March Presentation – How to take better holiday snapshots (from snapshots to great shots!)

These notes may be found at

This presentation will cover how to take better holiday snapshots. It will look at:

1.       Encourage you to take fewer but better shots by taking the time to plan the shot

2.       What equipment that you may need.

3.       How to hold your camera steady while snapping away.

4.       Post production of your snapshots.

5.       Sharing your snapshots with the world!



My opinions only!
This presentation is based on my personal experiences (as well as lack of experience) with my beginning to learn about photography three years ago after I retired. Before that I took only the occasional snapshot of family and friends.

As I became more involved as a beginner, I was amazed at the learning curve involved with photography.

In this discussion, there is a lot that will be left out simply because

  1.  I don’t know about it.
  2. It is not needed for the entry level that is being discussed. I have been asked to keep it as simple as possible.

At the end of each section of this talk, time will be allowed for members of the audience to contribute their knowledge.

Part 1 – Equipment needed

Let’s start with what you will need to be able to get better vacation snapshots:

  • New camera
  • Tripod
  • Manual (RTM)
  • Spare battery,
  • Cables,
  • Extra storage card
  • A storage bag for all the bits and pieces that you pick up along the way (lens spray cleaner, lens wipes, cotton buds, . . . )

Please note that you may be perfectly happy using your iPhone or iPad to take snapshots. But for the purpose of this presentation which is to suggest how you can take better snapshots, my personal preference is for a point and shot camera.

(A) A new camera
I want one that is simple to use and big enough to suit my fingers. If it is too small, then it becomes really frustrating. I would rather not have this:


Nor do I want to have one like this:


I would like a camera that fits easily into my pocket and that I can use easily and quickly.This is the one that I was using a few years ago. It is nice and easy to operate. there is only the On/Off switch, the shutter button, the zoom  toggle and the mode selector dial. That’s all. Easy peasy!

There may be some members who would rather be told what to go out and buy.

If I was buying a new point and shoot camera, after a bit of research, I would get the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS / IXUS 285 HS for less than $300 AU. But there are the other bits and pieces that you may decide that you want or need.

For example –

So that’s almost another $100 of items that you might need to go with the camera.

Pause for comments and suggestions from the audience.

(B) A tripod, manual, spare battery and memory cards, cables, storage bag.
I won’t worry about going into these any further for now. The salesman will be happy to help you with these items.

Part 2 – Holding your camera/iPhone/iPad steady
I’m going to take a break now and let you watch a video on how to hold your camera/iPhone/iPad to reduce the blur of camera shake.

(A) How to hold a point and shoot camera

Note that Tony Page from the video that you just saw also has further information on tripods and monopods that you may want to watch as well.

(B) How to hold an iPhone
I just learned how to do this. Now I can take selfies! The image below shows how to hold your iPhone with one hand so that your thumb can press the shudder.


You can use your left hand to steady the iPhone and to touch the screen for where you want to focus.

Since the only thing that is moving is your thumb, there is much less camera shake.

To me this is a much simpler way than trying to use the increase volume button as an alternative shudder button.

A third way is to use the volume button on your ear plugs cable.

This is an area that I am totally ignorant. Any suggestions from the audience?

Pause for comments and suggestions from the audience.

You can find lots more information about taking iPhone/iPad photos at this website:

(C) How to hold an iPad
The image below shows one way to hold your iPad to take a photo:


Joel Johnson addressed the problem of looking like a dork when you take a photo with an iPad. He summed it up pretty well when he wrote:

Thing is, a tablet is actually a pretty great all-in-one photo studio. You’ve got a bigger screen to use while framing your shot. Photo editing and manipulation after the shot is a lot more pleasant on a tablet than it is on a phone. (So much room for activities!) Gathering friends around a tablet to show them your shots later is much better using a tablet than a phone. It’s all right there. Source:

But we losing the plot a bit here. We started with the aim of taking better holiday snaps by using a camera/iPhone/iPad that we have with us at the moment. Our whole aim is to keep it simple.

So have a go with these ways of holding your camera/iPhone/iPad and see if your snapshots are looking less blurred.

