Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Tips for Digital Photo Editing & Fun

It's been about 3 years since I've blogged about FREE digital image editing & fun sites... So I thought I would update it! Thanks to my dear friend @who Tweeted & Scooped to me about Ribbet which made me give it close look comparing it to my beloved PicMonkey.  I thought I owed you, my dear readers,  an unbiased review of these fab photo editing sites. Last time I talked about 5 of them - this year I'm giving you 10! (Plus a link to my Sqworl gallery with 66+ links)
1. What makes PicMonkey Made of Win? Features Galore!
PicMonkey, is MADE of WIN! This beloved site with happy hipster styling beautifully filled in when Picknik went away. [pours some Diet Coke out for my fallen homey] Really, for 94% of what you need to do with images this site can do & WAY easier than Photoshop. I even thought of making a Comic Tutorial for it - but it really is SO easy and intuitive I don't think you need one!
PicMonkey is a creation of several former Picnik engineers and "offers a simple and easy to use tool for editing and altering your images. Even if Picnik was still around, PicMonkey would be a great alternative!
The entirely Web-based editor is fast and effective, and among the cleanest interface (PicMonkey and Ribbet will be fighting Smackdown style for that title) for a photo editor (Web or desktop) that I've come across."
Easy to use PicMonkey has amazing FREE features that if you don't want to spend the $ on Photoshop this should make you very happy. Easy text layering, cut-outs, arrows, speech bubbles, frames, & easy crop & resize means anyone can make their pics for blogs, wikis, & sites beautiful and easy breezy!
Worth the Royale treatment, for a few dollars a month (the price of a latte) those extra perks make this digital image manipulation site a winner. Remember, no awesome Ad-Free site will remain 100% FREE forever.
SUPER COOL UPDATE! Flickr & Tumbler Integration!
One of the things that first impressed me so much w/ PicMonkey was how responsive they are on Twitter. They care, they listen, & they respond! Follow them! 

2. Ribbet: Advanced Editing, Your Fonts, & Flickr Integration
Ribbet is "built on the same platform that made Google's Picnik great and is an easy to use yet powerful online photo editor. You can use Ribbet for collages, touch-ups and advanced photographic effects like curves and clone tools, fonts, frames, stickers, vampire effects, beards, and an entire pond full (yes, get ready to deal with some froggy puns) of effects. Like Picnik, there will be a free and a premium version."  But try it out NOW when ALL the features are FREE, at least as of (3/13)
How is Ribbet different than PicMonkey? 
So far, you can start with a blank canvas, use your own machine fonts (click ALLOW when asked) & connect to your Flickr account. The site will ask & you will need to give permission to take from and save to Flickr.  
Create Transparent PNG's!
You can also go into Advanced editing with Pixlr so you can use the magic erase wand & eraser to remove a background - save it as a transparent .PNG (never .JPG) this way you can superimpose one photo over another like I did with the Ribbet frog on a branch over a black background in my example.  Ribbet also saves your photos during your latest session in a "tray" where you can go back to them. That's pretty neat.  AND yes, Ribbet is also very communicative, responsive, & friendly on Twitter! Follow them

