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!

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.

Free Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier

Everyday I come across tons of free programs that can definitely make your life easier if you have the patience to learn how to use them. Having a computer background I often wonder how easy these programs would actually be for someone who might not have the time to learn an extensive program with a lot of bells and whistles. I came across 2 that are very easy to use right away but offer tons of great features that you can discover at your own pace.

Open Office

This program is like a free version of Microsoft Office with all the same features that you would pay hundreds of dollars for. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations very quickly. I tried this one out a couple of months ago because I wanted a doc editing program for my laptop that I could use on the go. Without reading any of the tutorials I was able to create a document in about 5 minutes and save it into my docs folder. I don’t use spreadsheets very often but I was able to create a simple table in about 10 minutes. I honestly thought that there would be a major learning curve here but if you know anything about Microsoft Office this wont be a painful switch at all. The only thing that I had to remember was to save my file to a .doc format so that I could read it in Microsoft Office on my desktop. Here is an example of Open Office:

 

Gimp

Gimp is the closest free program that I have found to Photoshop. There is a download available for Macintosh as well (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/ ). Gimp lets you do simple photo alterations, create web pages and brochures, as well as draw and paint with text just as easily as Photoshop without the major expense. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to put together a simple one-page brochure in about 30 minutes my first time using it. There are also numerous tutorials available on line and at Gimps official website to get you up to speed fairly quickly. Then you can take your time becoming a pro. I’m sure I will be using this one a lot more often since I realized how extensive the program actually is. It’s definitely worth the effort of learning. A quick review of of Gimp:

Do you know of any other free programs that are fairly easy to learn? Please share them with me.

Handmade Jewelry by Marsha

MarshaI love meeting new people who are as passionate as I am about design. This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Marsha of Marsha Marsha Marsha! handmade jewelry designs. We had a wonderful discussion about design and the exhilaration that comes from creating something that gives pleasure to others. I am still amazed when I meet people who share my joy of creating. She was so surprised that I had seen and admired her work around town and that she was very inspiring to me as an artist. Her designs are both unique and beautifully hand crafted. You can see the creativity in every piece. She specializes in Turquoise, Czech Glass and Organically shaped Freshwater Pearls that are moderately priced. It was a pleasure to meet such a humble and dedicated designer such as herself.

Turquoise

Turquoise

Pearls

Pearls

Her designs are featured At The Collective, which is located in Inman Park GA. This beautiful shop is owned by Susie Caldwell and Sally B Larsen. The shop also features the work of many wonderful designers so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for one of a kind crafts, furniture, and clothing.
If you would like to take a look at Marsha’s work please visit her website: marshamarshajewelry
At The Collective – Beautiful handmade jewelry, antique furniture and clothing among other awesomeness