Practice may not make things perfect, but it may help to improve them! Go for a daily walk with your camera/iPad/iPhone and take a bunch of snaps. Don’t worry about what you photograph, just try to hold your devise as steady as you can. When you get home, load the pictures into your large screen desktop and see if there is any improvement.

If not, then you may need to consider using a tripod.

Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

(1) How do you manage to see what is on the LED screen when you are out in bright sunlight?



(D) Using a tripod
A tripod improves your holiday snaps as soon as you begin to use it. First, it gives you a steady platform that lets you eliminate any camera shake.

But more importantly, a tripod forces you to take more time to think about your snapshots. Instead of ten mediocre shots you now get one much improved one.

Setting up with a tripod gets you thinking about composition – the ways that you set up the photo so that it really tells a story and looks fantastic.

Your tripod can be a full size one or it can be a miniature one

So let’s start with this video about setting up a tripod.

It is possible to buy a holder for your iPhone/iPad to mount it on your tripod the same as you would a camera. Here is one that you can get from Harvey Norman for $22.


iPad holder from Harvey Norman.



iPad holder from Harvey Norman



Now we have had few tips on how to reduce blurred snaps due to camera shake. And we have looked at the possibility of getting a tripod.

The other point that goes with a tripod is to learn how to use the timer on your camera. Mine is set to 3 seconds and one shot. This means that I can push the shutter button down to the half way point to get it to focus and to see that it is focused where I want it to be (such as a person’s eyes in a portrait). when it looks OK, I push the button down the rest of the way and step back. The timer kicks in and the three second delay gives the camera and the tripod a chance to settle down so that there is no blur or shake.  Next, the camera takes the shot. And that should give me a snapshot without blur or camera shake.

But the best is yet to come. Let’s look at how you can compose your snapshots and with a little bit of extra time and planning your snapshots will improve dramatically.

Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

Part 3 – Composition
The Nikon USA website has a good explanation of what composition is:

You may not realize it, but every time you bring your camera up to your eye you’re making decisions about composition. Simply put, composition is how you choose to frame the picture you’re about to make. Many books have been written about composition, and while no two people are likely to frame the same scene the same way, there are some general guidelines that can help you improve your photos and make them more interesting and engaging. (Source:

Here is a short introduction from the same website to the basic five rules of photographic composition:

Now let me show you two more clips from Mike Brown. He may be a bit difficult to understand with his strong accent, but it is worth the effort. These will follow up on two of the rules from the Nikon video that we just watched.

The first one is about the rule of thirds:

The second clip is about leading lines:

Mike Brown had what is pretty much a free intro to improving your photography on his YouTube channel at Then he as his own commercial website at I hope that you enjoy his sense of humour and tips and tricks as much as I have.

This is just a brief introduction to the world of composition. But I cannot think of any better way for you to improve your holiday snapshots then by spending the time and effort to plan and compose your shot before pressing the shutter button. Sorry. That should be SQUEEZING the shutter button.

Well, we are getting towards the end. We have looked at what you might need for equipment, how to hold the camera steady, and how to compose your shots. What is next is taking your images from your camera to your computer and then going through and culling the ones that are not worth keeping. I know that this is a hard step for you. But you need to do it.

Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

Part 4 – Saving, storing, deleting and sharing the photos
There are a variety of ways that you can save and store your photos. I am only going to discuss the ways that I use. When I am finished, I will open the floor again to advice from the peanut gallery. For those of you that you used to watch Howdy Doody like I did.

(A) I did it my way (with a cable!)
I just use a cable from my camera/iPhone/iPad to my laptop/desktop computer.

There are a whole heap of programs that you can use to import and organise your snapshots. Some are free, like Picassa and Photos. While others. Such as Photoshop Elements and Lightroom, you have to buy.

Now for the bad news. The AUSOM photography SIG has a guideline of one photo worth keeping for every hundred that they snap. A professional photographer expects to get one great photo once a year. This means that you have to be ruthless in deleting images that you will not use.