3. Picadilo: Super Touch Ups & Totally Free
Picadilo is a totally free online photo editor that's easy to use.
Pros: Slick interface, nice features, text overlays make this a standout. I especially like the Miniaturize photo effect example on right.
Cons: I did notice a few hiccups with the ladybug spinning as I tried to upload a pic to edit.
With Picadilo you can "enhance your photos using effects, versatile editing tools and a wide range of textures. Some of the best features are the photo mosaic and the ability to use multiple windows - commonly available in only much more expensive photo editors."
Cool Features From the site:  Multiple windows "Don't be restricted to working on just one photograph at a time. Let your creativity run free by loading more than one photo and work on them side by side. You can also select and copy regions from one photograph to another creating new interesting effects."
4. Photocat: Cute Kitty - Limited Features - Take a Pass!
Photocat was "launched in late 2012 as another entrant in the crowded field on online Photo Editors. Since Google closed down the Picnik service in early 2012 we have seen an array of new services like Ribbet, Picmonkey and now Photocat."
Pros: Photocat offers the standard array of basic photo editing features - with the addition of an excellent collage option. Between the collage, some nice holiday features and some advanced handling of large images.
Cons: Better like the layer you're editing because once you navigate off it - there's no going back. Unlike all the other editors mentioned you can't re-edit or reposition text once you navigate away from the Text editing page.
This is a BIG Kitty Litter Smelly DRAWBACK!  Sample of the Dashboard is below.
Another HUGE Con -- You can't place text on different lines -- they all go in one straight line (no return) AND there are only a handful of fonts to choose from. Boo Hiss!
And Now Just For Fun!
Sites that don't edit - but they are blingtastically, hugely, glittery fun to play with!
5. Big Huge Labs = Big Huge Fun!
Big Huge Labs is a wonderful site where you can make motivational posters, movie posters, magazine covers, badges, mosaics, collages, calendars, frames, and a lot more. BigHugeLabs has established itself as one of the biggest destination websites of its kind. Twitter Follow BigHugeLabs on Twitter
6. Deefunia: You Don't Have to be a Professional to Have FUN!
Deefunia is an "online image editing tool that gives users a fun filled experience. Users can upload any photos and just wait to see the wonder it does. Any photo can be placed in unique photo layouts" - both fun, fab, & a bit doofy.
Pop culturally hip, with plenty of Pan-Asian kitsch,  you can put yourself (or your pics) on subway cars, city billboards, magazine covers or in art galleries as shown below! 
You can also make multiple photo collages using the templates. Save your creations to your hard drive or share them via social media.
7. Says-It - Church Signs & More! 
Says-It Features Customizable: Church Sign, Official Seal,  Concert Ticket,  Uncle Sam Poster, old skool Videotape Cassette, & Vinyl Records,  Safety Signs and Soft Drinks Cans 
8. Glitterfy is Just Blingtastic!
Glitterfy will customize your pictures with the Glitterfy Glitter Graphics maker, Create words with Glitter Text for profile comments, Photo Flipbooks for Orkut Scraps
 Glitter Photos
[ - *Glitter Photos*]
9. Photofunia Style Photo Editors
Photofunia offers high quality photo editing for free. See examples and comparisons to Deefunia, Photo505, Pixiz, Jpgfun, Photomontager and more free photo editing sites. With each service you upload a picture and the picture can be retouched, modified using an easy to navigate interface. Check out the Photofunia Blog for the latest templates!
10. Easy Breezy Cut My Pic
Cut My Pic: Just what it sounds like, this is a way you can fast upload any pic & cut it - adding cool corners and shapes and save to your HD., Baby!
Check out my Font Lust & Other Graphic Desires! Topic where I will try & curate super cool sites that provide digital imaging resources & the latest font news! If you haven't checked it out - I've also blogged about it!

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
My MentorMob Obsession Grows!
Experience this blog posting as a (follow them on Twitter, they super rock!) Curated & interactive playlist!  With How-To Videos!

  • 66+ Digital Photo Fun Sites - My Sqworl Gallery 
  • Larry Ferlazzo's The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects
  • After Google pulls the plug, vultures flock around Picnik
  • I was also very inspired by the Squidoo lenses created  by & quoted him liberally cause he's smart! 
  • Disclaimer! 
    I will NEVER EVER blog about a site because they suck up to me or ask me to. I only blog about sites, resources, books, etc. because I like or love them or find them worthy of my readers attention. I may be a snarky smart @$$ but I can NOT be bought. No emails please requesting me to blog about you - unless I get 5 bags of Tropical Skittles & an XL Hoodie --- kidding!

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    MentorMob & the Secrets of the Remix Mash-Up YouTube Generation

    as seen through the eyes of a curated MentorMob playlist!

    Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
    What is MentoMob
    Mentor Mob Features
    You can easily  add steps to your Playlist. A curated & vetted web link, including a YouTube video (make sure to grab the "share" link not the "watch" link) a file, you can write an article card with a preset headline, subhead, & you can add extra text or a graphic. You can also add a Pop Quiz! (I haven't tried this yet!) Pretty cool, huh?
    Anatomy of a Playlist
    Once you have your steps you can drag & drop to change their order. You can easily add more steps inserting them before or after other steps. You can share by embedding or sharing the direct link with your usual social networks.  
    Embed It, Baby!
    Did you see way above how you can embed a playlist on a blog? Neato, right?! Love me some widgets to add to my Wikispaces page or blog!  I also like how you can get a custom embed size. Read more about adding widgets!
    Things I wish MentorMob could do or I couldn't figure out HOW to do --So, if you have the answer or know how to do it - please share in the comments! Thank you!

