Create Photo Mosaics from Profile Images of Your Twitter Friends

We have seen some really cool ways to create background images for your Twitter profile. There is Twitlay, which lets you create Twitter backgrounds from an image stored in your computer. There is also Twitbacks, which makes it easy to show all your social networking accounts as your Twitter profile background.

But wouldn’t it be a great idea to use a photo mosaic as a Twitter background? The idea here is to create a photo mosaic from profile thumbnails of your Twitter followers or friends. Here is an example:

twitter-friends-photo-mosaic

MyFriendsMosaic let’s you quickly create photo mosaics from profile images of your Twitter friends and followers. Just visit the site and enter your Twitter username and choose followers or friends from the dropdown menu.

create-photo-mosaics-twitter-friends

Once the mosaic is done, you can download the image in your computer. The site works with Twitter and Livejournal. The premier option let’s you buy custom templates such as: an image for the mouse pad, a coffee mug, a T-shirt or may be a handbag.

mosaic-templates

Techie Buzz Verdict

The site looks cool but the downside is that there aren’t any templates. All you get is a rectangular image which can be set as a desktop background or the background image of your Twitter profile. I would love to see different shapes being introduced, so that each mosaic looks different from others.

Techie Buzz rating: 3/5 (Good).

Create Abstract Fractal-like Wallpapers with Flame

There are currently several programs that let even novices create abstract wallpapers without prior knowledge of complicated design tools. These programs have friendly interfaces and are generally rather easy to use. In one of my previous posts, I had talked about the wallpaper creator tool by X3Studios, which lets you create abstract vector-based wallpapers. Now, if you have a weakness for abstract fractal-like wallpapers, then you will find the free Flash-based Flame nothing short of addictive!

Compared to X3Studios, Flame does not provide you with as many options. Yet, there is tremendous potential for variety within its limited options. You have either a black or a white background, and are also provided with a brush tool which can be customized. Apart from color, saturation and opacity, you can even adjust other options such as size, softness, chaos and noise to change the nature of your brush strokes. All that you have to do to create fractal-like shapes and doodles is move your mouse around!

The trick lies in exercising control over your mouse movements. For smoothly flowing sheer color strokes, it is best to move your mouse quickly without keeping it in one spot for too long. Slow mouse movements simply translate into a harder, more intensely focused color, which may not be a bad thing if that is what you’re aiming at in the first place.

Finally, once you deem your masterpiece completed, you can save your artwork to your computer. There is, however, one rather crucial limitation. Your wallpaper can only be saved at a resolution of 1680 × 1050 pixels.

In spite of this, you can easily find yourself whiling away your time with Flame, enthralled by the sheer diversity present in every entrancing endeavor of yours!

Here, I have shared a couple of wallpapers that I made using Flame and would love to see the ones you create! I hope you have as much fun as I did!

Online Image Editor Picnik Acquired By Google

I have always been a big fan of Picnik, the online image editor which I have mentioned several times in the past. Picnik provide users with a easy to use and simple interface to edit images online.

Google Acquires Picnik

In an official announcement on the Picnik Blog, the folks at Picnik said that Google has officially acquired Picnik.

And all this leads us to today’s exciting news: we’ve just been acquired by Google! What does this mean for Picnik? It means we can think BIG. Google processes petabytes of data every day, and with their worldwide infrastructure and world-class team, it is truly the best home we could have found. Under the Google roof we’ll reach more people than ever before, impacting more lives and making more photos more awesome.

But why would Google acquire a online image editing company? Well, from what I could think of, Google’s Picasa Web does not have any image editing capabilities, so Picnik could be put to good use at Picasa Web. Another use for Picnik would be in Gmail and , where Google allows users to upload and share images but does not allow them to edit it.

Picnik definitely proves a good fit for lot of Google properties and it will be interesting to see how Google makes use of the latest acquisition. However, current Picnik users do not have much to worry about as they will be able to continue using Picnik as before.

There is no official note on the price of the sale, but we will try to update the post once we get information about it.

Google welcomes Picnik [via TechMeme]

Create your own Abstract Wallpapers with X3Studios

We all love to personalize our computers to our taste, right? And the first step towards doing just that is putting up a great wallpaper! While it can be a lot of fun to surf through websites which offer loads of wallpapers for free download, after a lot of searching we often end up wishing for something a little more attuned to what we had in mind. The solution to this is simple: why not make your own wallpaper?

Abstract vector-based wallpapers are great ways to make your computer look more like an extension of your personality and X3Studios makes their creation extremely simple! With their free wallpaper creation tool, you would neither require Illustrator nor need to scour the web to build up a collection of stock images before you start work.

With the X3Studios tool, which you don’t even need to register for, your web browser will serve as your workstation (or play-station, if you, like me, find such creative work nothing short of fun). There will be a palette and element selection guide in the workspace set up in your browser and you will have free reign over all the numerous background textures and abstract design elements to do as you please with! All the elements selected by you can be customized with the help of   the sliders on your right that let you play around with brightness, color, saturation as well as element size and spatial orientation.

X3Studios scores over other image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop with its extremely simple user interface which makes life easier for all the novices out there who would like to try their hand at something like this without feeling intimidated by the software!

To top it all, the wallpaper that you create can be downloaded at high resolutions ranging from 1024×768 to 1600×1200.

Lastly, you can also turn to the wallpapers saved by others for inspiration as well as download purposes. So go on ahead and let your creativity stretch its wings and take hold of your computer! Below is a glimpse of the one I created. Have fun making yours!