The normal procedure is to import your images, go through them one by one and rating them (three stars to look at again). Deleting all that have no stars. Repeating the procedure but rating some with four stars. Deleting the three star photos. And finally, repeating it again with a five star rating for the ones that you still like best. Then delete all the four star images.

Be ruthless!

(B) Using a wireless connection
There is a large blank space here because I do not use a wireless connection or the cloud for storing photos. Any comments and suggestions from the audience would be appreciated.


Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

(C) Storing your photos
Normal guideline is to save to your computer and separate backups to another onsite hard disk drive and an off site hard disk drive. The thinking here is that if your house burns down, you still have the spare off site hard disk drive that you can access.

There are some excellent articles in past issues of AUSOM News by Dick Johnson that will quickly set you up with a dependable back up system.

Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

(D) Sharing your holiday snaps
Any time that I go to save an image, I am given a choice of ways to share it – Flickr, Notes, Message, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing, Save to PDF to iBooks, Twitter, and Facebook. How could I forget Pinterest and all those others?

About the only ones that I use would be Flickr and Dropbox. It is nice to know that I have all those options for sharing my holiday snaps. But I will just stay with my Flickr and Dropbox account

Pause for Comments and suggestions from the audience.

Part 5 – Post Production (How to turn a good snap into a great photo!)
For me, the part that I enjoy most is the post production where I can edit an image, print it,  frame it and put it up on my I Love Me wall (where no one else can see it).

The software that I use includes Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, and Lightroom. These all get mentioned in the Photoshop SIG, so come along and join in the fun. There are also free editing programs such as GIMP and Picassa that do similar editing effects.

The images that I have shown below are before and after images done with Photoshop elements



There will be a short demonstration of using the different edit modes in Photoshop Elements to entice members to come along to the Photoshop session that follows this presentation.



Thanks for coming along for the presentation today and I hope that you will try some of the ideas.

If you have any questions, please email me at


That’s all, folks!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

In with the new, out with the old (including me!)

As consumers, we are told that it is our civic duty to upgrade to the newest and greatest piece of software or hardware that is being touted by the manufacturers.

This article will look at the latest and greatest in social media – Tumblr.

The article may be found on my blog at


The big problem previously with blogs was that you had to attract an audience to your personal blog. Not only did you have the problem of creating interesting posts on a regular basis, but you were supposed to search for similar blogs and add informative and witty comments to them. This was done in the vain hope that they would respond back to your intelligent comment with something more than “Please go soak your head.”

The attractiveness of Tumblr is that you do not set out to gain an audience. You are doing for your own pleasure.

Adam Rifkin’s ( definition of Tumblr is “Tumblr has become the place where young people express themselves and their ACTUAL INTERESTS with their ACTUAL FRIENDS.”

So please do not feel bad if you are like me and just don’t get it!

A Bit of History

Tumblr was created in 2007 by David Karp (. It’s original purpose was to provide a platform for micro blogging (post is limited to one paragraph in length). Tumblr uses the term reblogging which is similar to Liking a page in Facebook.

Signing up for a Tumblr account

Simplest thing is to go to the Tumblr website and sign up.


My tumblr website is

Second, a box comes up that asks you for your age and to tick “Yes, I have read the terms of agreement.”

Image 2 - Age and TOA

Lie gracefully and put that you are 25 years old. This will increase your access to all areas of Tumblr. <:0)

Third, you get to choose six blogs to follow. The simplest way is to choose the first six blogs that show up.

Image 3 - choose blogs to follow

After getting past that, you can go to the Choose blogs to Foolow and use the Search box to find blogs of interest to you personally. You can also delete the first six that you started with..

Fourth step is to click on the  Next button after you choose six blogs to follow. You are asked to go check your email and click on the email link that verifies that you want to open a Tumblr account.

The fifth step is to fill out or to skip the profile page. I skipped it.

Image 4 - tumblr profile page

Ready to Rock and Roll

Here is where you get to try it yourself.

Now you are ready to try adding some text, photos, quotes, etc. using the icons shown here.

