Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas 1960.

This is a famous photo within my family.   It shows me and my brothers with Santa Claus.  The year was 1960.  And thanks to digital technology, I was able to scan it in and preserve it for years to come.  It's one of my favorite Christmas photos. (There are five boys in my family. This photo was snapped a few years before my kid brother Dave arrived on the scene.) And because I run Linux, I'm able to do some pretty amazing things with this photo.  That's because Linux has a load of free software already bundled and installed. Once you install Linux to your computer, these programs are only one click away.  One of the most powerful programs that comes with Linux is The Gimp. Gimp is the Linux "PhotoShop" offering. And it's powerful and easy to use!

I've blogged about Gimp before, but using the 1960 Christmas photo as an example, I want to show you some of Gimp's "one click" tools. These are the filter effects that you can apply to your own photos.  All it takes is opening Gimp's Filters menu, picking the filter, making a few adjustments to the filter (if required), and clicking.  Done.  The effect will be applied.

Let's add a drop shadow to the photo.  Simply go up to the Filters menu, select "Light and Shadow",  and pick the "Drop Shadow" filter.  A dialogue box opens where you can adjust the distance of the shadow, how transparent you want it to be, its blur (the softness of the shadow's edges), and the color of the shadow.  Click and you're done. You'll get a result like the one at left.

Another fun effect is applying a canvas to a photo.  Again, open the filters menu, select "Artistic" and then "Apply Canvas" from the sub-menu. Adjust the properties (Direction and Depth) as to how you want the canvas applied.  You'll be able to see the result in a real time preview before finalizing.  Click "OK" and the canvas will be applied.

And the Gimp also has animation effects.  These are always useful if you want to add a bit of movement or splash to your web site or blog.  Again, with Gimp, all it takes is a couple of clicks.  I'm going to apply the "Spinning Globe" animation filter to the photo. The first thing I do is crop the photo so it's a perfect square. This way, the globe will be a nice round shape and not an oblong egg shape.  I select "Filters" then "Animation" and then "Spinning Globe."  I select the number of frames I want to create, the direction I want the globe to spin, etc.  After Gimp creates all the frames (as layers) I export as a gif animation file, select the delay time and other options, and my animation is created.  (Click on the spinning globe to see the animation in full size.)

When you get Linux, you not only get a safe and secure operating system, you get thousands of software packages that allow you to do anything and everything with your computer. Linux and Gimp  will unleash your computer's power!

Get Linux.

1 comment:

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Hope all is well.
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