Creating an image mosaic can be a fun and creative way to spice up your personal or commercial project. Depending on your needs, there are a few different resources available to help you out with what would be virtually impossible to do manually unless you had an enormous amount of patience and an endless supply of images to work with. The Image Mosaic Generator is a Web-based image mosaic creator. This Web app allows you to upload the full sized image you wish to create a mosaic of, then wait while it does its magic. The process if fairly quick, and you can download the final result. You have no control over the images used to create the mosaic, but it’s certainly the fastest and easiest way to go about creating the mosaic. For those who need much more control over the mosaic, you can try Funtastic Photos, which I reviewed for Macworld’s Gems blog here. An image mosaic feature is built-in. It’s a great program that does a whole lot of other things beyond creating image mosaics. For a more dedicated image mosaic creation app, the best one I’ve come across is MacOSaiX. This dedicated image mosaic creation app has been around for a long time, and is probably the most customizable app for creating image mosaics. It offers the ability to choose which photos are used to create the mosaic from images you already have on your Mac, or use Google or Flickr image searches to find more. You can also have it use Font Glyphs if you so choose. MacOSaix is also quite intelligent when choosing which photos are used where in the final Mosaic, based on the color found in the images. You can also choose which shape the photos are, and how many tiles (images) are used to create the final mosaic. Be warned though, the larger the mosaic you wish to create, the longer it will take to create. And by longer, I mean REALLY LONG, as in hours in some cases. But the results from MacOSaiX are stunning to say the least, and well worth the wait.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone off on a rant, but I couldn’t hold this one in any longer because it’s driving me absolutely freakin’ crazy! What the hell is with the OSX menubar? Why does it suck so badly?
I have a host of apps that I use on a regular basis, and they offer menubar apps/icons to make it easier to work with. The problem is, the damn things are ugly, and I can’t configure the order in which they appear. Adding to my frustration is the fact that the load order appears to change on a whim every time I log-in or restart. Thus, my menubar madness rant… (more…)
You may have known that you can create and maintain multiple iPhoto libraries by holding down the Option key when clicking the iPhoto icon in the Dock. This is a useful feature for those who have large collections of photos. In the past, you had to hold the Option key down while launching iPhoto in order to access the dialog box which allowed you to choose which library to open. With iPhoto ’09, you can now just double click the iPhoto library in your Pictures folder to access the library you want to work with. Keep in mind that iPhoto will “remember” the last library you had open, so clicking the iPhoto icon without holding the Option key down will open the last library you worked with. Why would you want to create multiple iPhoto libraries? Well, I like to create a new library for each year. Not only does iPhoto load faster, but it makes it much easier to back up each library to DVDs.
I am assuming readers of The Graphic Mac are aware of Apple’s Font Book that ships with OS X (and is pretty robust in 10.5), and are also aware of the limitations of Font Book, as well as the need for a graphics professional to use a third-party font management application. And I know what you’re thinking: “Don’t we already have enough pro font management apps?”. Suitcase Fusion 2, FontAgent Pro 4 and of course the formerly free FontExplorer X Pro have been around for some time and each is pretty well established. So why a new font manager? (more…)
If you work on a MacBook or MacBook Pro you probably have the laptop set to sleep after a certain amount of time, and the screen to dim after a certain period of inactivity, in order to save battery life. The problem is that sometimes the dimming or sleep feature activates at an inopportune time – such as reading long documents or Web pages. You could adjust your EnergySaver preference settings, but that’s a pain – and if you forget to switch it back, your battery drains even faster. Enter Caffeine from Lighthead Software. This free piece of software prevents your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Caffeine is easily activated by clicking the menubar icon. Another click deactivates it. You can also tell Caffeine to turn off after a specified number of minutes by Command + clicking on the icon. A checkbox in the preferences sets Caffeine as a startup application, so it’s always there when you need it. I recently started using Caffeine on my MacBook Pro and love it. It’s a one-trick pony, but it does the trick very well.
One of the things I loved about SoundJam, the original iTunes app before Apple bought it, was the ability to download customizable themes that took up little space on my screen. One of my favorites was one that was a slim bar that sat just below the Apple menu bar. It took up little space, and added all the basic controls needed. (more…)
If you run a Web site, create training manuals or do something that requires you to take and use screenshots a lot, one thing you probably find yourself doing is hiding certain windows and moving icons on your desktop out of the way. It’s a royal pain in the behind. (more…)
PSDTuts has a great article covering Photoshop alternatives, for those who don’t need the power and expense of the king of all image editors. The top 5 are:
- Pixelmator (reviewed at Macworld.com)
- Corel PaintShop Pro
- Pixel Image Editor
The article also goes on to cover some lightweight alternatives such as:
- Adobe Photoshop Elements
- Acorn (reviewed at Macworld.com)
While none of these applications offer the power and flexibility of Adobe Photoshop, most all of them have been around a while and have matured nicely. If your needs don’t warrant the Photoshop price tag, any one of these apps might just do the trick for you.
Do you like the media browser that Apple includes in some of its applications, but wish you could use it from any application? Now you can. Karelia has released iMedia Browser 1.0, a free media browser much like the one you find in Apple’s iWork suite and several other applications that tie-in with iLife apps. iMedia Browser allows quick access to your iPhoto collections, iTunes library, movies and Web links via a small window which you can add to by dragging other folders of media into. While this is nothing really earth-shaking, I like the fact that I have full access to my iPhoto library without actually having to launch iPhoto – which can take some time with thousands of photos in it. iMedia gave me access to all my photos and albums from iPhoto instantly. I simply drag a photo from iMedia Browser to my Photoshop icon to open it, or to an InDesign document to place it. Simple stuff!
Every once in a while, you come across an application or utility that does very little, so little in fact that most people overlook it as trivial. But I like apps that do very little. It usually means they do them extremely well – it also means they tend to be affordable, if not outright cheap! I found myself in need of a “To-Do List” app for OSX. Now obviously I could just use stickies, but really, it’s more trouble than it’s worth and isn’t very handy. I also tried some To-Do-List type apps, but found that they were so far overkill that I got dizzy just looking at them. Entourage is a no-go because I don’t use it. Konfabulator has a nice simple To-Do list widget, unfortunately it not only costs $25 to use, but you’re stuck running a memory hog of a program just to have the list. iCal has one, but again, it’s a lot of effort. Enter Check Off. Check Off from Carpeaqua Software is a menu bar application that lists To-Do items in a drop down list, including a check box for when you finish the job. As you can see by the snapshot at the right, you can color items, create folders to group items and also type a brief description of each item if you wish. The list box automatically rolls back up into the menu when you click on any other app including the Finder. The preferences are slim, the ability to launch at startup and expand the list menu to fit all items in view are about the only options, but it really doesn’t need anything else. You can also print and export your list as a text file or HTML. The best part is, it’s 100% FREE. I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of this app before, but I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a small Macintosh developer not get caught up in feature-bloat syndrome. If you’re interested in a To-Do List application that knows how to stay out of your way, yet still do its job, I urge you to give this one a shot!