Image 5 - tumblr icons

The audio looks promising. You can listen to music for free. I have only tried it once for Tony Rices’ California Autumn bluegrass track from the late 60s.

All for this month. More to come in September

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Get Started Using Layers And Selections in Photoshop

Note: These notes and images may be downloaded from


These last few weeks have seen my getting better with my camera and wanting to be creative with the photos that I have taken.

I just wish that I was getting better at trying to describe a simple and quick task in Photoshop. Hopefully this article will be of use to the AUSOM members.

Last month I reported that I had about 60 hours of Photoshop tutorials from to watch and then about another 240 hours of practicing what I had just watched. The task was quite daunting. Especially when I kept falling asleep after 15 minutes of watching the video clips. Funny. That is my same reaction to when I had to sit through family movies when I was ten years old.

I am still more of a read from a book/pdf/screen person than I am to sit back and watch. So I was pleased to find another good source of Photoshop instruction from the Santa Rosa community college in California. You can go to their website at and download the two pdfs for $15 each.

I feel better about using the pdfs to get a better understanding of Photoshop. For myself, I still find that I learn better by reading a bit , then trying the exercise in the notes, and then applying it to one or two of my own photos.

I hope to have a steady stream of these short articles for you in the months ahead. Please refer any questions to the AUSOM Photoshop gurus – Pat Tasker and Barbara Gibson. Or you can email me at (

Let’s get started!


A selection is simply choosing part of your photo that you would like to change. You could select the petals of a rose and then change the colour of them. Or you could select the head of your ex husband/wife and remove them ever so delicately from a family photo. My original family photo of three generations of Oldhams has been reduced from the thirty five that we started with down to about twenty five – <:0)

There are several selection tools that you can use. I will leave it to you to find out more about them using Google, YouTube and the AUSOM library.

This article will look at using the Magic Wand tool (After all, I am called Magical Bill!) and adjusting its tolerance level to select the sky in a photo and replace it with something more interesting such as clouds, some one’s head, etc.


I got stuck trying to think of how I would explain layers to someone. The best way is to get three or four A4 transparencies and use them to slide around in the stack and to change the order in the stack. I did use Google to find an explanation that I was happy with. (I know, Monty, never use a preposition to end a sentence with.)

Dear Reader, I just about fell out of my seat while listening to some quiet Chopin sonatas played by Yuja Wang. I clicked on a couple of the Google YouTube video clips to open in another tab. And this is what I got!

I have made a note to avoid anything from MDGraphicx in the future so as to save my ears and avoid any more nasty surprises. Also to keep the volume down a bit.


Here is a photo that I took last week of the corner of the Boroondarra Sports Complex (BSC).

Bill's photo of the local sports stadium

Bill’s photo of the local sports stadium

What I would like to do in this project is to show you how to use layers and selection to replace the sky with some clouds to make a bit more interesting.

This is just one way of doing this. The Photoshop SIG can probably come up with another five or six ways of doing the same thing. Just use what you are comfortable with.

Step 1 – Resetting Photoshop

(a) Open up Photoshop and set the workspace to Essentials. The upper right hand corner should look like this.

Setting to the Essentials workspace

Setting to the Essentials workspace

Step 2 – Open the BSC image in Photoshop. Notice that you have a box on the right hand side called layers. The BSC photo shows up as a background layer.

 BSC photo in Photoshop with layers

BSC photo in Photoshop with layers

The width of your monitor will determine how much space that you have here between the image and the layers box on the right.

Step 3 – Search Google Images for an image of clouds that appeals to you. Here is a video clip that could be helpful – (

Resize the image to the same size as the BSC photos. This was covered in the AUSOM February magazine. Otherwise you will find the size of a single cloud completely fills up the space of the sky. By making it a similar size, you have more choice of which part of the cloud image to put in place of the sky.

Open it up in Photoshop to use later on in this project.

Clouds look better some times than a plain blue sky.

Clouds look better some times than a plain blue sky.

Step 4 – Making a selection

(a) Click on the Magic Wand tool from the left side of the Photoshop window. It looks like this.

