Archive for the ‘MacOS Graphics’ Category

Check for Legibility on Your Website

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of ColorSelector

Just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should do that thing. You could put white text on a white background on your website, but that doesn't mean that it's good for your visitors. If you have a story to tell, it's important that your visitors can actually read it, so you need to choose wisely in picking colors for the text and backgrounds on your website or in your desktop app. You could stick to safe but boring combinations of black and white, or you could guess what might be a good set of contrasting colors, or you could check out ColorSelector.

ColorSelector helps you to make sure that the text on your page can be read by your visitors. It tests your combinations not only for light and dark contrasts, but also keeps in mind color combinations that could get in the way of visitors with various types of color blindness. Enter color values directly as decimal- or hex values, use the built-in palettes, or the eyedropper tool can grab colors off the screen. Now everybody can see what you're talking about.

You can download ColorSelector for free. It's available for both Mac and Windows systems.

Download ColorSelector

Police Sketch Artist

Friday, October 21st, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Identikit

If you're a fan of the police drama on television, you may marvel as the ability of the detectives to solve their cases by the final commercial. Or you may sit there scratching you head wondering "why didn't they pick up on THAT clue?". One of the resources they rely on is the police sketch artist. Given just a few pieces of information, these forensic artists put together a drawing of the suspect, leading to their ultimate capture and arrest. So how would you like to give it a try, but without all that pesky training and such?

Identikit is an app that lets you put together drawings of faces similarly to how those artists do it. Working with nose, eyes, eyebrows, and mouth, you can change the shape of the face, move items relative to each other, and even add hair. Add your own elements if you like. And at the end, you'll have your sketch. While it may not be enough to put the bad guys away, you'll at least have a greater appreciation for the work those artists, and their real-life counterparts, do.

Identikit is a free download. It's a Java app, so should be able to run on any system with the appropriate Java runtime.

Download Identikit

Capture and annotate screenshots

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Snaplr

Taking a screenshot is easy. There are a bunch of tools—some even included with your operating system—that let you grab something you see off the screen and save it, maybe to insert into a document, or maybe to attach to an email. If you need to do something with your image—maybe add a note or draw an arrow or circle to draw attention to a particular feature of your picture—then you have to open your image file in a paint program and add that there. Or maybe you could use a tool that lets you do all that at one time.

Snaplr is a screenshot tool that also lets you edit your picture in the same tool. Grab your picture, add arrows, lines, boxes, or even write directly on the image, and then save the image to a file or drag it directly into an email. Makes the whole process a lot quicker, and lets you get on with your life, rather than getting bogged down with the tool itself.

Snaplr is a free download. It's available for both Mac and Windows (Vista or better).

Download Snaplr

Screenshots for social networks

Friday, August 19th, 2011

runs as Online Serviceruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of TinyGrab

Whichever social networks you're active in, you're there because you want to share stuff. Whether it's your thoughts and ideas, or maybe your pictures, you're looking for an easy and painless way to get it all out there. One way to help with getting your screenshot images out into the world is with TinyGrab.

TinyGrab is both a desktop application and an online service. Once you install the app on your system, hit the trigger keys, drag the crosshairs across your display, and off your image goes. In return for your not-so-hard work, a URL for the destination of that image is stuck on your clipboard, which will let you paste it into IMs, emails, tweets, and so forth. You've now shared that interesting thing from your desktop to all your dedicated followers out there in social network-land, and you didn't have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make it happen.

You can grab desktop clients for Mac (OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and later) and Windows (XP and later, with .NET ver 4 installed).

Download TinyGrab

Free watermarking software for your digital images

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Star Watermark

It's nice to share. A lot of what goes on online is built on the notion that you're going to be sharing something. That's fine, until you find yourself in a position where that thing you're sharing is something you'd rather collect a few bucks for. Like an electronic image.

If you're in the business of selling images, or even of just making images available for your visitors and customers to look at, you probably want to make sure that everybody knows where those electronic pictures came from. Sticking a watermark on your images reminds everybody of their origin, so that then can come running back to buy the non-watermarked version from you, or at least to learn more about you from that watermarked sample you made available.

Star Watermark is a tool that lets you put watermarks on your digital images. Select your image and then add the particulars for your watermark. Type the word or phrase you want to use, pick the font and size, and then add whatever decoration you like, including color, shadow, and transparency. Save your watermarked image and you won't have to worry that folks are going to use your image in ways you didn't intend.

Star Watermark is an application for your Mac. It runs under OS X 10.6 and requires an Intel processor.

