Fun on The Fly with Pixlr Editor

I came across a great article the other day called The Best Chrome Apps You’re Probably Not Using and  I was intrigued because I like to think that I know pretty much whats out there as far work tools go. Well, I decided to take a look anyway and of course Pixlr Editor caught my eye because I like to take pictures on the fly with my camera phone and we all know those aren’t the greatest quality. So I decided to give it a try and see what I came up with. It works right in the Chrome browser which is a plus right off the bat. Now I normally just try things right on launch without reading anything because I figure if I cant get it work in a few minutes I’m probably not going to really go any further anyway. I think most people are like that actually (tell me if i’m wrong 😉 ..i can accept that). Well anyway so I just opened it up and went for it.

I had a pic that I had taken at a recent art festival that I went to. I had already edited it in Firefox. This is what I came up with just playing around with the filters in Pixlr Editor.

beautiful bird

Original Photo

beautiful bird art poster

Using Vignette at 50 percent, Sepia and Hope Filters

beautiful bird hope

Using Art Poster at 80 percent, Color level at 38

beautiful bird vignette sepia

Using Pastel filter at 1 percent

Okay, looks good. I was impressed with the simplicity of it. It had all the normal editing tools – crop, burn, paint, stamp, etc and it looks just like Firefox and Photoshop in appearance so I wasn’t intimidated at all. But the real test was going to be making those tiny grainy cell pics look like something interesting. I opened a pic that I had taken a few days ago and just started playing around to see what I could come with. I have to say I was really impressed at what I could do in about 10 mins with the editor. Of course your not going to get as good as Photoshop but this was definitely good enough for quick editing and sharing on Facebook .

grape edit

Original Photo

grape edit done

Edited using Auto color levels, Sharpen, Burn, Spot heat, and Vignette

Good deal. This niffy little tool will definitely make me use Chrome a lot more than I have been. WeeVideo looked interesting too. But I’ll save that for another time.

If you have used Pixlr Editor please let me know. Happy Designing!

Happy New Year!…Let’s Start Designing

info pic

“Image courtesy of Staurt Miles /www. FreeDigitalPhotos.net”



Let me first take a minute to wish everyone…. Happy Holidays!
I hope your holiday was filled with family, friends and good times. Of course this time of the year is always a reflection of what we have accomplished and what we are looking forward to achieving with the new year. On that note I wanted to fill you in on some of the great online learning sites that can definitely help you on your way with your New Years resolutions if they involve coding and design.

I have been learning Ruby at Code Academy for the last few months. They have many other great free hands-on courses like CSS, Javascript, and Jquery. I like the fact that they keep in touch with you, ask you about your progress and offer help. That makes me feel like they really want me to succeed. They even give out badges along the way so you can see your progress and keep yourself motivated. I recently joined a Meetup in my city with other Ruby friends so we can learn together. I have found other great Meetup groups that get together monthly which make learning code fun as well as informative. Check for groups in your city.

If databases are your thing, Code School has a great Try R introductory course that can get you started learning this new language right away. But if your not really sure what interests you right now and want to try something new, give Udemy a look. They have courses on just about everything: Photography, Coding, Excel, and Adobe just to name a few.

I also wanted to mention a few design conferences starting in the New Year in case you can make one of them.

Mobile and Web Devicon San Francisco – Jan 29-31, 2013  http://www.mobilewebdevconference.com/

Style Frames NYC – Feb 7-8th, 2013  http://www.styleframes.tv/newyork/

An Event Apart Atlanta – Feb 18-20, 2013  http://aneventapart.com/event/atlanta-2013?/2013/atlanta/

SXSW Interactive Austin TX – March 8-12, 2013  http://sxsw.com/interactive


Please share any design conferences in your area as well.
Ok..so let’s get those creative juices flowing!..Happy New Year!

Love Links? – Try Thinglink

Since I’m always looking for new ways to make my designs more interactive, I thought Thinglink was a great tool to bring new ideas to my projects.

Thinglink lets you create images with little links that give information about the photo. The possibilities here are endless because you can inform, entertain, and engage your audience all at the same time. Instead of typing out endless paragraphs of related information you can just link it directly to the image. Thinglink links to video and music too. You can leave the image editable so that others can add their own links to the image. You can also allow your visitors to make comments and share your image on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.

I posted the image that I used below (click on the Lake Lanier link to see it in action) just to give you an example of what can be done but the website has a gallery with some really good examples of how people are using the linking features of Thinglink.

Lake Lanier

Signing up and using Thinglink is free and allows 100 image uploads. You can set up a paid account with 500 images for $5.00 a month and a Pro account with unlimited image uploads for $20.00 a month. You can also get statistics with the paid accounts to track your visitors.
I’m really looking forward to using Thinglink in my projects. If you are using it please let me know how its working for you.

Looking for Design Inspiration? It’s All around You

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
— Confucius




Every wonder where good design inspiration comes from? It’s all around you if you just take the time to look. There are many ways to get new ideas for your projects but these are the ones that I use the most because they never let me down.

Carry A Notebook
notebook

I started doing this a few years ago and it has helped me immensely. It helps me gather my thoughts at the moment so that I can look at them later. I also jot down places I visit and draw simple sketches of the things I see even if I don’t have any specific concept formed yet about what I’m looking at. I also do this with things that I see on the web. Sometimes just a random image can spark an idea at another time for a great project.


Look for A Change of Scenery
pond

I get bored very easy so I’m always looking for new stimulus to get me motivated. Sometimes just going to a mall or taking a walk in a new area brings a new outlook on things. I found a beautiful little pond in someone’s backyard one day just walking in a nearby neighborhood. That gave me an idea for a new website interface for a friend that owns an aquarium shop.



Go To A Bookstore
Books

Of course we all know that books are a great tool for the mind. I love going to book festivals as well because you find some great books on architecture, typography and illustrations for your future projects – usually at a decent price. I find that the children’s books also help me with my drawing and sketching.


Visit A Museum
museum

I love going to any type of museum because it gives you instant perspective on creativity through another person’s eyes. Normally I try to later research a particular artist and their life. Usually they give great insight and perceptions about the world around them and how it affects their work. This is a great way to help you think outside the box in your own projects.

So the next time you find yourself getting stuck in a creative rut just look around you – You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with.