Magic Wand

Magic Wand


(1) is the Magic Wand tool.

(2)  is the selection.

(3) controls the tolerance or how many similar colours will be chosen. You should have something that looks like this.

 Marching Ants show the selection outline.

Marching Ants show the selection outline.

(c) The dashed lines are where the Magic Wand has selected the blue sky.

(d) What we want to do is to copy the building and trees into another layer.

(e) But first we need to click on Select>Inverse to accomplish this. So now everything except the sky is selected.

(f) Then click on Edit>Copy to get ready to paste this to another layer.

Step 5 – Creating a new layer

(a) Click on the menu bar and select Layer>New>layer. It should look like this.

Create a New Layer

Create a New Layer

(b) This will also show up as another layer in the layers panel on the right side of the Photoshop screen.

Layers Panel

Layers Panel

(c) This will give you the following dialogue box.

Dialogue box

Dialogue box

(d) Change the Name to BSC photo. It should look like this.

Renaming the new layer

Renaming the new layer

(e) Make sure that the BSC photo layer is the active layer. This means it should be dark blue like the diagram above.

Step 6 – Click on Edit>Paste. This should paste the building and trees into the new layer (BSC photo). Does it look like this?

Pasting the BSC photo

Pasting the BSC photo


Whoops. I forgot to tell you that you can a layer off and on by clicking on the mysterious eyeball. Try clicking on the background layer eyeball to turn that layer off. Now does it look like the image above?

Turning off a layer

Turning off a layer

Step 7 – Creating the Sky layer

(a) Create a new layer as you did before by clicking on Layer>New>Layer. And name something original such a Sky.

(b) Click and drag this layer below the BSC Photo layer so that it looks like this.

Rearranged layers

Rearranged layers

Step 8 – Copy and paste the Clouds into the new layer.

(a) Click on the Clouds image in Photoshop to open it again.

Clouds in Photoshop

Clouds in Photoshop

(b) Click on Edit>Copy.

(c) Close the Clouds file.

Close the Clouds file

Close the Clouds file

(d) Click on the Sky layer to make it the active layer in the BSC photo file.

(e) Click on Edit>Paste to copy the Clouds into the Sky layer.

(f) Now click on the Move tool. Click and drag to find the section of clouds that best floats your boat. Mine looks like this.

BSC with Clouds - woo hoo!

BSC with Clouds – woo hoo!

(Image 16 – BSC with Clouds)

When you try this at home, there may be a delay in the movement of the clouds. This will depend upon how powerful your computer is. Mac users seldom have a problem with this. Only those silly enough to use a PC (such as myself!).

Step 9 – Winding things up.

(a) First, save the file as yourname_bill_is_a_great_magician.psd. This will save it as a Photoshop file that you can come back and change if you want to.

(b) Second, you want to save it as a file without the layers to make it a smaller file. Do this by clicking on Layer>Flatten Image.

(c) Third, do a save as a .jpg file titled yourname_bill_is_having_me_on.jpg.


I hope that you will try out the Project 1 described in this article. Was the article helpful?

If you are wildly happy, please write a comment on my blog ( to that effect. Better yet, come up to me in the meeting and say, “Bill, I liked your article and it was a big help to me. Thank you. When is your next article?”

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Get to know your camera!

Note: These notes and images may be downloaded from


Now that I have retired, I am enjoying having the time to get to know my camera (a Canon point and shoot that is four years old) and to use Photoshop to experiment with ways to change and combine my photos.

Observations from the last two weeks

  1. If a picture is blurry to start with, then just delete it. Spend your time on the great photos that you have taken rather than on the crummy ones. Here are some of the possible reasons that your image is blurred.

Image 1 - Reasons for a blurry photo

How to NOT to take a photo.

Image 2 - don't do this

Try this instead

  1. Hold your camera steady!
  2. Plant your feet firmly (on the ground!).
  3. Hold the camera with your left forefinger on the vertical side of the camera and your thumb along the bottom edge of the camera. This leaves your right forefinger free to perform miracles with the zoom lever and the shutter button.
  4. Brace your elbows against your sides to help steady the camera. Hopefully you look a bit like this.

