Photo Collages

Looking for ways to present your images? If you have a series of pictures, slideshows are often created, but another method to consider is the photo collage. Collages are helpful to show images from a single event or location or that are made around a theme. There are a couple ways of doing this.

  1. Purchase a collage frame that allows you to place several photos within the frame.
  2. Use software to combine several photos within one image.

Collage Frame

Frames accept different sized prints, number of prints and arrangement of images. The collage shown below is one I created with a couple photos spread across a couple frames.

Create a Collage in Software

There are a variety of programs that allow you to create one image combined from several different sources. There are programs that are dedicated to this purpose and others that have it as a component, i.e. Photoshop Elements or GraphicConverter (version 10 and up). Here I show some steps for creating one in GraphicConverter.

 Procedure in GraphicConverter

  1. Select one or several photos from the browser, click the “Collage” button on the toolbar and they will appear in a dialog box.
  2. Add or remove images here and set options for the appearance. This includes margins and type of layout.
  3. Click “Done” to open the image in the image editor.

The collage and settings can be saved in a special format if you want to edit the settings or images later. Save from the “File” menu. Note as far as I can tell to open the file (.gccollagepkg extension) one needs to select the “Open with Finder” menu item.

Procedure in Photoshop Elements

Collages can be made in Photoshop Elements

  1. Select photos in the Project Bin in the editor.
  2. Select Photo Collage in the Create pane.
  3. Choose options. After the collage is presented there is an option to choose between Advanced and Basic modes for editing.
  4. Options are provided for further customizing, including backgrounds and layouts
Photo collage of images from Chilliwack Wetlands

Photoshop Elements photo collage

(30/05/2017 updated with Photoshop Elements info, tested with Photoshop Elements 10)

Quick Tip: Setting up external editors in GraphicConverter

GraphicConverter provides a great selection of features including browsing and image editing. For those occasions where you need to use another image editor it is easy to send the picture from the browser to open in your desired program. There are two different ways to do this.

  1. Right click and in the menu select “Open With”.
  2. Add the “Open With” button in the toolbar.

The external editors need to be set up initially to make them available. The editors are set in the preferences.

Opening from the menu

Preferences -> General -> External Editors

GraphicConverter Preferences

Add external editors in preferences

In the window add any photo editors you have available here using the + button. More than one program can be listed here. In the browser right click on the image, select “Open With” and the list of applications will be shown. It can also be accessed from the main menu Edit -> Edit With.

Opening from the toolbar

Preferences -> Browser -> Misc

GraphicConverter Preferences

Add preferred editor in preferences

For the option “Open With” Application set your preferred program.

Right click on the toolbar to customize it and add the “Open With” button to the toolbar.

Affinity Photo is the program chosen here, which means that clicking on the “Open With” button on the toolbar will open a selected image in Affinity Photo. The setting here will also affect when opening from the menu by placing the chosen program at the top of the list.

 

Internet Archive Documenting the Web for 20 Years

Today the Internet Archive, an important resource documenting the world wide web, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.  A key feature has been the scanning and archiving of websites over the years. Using the WayBackMachine you can type in a URL and see what the website looked like in the past.

The Internet Archive also provides access to a large number of contributed text and multimedia resources. Below are a couple links to some Apple related resources.

Fall Colours

The rain is coming down and the leaves on the trees are changing colours.

Apple Photos tip: Filter your pictures by camera model

With an individual picture the camera model is shown in Photos if you right click on a picture and select Get Info. There may be times when you want to sort your photos by the camera you took them with. For instance if you want to separate out the pictures taken from an iPhone or iPad from pictures taken from a DSLR.

Using Smart Albums it is possible to have Apple Photos display your photos based on the camera you took them with. If you have RAW images in the program then you can filter those out too.

In Photos select File -> New Smart Album… This will bring up a dialog box to set the options for the album.

  • For the album name type in an album name such as the name of your camera
  •  For the criteria select Camera Model is (your camera model) Photos may not get every one so try includes instead of isiPad mini smart album
  • To display images in RAW format add the following
  • Match all conditions
  • add a line (press the + button) and specify Filename ends with (add the filename extension for your RAW files)

RAW smart album

A fix for low contrast sites in Safari

Many websites still provide low contrast for text, even though it can make it difficult to read. One solution in Safari is by creating a CSS file that the browser can use in addition to the designer’s and then specify in Safari’s preferences.