Download Star Watermark

Add captions to your digital images

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of TextnPic

Who are the people in that photo? Back in the day, you could just flip your snapshot over and scribble the names on the back. But now that you're shooting digital photos, you don't have anything to flip over. So how do you propose to keep track of who's there or where that picture was taken?

TextnPic is a tool that lets you add a caption to your digital images. Just drag the picture into the application window and start typing. It supports multiple lines of text, and allows you the flexibility to add a border, tweak background colors, and even rotate and resize the image. When you're all done, save your handiwork in either JPG or PDF format. Never again will you have to figure out whether that's Uncle Bob or Cousin Fred in that photo.

TextnPic is a free download. It's a Mac application and runs under OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and later.

Download TextnPic

Printable Luggage Tags

Monday, June 27th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Printable Luggage Tags

If you're going on a trip, you're going to bring luggage. Unless you can live for a day or a week with just a toothbrush shoved in your pocket, you'll want to have a change of clothes or two, some toiletries, as well as a camera, sporting goods, and other toys. Take those suitcases, trunks, and duffel bags and pack them full of stuff, and head off to the terminal. Whether you check your bags or try to stick them under the seat in front of you, you need to identify them—after all, everybody else has that same exact bag that you have. Time for a luggage tag or two.

Printable Luggage Tags offers a big range of luggage tags you can download, personalize, and print. Choose from luggage tags with animal themes, images from nature, sports, or plain old luggage tags. Luggage tags come ten to a page and can be printed on heavy paper or on special business card stock. Choose from PDF versions to print out and enter your information by hand, or grab a Word DOC version, where you can type your name and contact information into the luggage tags before you print them out.

Printable Luggage Tags are free to download, so grab as many as you need. And bon voyage.

Download Printable Luggage Tags

Add a border to your digital images

Friday, May 27th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of BorderMaker

Sometimes what a picture really needs to set it off is a nice frame. Look at all the framing shops that have spring up over the past several years to see how important that can be. So if you've got a Picasso sitting in the corner collecting dust, it's easy to grab it and head off to get it framed. But what about the digital images on your computer? While they may not be the next Matisse, they might look better wrapped in a nice frame. Unfortunately, you're probably going to have a problem jamming that picture frame into your computer.

BorderMaker might be the alternative you're looking for. Rather than shoving a bunch of fancy molding into your hard drive, this app will help you craft the just-right border your digital images need. You decide the size and shape you want, and before you know it, your pictures are all fancied up. If you like, you can also add text and titles ("How I Spent My Summer Vacation"), or watermark them with your copyright information, or even all the vital info regarding camera settings when you took that great shot.

BorderMaker is a free download. It's available for Linux, Mac, and Windows machines.

Download BorderMaker

Image converter and resizer

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of XnConvert

Some big jobs require a fully-packed toolbox and a highly-trained mechanic; other somewhat smaller undertakings can be completed with nothing more complicated than the screwdriver from the kitchen junk drawer and the neighbor kid. If you've got big image manipulation tasks to take care of, you probably want Photoshop, GIMP, or some other similar full-featured app; but if your needs are more modest, you might get away with something a bit smaller.

XnConvert is a tool you can use to tweak your digital images. Not a full-on image editor, you can use it to resize, rotate, and watermark your images, as well as playing with brightness, shadows, and more. It supports hundreds of image formats (I didn't know there were hundreds of image formats), so you probably can't find a file it won't handle. And it's cross-platform, running on Linux, Mac, and Windows machines, with both 32- and 64-bit flavors, and has been localized for over a dozen languages.

XnConvert is a free download.

Download XnConvert

Batch process image files

Friday, May 13th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of SmallImage

Sometimes smaller is better. That great big luxury car may be nice, but when you're looking for a parking space that subcompact looks a lot nicer. Or the super-duper sized soda at the convenience store looks like a bargain, until you have to actually drink a half gallon of lemon-lime all at once.

SmallImage is a tool that can help make your large digital images smaller. And by smaller, we mean both in terms of the number of pixels high-and wide the picture is, as well as the size of the actual image file itself. This app is designed to help you batch process your JPEG files, scaling and resizing them to a uniform size, as well as tweaking image meta-data and even stripping out preview icons. Play your cards right and that big pile of pictures will become a smaller pile, just the right size for your website, blog, or image gallery.

You can download your copy of SmallImage for free. It's a Mac application and runs under Leopard (OS X 10.5) and later.

Download SmallImage