Image 3 - try this instead

  1. Use the telephoto setting to compose your picture
  2. Now for the hardest part of all!

i.      Press your shutter button to the half way position to set the focus on the point that you have in mind (could be a bird 5m away for the focal point or maybe the tree behind the bird that is 10m away).

ii.      Now, gently squeeeeeze the shutter button!

Image 4 - squeeze!

 iii.      Download your photos to your computer, see the great improvement, reach around and pat yourself on the shoulder. Good job!

Other ways to steady your camera

  1. Brace your body against a tree or a wall.
  2. Use a railing or a bench to be a support for your camera
  3. From the AUSOM SIG – Tie a string to your camera that reaches to ground level. You stand on the end of the string on the ground and then left your camera until the string is taut. This helps steady your camera as well.

RTM – Read the Manual!

  1. You will be amazed by what you find in the instruction manual for your camera. Don’t try to learn it all at once. Just a bit each day. And sit down and play with your camera. Take as many pictures as you like of your desk, bookshelves, computer monitor, etc. Just take the time to practice what you have read in the manual.

Get a cheap tripod (I got mine for free from the hard rubbish collection).

  1. Read in the manual how to set the timer on the camera to 2 seconds.
  2. Get your picture set up and press shutter halfway to get your focus.
  3. Now press the shutter and step back. The camera will go off without you accidentally jiggling it or causing to wobble.
  4. Voila! Instantly improved photos. Be warned. This does not work all that well for moving objects.


Was this any help to you? Have you actually tried to use it? How did you go?

If you are wildly happy, please write a comment on my blog to that effect. Better yet, come up to me in the meeting and say, “Bill, I liked your article and it was a big help to me. Thank you. When is your next article?”

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Resizing images in Photoshop

Note: These notes and images may be downloaded from


This is the first year that I have been involved in teaching Photoshop.

I have learned a lot of techniques from Greg Bowden’s tutorials. Have a look at some of the sample pages on his website – ( Only $18.70/book. What a bargain!

The result is that I have my head filled with lots how to techniques to try in Photoshop. However, What I lack is the sense of when and why to use the different features shown in the Guided Computer Notes.

What I am trying to do now is to create the connections between all my isolated facts so that I will know the how and why and when of working with Photoshop.

What follows is one of the techniques that I understand a bit better now.

I hope to have a steady stream of these short articles for you in the months ahead. Please refer any questions to the AUSOM Photoshop guru – Pat Tasker. Or you can email me at (

Quality of the Photograph

For the purpose of this article, please start with a photo of your own that is IN FOCUS! Otherwise, you will not be able to any differences when you resize. If it looks crummy to start with, it will still look crummy after being resized.

How to simply and quickly resize your photos in Photoshop

These notes are based on Deke McClelland’s Photoshop One on One from or in print – Adobe Photoshop CS5 one-on-one by deke McClelland

Summary of the Steps

Here are the five steps:

  1. Resample off
  2. Set Resolution to
    1. 300dpi for print
    2. 72 dpi for screen
  3. Resample on.
  4. Type in the height and width of the resized image.
  5. Resize – bicubic for reduction most often used.

Detailed Instructions

Here are the details of how to resize images in Photoshop.

The photo that I am using is one of Fugly – a cat that hangs around the house most of the time. He is also addressed as Smelly, Stinky, Bugalugs and Puss Puss.

Here he is in all his glory along with the dialogue box from clicking on Image/Image Size. (You have opened Photoshop, haven’t you?)

Image 1 Version 2

Because I grew up with inches, feet and pounds, I still have to set my image size in inches rather than cm.

When you look at the box above, it has two measurements – pixel dimensions and document size. The only one that matters here is the document size. Forget about pixel dimensions.

Most pictures that you take these days with a camera will be able to produce anything from A4 (21 by 30 cm) to A3 (30 by 42 cm) size of a print. Most people prefer a smaller size image to print. So I will be thinking in terms of a 6” by 4” photo to put into the family album (if I actually had one).

