Use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for Quick Photo Edits

There are a lot of great photo editors on the market. Some are very robust and expensive, while others are free. To be honest, there are about as many photo editors out there as there are camera models. Today I would like to tell you about one that is probably sitting right under your nose and you’ve never used it. It is called “Microsoft Office Picture Manager” and it comes bundled with Microsoft Office.

I would like to show you an example of the photo editing power of Picture Manager. Let’s begin by opening a picture on our computer. Below you will see a lighthouse picture I took in Portland, Maine.

Lighthouse

Let’s say, for example, that I wanted to turn this photo black and white. This is very simple to do using Picture Manager. First, let’s open the picture in Picture Manager. Below, you will see where I right clicked the photo, then chose the “Open With” option, and then clicked “Microsoft Office Picture Manager”.

Open With Menu

Now we’ll need to click the button at the top of the window that says “Edit Pictures…” See the picture below to see what the button looks like.

Edit Button

Now, you will get a toolbar on the right side of the screen. You will notice a very large “Auto Correct” button. If you have a photo that may be a little too dark and grainy, sometimes clicking this button will help correct common color and lighting errors. In the picture below, you will notice an area highlighted under the heading “Edit using these tools”. Here are some commonly used photo editing tools. The one I would like to deal with in this tutorial is under the heading “Color”.

Toolbar Options

When you click the heading that says “Color”, you will get the menu options pictured below.

Color Menu

Using this menu, you can do some really cool things to your photo. You can also royally screw up the color balance so make sure you keep the “Undo” button handy. You will notice that there are three sliders that will allow you to use your mouse to click and drag to change the value in each box. Remember the goal of this particular tutorial is to make this photo black and white. To accomplish this we’ll need to desaturate the photo. Saturation basically is a term for how much color is in the photo. If we drag the “Saturation” slider all the way to the left, we are essentially saying we want to take all of the color out of the photo.  Now, our picture is black and white.  See the picture below.

Lighthouse Black and White

There are many other useful tools in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. You can easily fix red eye, flip and rotate pictures, and more. It may not be the most robust tool out there, but for the novice user, it is easy to use. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions.

Create Animated Gifs with UnFREEZ

Once in a while, it’s fun to play with animated GIFs. These are the little moving images you often see at websites. Some people like them so much that they collect large numbers of them.

Bouncing_sheep_2

Other people really enjoy making them. If you’ve never created an animated (active) GIF, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is if you have the right tool.

I’ve tried a number of GIF tools over the years, but UnFREEZ is typically the one I use for simple and quick projects.

Grab a copy

The first thing to do is to go to the Whitsoftdev website and download UnFREEZ. You will first be amazed at how small this utility is. It’s less than 20K in size. It’s offered as a ZIP file, so all you need to do is extract it to a folder on your hard drive, then double click to run it.

Here’s what it looks like.

unfreez_app

How does it work?

Create or gather some GIF files, make sure that they are all the same dimensions, then drag them one at a time into the frame window on UnFREEZ.

As you can see in the screen-shot above, I dragged in 5 files and they are all 284 x 96 pixels in size. If you want your animation to keep playing over and over, be sure to place a check in the Loop animationcheck-box. The Frame delayis the amount of time each of your images is shown before the next one displays. The Frame delay is measured in hundredths of a second, so that 100cs is equal to 1 second.

Once you have your GIFs loaded, the loop set and the frame delay entered, you are ready to push the Make Animated GIFbutton to create your new file.

Don’t be too concerned about getting the frame delay set perfectly the first try. You can always change the delay and regenerate a new file.

Here’s a cute little animated sign I made just for this article. It only took me a few minutes to create.

unfreezee

Note: If you don’t like UnFREEZ, you can also create animated gifs online at GIFUP.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

UnFREEZ is a perfect little tool for people just starting to learn about animated GIFs. It’s great for small projects, however, you can also use it to make some pretty decent GIF movies.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Turn Photos into Art with FotoSketcher

You can create some very stunning pencil sketches, pen and ink drawings or paintings the old fashioned way if you have the time and materials. Since I don’t have the time, materials or the skill, I’m using version 1.95 of FotoSketcher on my Windows PC.

A few years ago, I found a nice Photo to Sketch utility that I used to make a picture for my online avatar. I also found an online tool to create sketches from photos. However. I was blown away by all of the features in FotoSketcher. It’s free, it’s not a big program, and it’s also available as a stand-alone executable file.

Even though it’s simple to open a new picture in this app, it may take a while for you to figure out the multitude of effects that you can apply to an image. Here’s an example of a picture that I found on the author’s website.

FotoSketcher - 280130_8025

This looks like a very nice oil painting, but the author started with a real photo he found on Stock.xchng.

Below you can see a video tutorial I found at the FotoSketcher website.


Download FotoSketcher:

http://www.fotosketcher.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This little freeware application takes photo tweaking to the next level. It makes it possible for an average joe to create real art with almost no training and very little time. I can easily give it a highly recommendedstamp of approval. (Note a before and after I tweaked our stamp with FotoSketcher to make it look like a colored pencil drawing).

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 FotoSketcher - techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Take Screenshots Without Any Software Or Plugin

There are tons of softwares and add-ons that let you take screenshots of webpages, edit them, resize them and then save them. But what about times when you are on a new machine or a different browser and need a quick screen capture of a website. Here’s the trick.

Suppose you are visiting a webpage with the URL http://abcd.com/xyz. To do a screen capture, simply add aviary.com/ before the http and press enter. You will automatically be redirected to the aviary.com website showing a screen capture of the original web page.

Once you see the screenshot, you have the options of editing the image, resizing it, cropping it or saving it on your desktop. The Aviary image editor will provide you with almost all the standard tools that you see in a regular screen capture software. You can also launch an advanced editor to use advanced image editing features.

Alternately, you can also go to Aviary.com/launch/talon and enter the URL of the webpage you are trying to capture. Aviary also allows you to choose the optimal screen resolution and image quality you desire.

If you use firefox, you can also use their Add-on to have a quicker access to the tool.

PicPick Tools: All-In-One Design Tool [Featured Download]

Not every user requires to have Photoshop to edit images or a costly tool to capture screens from their desktop, of-course there are quite a few freeware that will help you manage your images and also quite a few free screen capture alternatives to capture screens on your computer.

picpick-tools-capture-screenshot

However PicPick tools is a all-in-one design tool utility that clubs into several features into a single portable freeware, and can be used as a all-in-one software for software developers, graphic designers and home user.

Continue reading PicPick Tools: All-In-One Design Tool [Featured Download]

Edit Images On The Fly In Firefox With FlyEdit [Featured Extension]

We have told you about tons of that will help you edit images online, but wouldn’t it be nice to edit those images on the fly, without the need to install visit any website or launch a image editing tool?

flyedit-edit-images-on-the-fly-in-firefox

FlyEdit is one such extension that will help you edit images on the fly on any webpage and save it to your local PC.

Continue reading Edit Images On The Fly In Firefox With FlyEdit [Featured Extension]

Windows Live Writer Gets Image Editing Capabilities

It feels good to be back after a break of 5 days, but in those five days I had a lot of work to do, including finding and moving to a new Apartment to live in. Everything went smoothly and here I am back again blogging from my new apartment which has much more light and is spacious enough to setup a desk so that I can blog comfortably.

Getting back to business, Window Live Writer one of the most widely used blog editor (and my favorite too) has released a new Technical update which includes features like image cropping and tilting, more border styles for your images and support for centering images.

In addition to that you can also add image previewing effects from Lightbox right from the editor itself.

Continue reading Windows Live Writer Gets Image Editing Capabilities