sites won't look at it until they can utilise the technology inside their own networks.