    I like a thumbnail pic for each card- seems that the software creates a thumbnail for the Web Link type of card and the video but for the article card even though I have a graphic on each one - somehow it defaults to this less than pretty article icon.
    Speaking of the Article there a way to change the colour of the background? Or are we stuck with white? If you are reading this blog you'll see I love me a black background! It's also on my Electronic Portfolio --I think it looks DRAMATIC! I hope that's an option at some point - or the grey that is the default for the embedded YouTube step, I could love that, too! But srsly,  I LOVE love this mini-blog feature - it's a great transition between steps! Also, it seems as if I can't help myself but to add steps but when I browse through the Academnic MentorMob Playlists it seems as if I'm the only one with ...ummm 35 steps [cough verbose cough obsessed]  
    Is that so wrong!? LOL

    Here's Steve's Amazing Playlist!

    Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!
    ---> UPDATE!
    OK, I gotta say I love companies that actually care about what educators think or want and communicate with us!!! Can you believe it? Eric the super cool "Marketing Hitman" from MentorMob is very approachable on the Twitters! I follow him and @MentorMob and he left a comment! I'll paste it below, doesn't hurt that he's hot, too! amiright?

    Eric PittBuzz the MentorMob Marketing Hitman
    "Great questions! - Adding a custom thumbnail for article steps is on our development roadmap. I will keep you updated when we add that feature - Right now white is the only background color for steps. Any other colors you would like? I'd be happy to pass any suggestions onto our team. - We have found that the most engaging playlists are between 5-10 steps. But pleassssse don't let that deter you from making a playlist that is 3 steps or 33 steps if it suits you. I hope my answers post properly this time!"

    My answer to that would be either the green that matches their interface, black, or the grey they have for the embedded YouTube or vid step. And ummm I guess I went a bit overboard on steps. Maybe I should break my playlist down into parts? Hmmmm

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    The Puffin Wicked Fast iPad Browser

    There's a new tablet & smart phone browser in town, it's for both Apple & Android, it's wicked fast, and it's FREE! (But honestly, I paid for it, keep reading to find out why!)  Puffin is a Beta cloud accelerated web browser for mobile devices.  With the free version you get the FLASH cloud enabled player for 14 days only....UNLESS you use this link and you gotta enter this secret code jembifpahhkka then you get DOUBLE! Or you could scan this QR code!

    It's Worth the Money, Honey!
    But I went ahead and splurged and bought the $2.99 version (search the App store for Puffin Browser) so I'll have cloud enabled FLASH  all the time and Nom nom is it ever SWEET! If you don't believe me, download the FREE version first, use my secret code to get double the days of FLASH, and try it for yourself. Then let me know what you think via Twitter or comments below: I think you'll like it, too!

    How Fast is Wicked Fast?
    The promotional verbage for this App says "Wicked Fast" and yes darlings...they ain't a lyin! I knew this iPad/iPhone browser was different than any other I've tried when it loaded my blog page in mere seconds! Because yes, I know my blog is a SLOW LOADING site due to all my graphics & embedded widgets, what? Is that wrong? Because it feels *so right!* LOL  I'm pretty cheap when it comes to Apps - I've really only paid for a handfull, but this one was really worth it. I decided that in only an hour playing with the FREE version. They won me over fast. Cause see? Look at the screenshot to the left, it loaded my graphically intense webpage AND it played my embedded Harlem Shake video INSIDE the webpage WITH sound! What the what!??

    One of the things that got me right away was the ability to customize my start up page with one of my graphics on both the FREE and the paid version. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know how graphically addicted I am & how I LOVE that! So I uploaded a screenshot of my Daring Librarian Steampunk Greenhouse and Zeppelin in Second Life. It's my computer background for every Apple I touch and I change it seasonally! You can also go full screen with any webpage with a touch and there's a mapping toolbar to be accessed & customized, too!

    Feature this! 
    According to an article about this epic new browser:
    "Puffin is a cloud accelerated internet browser that brings a desktop-like web surfing experience to tablets and smartphones. It renders the full versions of web pages quickly and reliably. It also supports Flash with excellent performance.
    · Renders desktop version websites extremely fast - Like CRAZY FAST!
    · Runs modern web applications with 100% compatibility
    · Works very well on smartphones and performs even better on tablets
    · Displays Flash contents (click to enable)
    · Streams Flash videos (YouTube only)
    · Play Flash games (not optimized and no sound)
    · Multi-tab UI to switch tabs between web pages with a single tap -- smooth!
    · Bookmarks
    · Search suggestions
    · Popup blocker
    · Top sites
    Puffin is a cloud accelerated internet browser that brings a desktop-like web surfing experience to tablets and smartphones. It renders the full versions of web pages quickly and reliably. It also supports Flash with excellent performance." -from  Softpedia

    Mouse Me!
    Another super cool feature is the pop-up  “MousePad.”  Just tap the little mouse icon in the lower left corner of the browser window, and a translucent virtual touchpad appears on screen, which allows you to navigate and click with an arrow-shaped cursor icon.  Great for accurate highlighting and copy and pasting! Is this a gimmick? Sort of, but I like! There's also a pop-up keyboard! See? When you touch in any area that could be typed in - it pops up! But unlike Safari or Axis, you can make it pop up anytime! I like that!