In the image size box, the document size is shown as 15.2 by 20.3 inches. I want to resize this down to a height of 6”.

Step 1 – Turn off the Resample Image box.

If your eyes are as bad as mine, then you will need to increase the size of the image to get the details of the numbers. Or there is always a magnifying glass. The easiest way is to use Control +scroll with your mouse button to zoom in on the image.

Image 2 Version 2

Step 2 – Set the Resolution

Since I want this to be a printed photograph I will use 300 dpi. If you want photo quality, you might set this at 600 dpi. This is a much discussed point among Photoshop users.

Note that when you change the resolution to 300, the height and width of the Document size change with it. Do not worry about this! Just accept it. As Dick Johnson says, “Trust me!”

Image 3 Version 2

Step 3 – Turn the Resample Image back on.

Image 4 Version 2

Step 4 – Enter the height /width.

Since I want the new size to stay in proportion, I only need to enter one of the new dimensions. In this case, I typed in 6” and the width was done for me as 4.5”.

Image 5 Version 2

Step 5 – Selecting the appropriate formula (bicubic, nearest neighbour, bilinear, etc.)

Click OK! And you are done. Hopefully, you have resized your photo and it looks good.Image 6

Here is the final shot of Fugly resized to a 3” height so that it fits into the magazine article without taking up too much space.

Final Fugly


Was this any help to you? Have you actually tried to use it? How did you go?

If you are wildly happy, please write a comment on my blog to that effect. Better yet, come up to me in the meeting and say, “Bill, I liked your article and it was a big help to me. Thank you. When is your next article?”

That’s all, folks!

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Animoto – down and dirty or short and sweet?

Animoto – Down and Dirty or Short and Sweet?

(Notes are at
Animoto is a free Web 2.0 software tool that lets you combine videos/photos with music/voice and add text as well to produce a 30 second animated video clip for free.

The good thing is that it is so intuitive that you only need a few minutes of trying it out before you have a really impressive video production.

What is even better is that it can be stored in the cloud for free. All that you do is email the link to your family and friends.

Using Animoto

(1) Go to the Animoto website (
(2) Watch the sample video. The link is on the main page. Or go to the sample videos page. This is a good time to get cup of coffee or tea while it loads.

(3) Sign up for the Lite account which is free. Or sign up for a free six month Animoto Plus account by using this code – a4esymt7973dc.

(4) Decide on a theme for your video creation. Click on the Colour Fold theme to begin with. See the big letters saying “Purchase video”? You want to click underneath this where it says in very small letters “Make one for free.” Go get another cup of coffee/tea while waiting for it to do its thing.

(5) Click on the button for add Pics and Vids. Choose five or six photos that you want to use. Upload them. Go get another cup of coffee/tea (again).
Here is what my screen looked like when I got to this point.

Change the order of the photos if you so desire by simply clicking and dragging them to a new spot in the lineup.

(6) Pick some music or use an mp3 of your own. Garage Band users should use Flatt and Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Breakdown. You can use one of the Animoto tunes if you wish. Preview it by clicking on the play button at the bottom of the screen. Or you can record your voice and use that instead of music. I chose No Mercy by the Mother Truckers. With a band name like that, they must be good! No need to get a cup of coffee/tea now. Instead go to the bathroom after those first three cups of coffee/tea start to go through you.

(7) Add some text. There will be no tick mark appearing here for unknown reasons,

(8) Click on the button that says “Produce video.” Go to the toilet again while waiting. Remember that all the good health books sat to drink 2 L of water a day.

(9) Click on the video play button and see the wonder that you (actually Animoto ) have made.

(10) Here is the link to my animoto video.

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Monday, October 10, 2011


Tonight I just came across two websites that I really look forward to going back and spending more time there.

Thanks to Roland (my mentor for VITTA 3in6 video competition a few years ago) and Suzy (whom I have never met) for providing me with a new direction for my interest in teaching and learning.

I am using this post as the start of the open learning course for keeping a personal journal of what happens along the way.

All for tonight and back to corrections for Year 11 IT.

Cheers, Bill

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