Photographic stuff

* If you don’t know who or what this is, check the Glossary page.

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My agreement with you…

As I said in a previous post, I’ve accepted my role as the observer and chronicler of RoboFrog. You must understand, though, that watching HIM* is like observing a drunkard’s walk…with a difference. A drunkard’s walk is random. RoboFrog is more like chaos: it looks random, but patterns emerge. I’m confident that HE* knows exactly where HE’s going, though perhaps not the path. Since he’s not particularly communicative, I ask your forbearance. If it seems that I’m sometimes confused, the fact is…I am. But, it usually works itself out.

He goes in many seemingly disconnected directions. When you get to the destination, though, looking back…most of it makes sense. Many of HIS side trips, I don’t find very interesting. Being HIS chronicler, though, I have to follow HIM. You may not be interested either, so here’s my promise to you: I’ll give you a head’s-up with the headings so you know what’s coming. If you’re not interested…skip to the next heading. Each section will be self-contained. Not much will be lost by skipping a section.

WordPress Tip

I was getting a little miffed with WordPress because the edit window is small compared to the amount of monitor real estate with which I have to work. I looked all over for a way to increase the size of the edit window. There’s a fullscreen button, but wow! That’s not what I wanted and the only way I could figure to get out of fullscreen was to hit my browser back button. It just didn’t make sense that I couldn’t adjust the size of the edit window. Finally! I found that by moving the mouse pointer to the bottom of the edit window, left of the scroll arrow, I was given a resizing icon. Clicking and dragging, I could adjust the size of the edit window. Much better!

How we did it…

We aren’t photographers or graphic artists at The Robotic Frog, but we want to be able to take a decent photograph for the blog. Last time, we showed this photograph which we took.

Actually, we’re pretty proud of ourselves. We had to find our camera, get it working, figure out how to mount it on a tripod, take the picture, get it onto our computer, edit it, and get it into the blog.

The picture was taken with an Olympus D-620L. It’s a very old camera. The world has moved well beyond it, but at the time we bought it, it was one of the best digital cameras available. And, it still takes pretty good pictures. (We stole this picture from Amazon.com. Since we’re a really good customer, we hope they will forgive us and not throw us in jail.)

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Here’s the picture we started with:

Before continuing, let us be up-front with you. We’re not new to graphics manipulation programs. About ten years ago, we played around with Photoshop®. Incidentally, that’s where the Olympus D-620L came from as well. It was a hobby, and as a result, we were moderately comfortable with Photoshop®. (The camera, even today, probably hasn’t taken 100 pictures. What a waste!) We didn’t use Photoshop®, though, to edit this photo. We used The GIMP (The Gnu Image Manipulation Program).

The GIMP is a free, open-source graphics manipulation program. It has many of the same features as Photoshop®. I’m not suggesting that The GIMP is as good as Photoshop®. I suspect not, but frankly, I don’t know whether it is or not. What I do know is that Photoshop® costs roughly $650 US. (Assuming you’re not a student or educator.) If you’re a professional, you should choose the best tools that you can afford (and, Photoshop® is one of the best). If, like us, you’re a hobbyist or you want to do simple graphics editing for your blog, take a look at The GIMP. The GIMP is very good; even a lot of professionals use it.

What we did with our photo isn’t terribly sophisticated. We cropped the photo, then used the eraser tool with a soft brush to get rid of the stuff we didn’t want. We flattened the image and saved it as a .png file. That’s it. The image was finished. We imported it into WordPress and we were done. (Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of this. We’ll talk more about the details soon.)

There are a couple of points that we want to emphasize. Though we’re not photographers or graphics artists, we were able to take a decent photograph and edit it to create a reasonably good photo for our blog. And finally, we didn’t have to break-the-bank (spend a lot) to make it happen. There are many ways to do the things you want to do without spending a lot of money. We believe that ideas are more powerful than money.

Did you notice the superscript ® on Photoshop®? Wonder how we did that? Next time…

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