Quickly Add Images in Gmail, Google Docs, WordPress And other Editors With Picture Paste

Adding images in email messages can be a bit tiring. You have to either upload the image as an attachment or use a Gmail labs feature to add images in the email message body.

Same goes with blogging editors meant for WordPress and Blogger. You have to either use a blogging client like Windows live writer, or use the in built uploader. The first option may not be suitable when you are using other computers to write your blog post. The later option can be time consuming when you have plenty of images to consider. In the worst case, the browser freezes in the middle and you have to start the process all over again.

To solve this, use PicturePaste – a simple desktop app to add images in your emails and blog posts. Following are the steps involved to use this tool:

1. Drag and drop an image which you wish to attach in an email message or a blog post into the PicturePaste program.

add-pictures-email-blog-posts-desktop

2. Convert the image to a suitable format using the built in conversion options. (JPG or PNG)

3. When the image is ready, drop it in the email compose window and it’s done.

attach-image-gmail-picturepaste

Similarly, you can attach images into other web based editors such as Google Docs, WordPress and email programs – Gmail, Yahoo and Windows live Hotmail. All the images are uploaded to Amazon S3 and there is nothing to register or configure. Great find – LifeRocks.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Picture Paste is fast, easy to use and does what it says. However it’s not completely free and the trial version allows you to upload only 50 images. I would love to see integration of a short URL feature so that we can quickly share the image on microblogging sites.

Techie Buzz rating: 4/5 (Excellent).

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)

Converthub: An Online Tool to Convert Images into Multiple Formats

Want a simple web app that can convert images into multiple formats? Here is Converthub – which lets you convert images from your browser and without using any image editor or desktop application. Converthub can convert images to GIF, PNG, BMP, JPG, ICO formats as well as to advanced and uncommon image formats like eps, tiff, tga and ps formats.

How to Convert Images into other formats with Converthub

Just browse to the homepage and you can upload an image from your computer. You can also add an image for conversion from any publicly accessible web URL.

converthub-upload-image-for-conversion

Here is the entire array of options that converthub has to offer:

converthub-image-options

You can set the Image quality from the dropdown in the right and choose the dimensions of the converted image. The service also lets you rotate or flip the converted image. When you are done with all the settings, hit the convert button and you can download the converted image in your computer.

When you may need Converthub?

Suppose you are working in your office computer or in a friends house and the computer does not have any image editor. Moreover, the user account with which you are logged in doesn’t have administrative rights and you can not install an image editor on your own. In such situations, Converthub would get the job done. It requires no registrations and it’s the simplest online image conversion utlity I have seen.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

Converthub is great and apart from converting images, they have other tools which may interest you. This includes an image flipper, color convertor, image rotator and an html to pdf convertor.

Techie-Buzz rating: 4/5 (very good).

Best Tools to Crop and Resize Images Online

Previously we have covered some fabulous image manipulation tools and photo editors. In this article, we are showcasing some of the best tools available on the web to crop and resize images to make it easy for you.

CutMyPic: Free web based image re-sizer tool. It enables you to cut, crop, drop shadow and round the corners of your image. It provides you with the orginal and revised image size information. You can preview the changes made to the image and send it via email or save it to your PC.

PicResize: A free online picture resizer to crop a selected portion of your images. And, add special effects like gray scale, blur, oil paint etc.,

Resizr: Provides you with some convenient options to crop a selected part of an image. You can manually set the initial width and height of the portion to be cropped or choose from other available options like square, free, 4 x 6 etc., It also has a draggable slider to resize your images in a convenient way.

Resize it – Crop a photo: Just upload an image and select the part on your image that needs cropping, then press ‘Crop it’ and save your image.

DrPic: It’s a free web based image editor with some nice options to crop, resize, adjust the brightness and add special effects to images. To crop an image on DrPic – upload an image, choose the ‘Crop’ tool, make a selection to be cropped and click on the ‘Crop’ tool again to save your selection.

Defining an image crop area with JavaScript: Upload the image you wish to crop from your hard drive, then to select your image crop area, click the opposite diagonal corners of the area you want to keep. A selection box will appear, when you have your selection in the appropriate position, click the “Crop Image” button and the image will be cropped to your selection.

FlyEdit: This Firefox add-on not only lets you crop images right within your browser, but also allows you to edit and resize images. You can even rotate, change the brightness and contrast of the image and more.

Web Resizer: Is a free online photo resizing tool with options to crop, rotate, optimize, sharpen and adjust the brightness and contrast of your images. It’s a convenient way to quickly crop and resize your favorite images for use on websites, email and elsewhere.

If you have a blog based on WordPress, you can use the built-in image editor on WordPress to quickly crop and resize your images.

What’s your favorite online tool to resize and crop images? Do tell us in comments.

Download Flickr Photos to Your Desktop with Bulkr

After telling you about a tool to download public albums from Picasa on your desktop, here is another tool which will allow you to download bulk Flickr photos to your desktop.

download_bulk_flickr_photos

Bulkr is an application based on which will allow you to download up-to 200 photos from Flickr at a time. You can download Flickr photos from your stream, your favorites, Flickr search and any other user’s photo stream. If you are interested in more Flickr tools, you might want to checkout an app which will allow you to access Flickr from Windows Explorer and Flickroom: An excellent app for Flickr.

Download Bulkr