    Important Notes: 
    1. The FREE version is for 17+ only (there are tiny banner adds that occur infrequently which might have grownup content - not ADULT R-rated content but like PG13 crude humour & gaming content) So this is NOT a free browser to put on your school iPads.

    2. This is the BETA version (heck, as Joyce would say, I'm still beta!) and it's likely to change, work out and through some bugs, be updated, and tweaked. They'll giveth and they'll taketh away features and functionalities. That happens with Beta, you can handle that right? I can!
    Happy Ending:
    So Flash me, baby! An iPad browser that shows flash webpages, loads wicked fast, and is easy customizable with your own graphics & artwork?! Yes, please!

    What is YOUR favourite tablet browser? What do you consider important in a tablet browser? 

    Here's a slideshow of all the screenshots on Flickr

    Related links & articles: 
    Puffin Browser official site
    Puffin Web Browser Free for iPhone/iPad 2.3.8
     Puffin Web Browser Free 2.2.3 for iOS review

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    The Harlem Shake & Why It's SO Popular

    Yes, we did it. Inspired by Tim Gwynn's TV studio kids doing the Internet MEME dance sensation The Harlem Shake, Winecoff Style (embedded at the end!) you know we had to make our own!
    What is a MEME, you may ask? Well, I've blogged about this before but here's a quick primer graphic below in case you missed it. Oh and for those of you going to #SCASL13 and #MACUL13 - come see me present QR Codes, I'll be talkin more about them there!
    So, why has this one Meme sprouted like a gajillion versions in the last two weeks? I think because it's fun & easy to film and most importantly easy to edit!
    Basically, it's shot in 2 scenes, the first being one person masked dancing with people around assiduously ignoring them for the first 15 seconds of the song, then when the song says "Harlem Shake" you cut to everyone going wild dancing usually with costumes & props for a total of 30-40 seconds.
    Now, schools, universities, companies, & groups across the country are filming versions.  In fact last week there were an average of 4,000 versions featuring the words "Harlem Shake" being uploaded on YouTube per day! Want to trace the MEME history? As always, I would point you to the Know Your Meme Internet Database.

    While some students are being suspended for posting lewd or unsanctioned versions shot dancing mob-style on cafeteria tables, and where parents are also complaining that school is not the place to film a dance craze, this has definitely cashed in well for the original artist music producer Baauer who is getting a monetized slice with every click on YouTube and was fighting for the top 2 spots in iTunes last week. I confess, I spent $1.29 to buy the song for my iMovie editing fun!

    It was reported that Psy's 'Gangnam Style' made the artist over $870,000 from YouTube alone, media watchers are speculating now how much this craze will generate for artist Baauer.

    How did ours come about? We've got a big MSA (our Maryland standardized test) Pep rally tomorrow and two of my favourite 7th grade English teachers Mrs. Cullision (on right) and Mrs. Krieger (on left) emailed me with the idea (I said, Yes, please!) and of course included our super cool principal, Dr. D, last week. In his wisdom, Dr. D was firm that he didn't want us to use kids during instructional time (ie: why are students dancing & not learning when our standardized testing starts next week? or possible lewd middle school moves #nuffsaid) So we did it with all teachers voluntarily showing up in our library AFTER school! Of course I filmed it and before we did it I showed the Winecoff Elem version as inspiration and kept it showing via the LCD projector to create a Meme inside a Meme! W00t!
    You can find our video on my YouTube Channel, our MurrayHill YouTube Channel, and our SchoolTube Channel.
    Is YouTube blocked in your school? Here's our SchoolTube Version

    Read more:

    How Your Harlem Shake Videos Make Money

    Meet Baauer, the Man Behind the Harlem Shake - The Daily Beast

    Harlem Shake: Baauer cashes in

    'Harlem Shake' gets kids suspended

    Teens suspended over suggestive 'Harlem Shake' video

    Harlem Shake on mid-flight airplane leads to FAA investigation

    Harlem Shake - Winecoff Style! Winecoff Elementary School, North Carolina


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