  1. Create a blank file. This is best done in a plain text editor, such as BBEdit or TextWrangler. If using another program make sure the file is saved in plain text.
  2. Type the following line in the file to provide black text on a white background.
    p, ul, ol, li { background-color: #fff; color: #000; !important; }
  3. Save the file on your computer in plain text format with a name such as “override.css”.
  4. Within the “Advanced” pane of Safari’s preferences select the option “Style Sheet” and then “Other…” from the menu to locate your file.
  5. Choose “None Selected” to remove the changes at any time.

Note the stylesheet won’t change all of the text, but should affect the main content. If you know some basic CSS you can adjust it to work best for you and use when needed.

For web designers

If you are a web designer, please consider your visitors and remember that there are factors beyond just making your website look nice. Even if high profile companies like Apple have this issue doesn’t mean it should be followed.

Recently I changed the theme for this blog with the above in mind. A new theme also provided for a current and responsive theme suitable for mobile devices.

Affinity Photo for Mac with Windows Announced for the Future

Last summer a new advanced image editing program for the Mac was released called Affinity Photo. The program was the second graphics program released in the Affinity line after Affinity Designer, an illustration program. More programs for the Mac have been promised including Affinity Publisher, a page layout program.

Affinity Photo uses various “personas” to group different types of functions for image editing, working with RAW images and stitching together panoramas. Image editing allows for many different kinds of non-destructive adjustments. Extensions to allow some of the tools to work in Apple Photos are also available.

On March 15 an announcement was made indicating that Affinity software, including Affinity Photo, will come to Windows. Serif which is the company behind Affinity software previously made graphics software for the consumer market on Windows, but now is focusing on the Affinity software suite.

Affinity Photo from MacAffinity on Vimeo.

 

Yes, the new Apple Photos app can be used without iCloud

With the latest update of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Apple added the much anticipated Photos app. Photos which Apple developed to work more closely with the Photos app on iOS devices and in the process has meant the ceasing of development of iPhoto and Aperture.

While Apple advertises the iCloud Photo Library to sync photos it still remains possible to sync photos via iTunes for those that don’t wish to upload all of their photos. At the time 10.10.3 was released iTunes was also updated to support Photos. In order to change syncing from iPhoto to the Photos app, one needs to setup and resync the photos.

When opening the Photos for the first time it will ask about using the iCloud Photo Library at which time you can decline. To make any changes later go into the iCloud Preferences pane within Photos.

In iTunes after you have connected your iPhone or iPad select it and then find the tab for Photos in the Settings. Here there is an option with “Copy photos from Photos”  and then select which photos you want to transfer. You can transfer all photos or recent months or particular albums. When you apply the changes it will resync your photos.

My personal use of iPhoto at present (and now Photos) is primarily for syncing photos between the Mac and iOS devices. I also use it for the occasional project, such as gift cards. To avoid depending on iPhoto/Photos which hides the pictures in the Finder I import into a regular folder structure and use other software such as GraphicConverter to access the photos. Importing the photos can be done using Image Capture.

Some more tips for using the Photos app:

  • Select “Show Sidebar” from the “View” menu, in order to see albums listed.
  • Photos doesn’t appear to support Events, however, events in iPhoto are imported into albums.

Fine tuning Yosemite

On the weekend I updated to Yosemite and the process went well. Here are some tips to reduce some of the drastic changes to the user interface and bring back a couple items that are hidden in Safari.

  1. To reduce the transparency added with Yosemite there is an option by going to System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Display and selecting “Reduce transparency”.
  2. One of the options that Mac OS X has is to change the blue colour for highlights in menus to grey. I find it especially helpful in Yosemite to minimize the overly bright nature.  In the System Preferences -> General ->Appearance and selecting “Graphite”.
  3. Yosemite brings a new version of Safari and one of the changes made was that URL is reduced to the domain name. To view full URLs go to the Safari Preferences and selecting “Show full website addresses”.
  4. Safari also takes away the title for the current page. This can be shown by making sure that the tab bar is always shown by selecting from the menu View -> Show Tab Bar.

Update 11/11/2014: MacWorld includes an article with information on why you might want to keep Apple’s new URL behaviour.