Archive for July, 2011

Adobe Illustrator: Live Trace

July 7th, 2011

In an earlier post I mentioned random skills that librarians pick up (graphic design, video editing, archery). I’m helping a friend convert a bitmap into a vector. Bitmaps get all jagged and pixelly when you stretch them beyond their proportions. Vectors use math (it’s all about the rays and line segments) to stretch pictures without the pixellation. If you’ve ever drawn in Flash, you’ve drawn using vectors.

I was about to manually trace the bitmap in Adobe Illustrator and then save it as a vector when I noticed the Live Trace feature.

Note: This is using Adobe CS2.

How to use it:

  1. Click on the layer with your image.
  2. In the menu bar, click on ‘Object’, then ‘Live Trace’, then ‘Show Adjusted Image’.
  3. Click on your image and then click on the ‘Live Trace’ button.
  4. It will take a bit to trace automatically. You can then click on ‘Object’, then ‘Live Paint’, then ‘Make’ to make a new image using vectors. This allows you to edit the new image like any other Illustrator file.

The dwarven party is coming together!

July 7th, 2011

So exciting. I like the art style.

From New Line Cinema:

These three brothers, all sons of the same mother, could not be more different from each other. Dori, the oldest, spends much of his time watching out for Ori, the youngest; making sure he’s not caught a chill or got himself killed by Wargs or Goblins. Nobody quite knows what Nori gets up to most of the time, except that it’s guaranteed to be dodgy and quite probably, illegal. Dori, Nori and Ori are intensely loyal to each other – and whilst they are perfectly happy fighting amongst themselves, woe-betide anyone who means harm to one of these brothers.

HopeKids – How You Can Help – Part 2: In-kind donations

July 5th, 2011

This week I’m highlighting HopeKids while I hang out with one of their families.

Today’s way you can help:
In-kind donations

Now, I had to have this explained to me. I thought, “In-kind…hmm…well, of course it’s kind. It’s a donation.”

So, here’s a more accurate definition: “in-kind” means “cash-equivalent”. So, instead of donating cash, which sometimes we’re all a little short on, you can donate a good or service. If you run a movie theater, you can donate tickets to HopeKids and then write-off those tickets on your taxes for the fair market value (how much the tickets actually cost) of the tickets.

This works for pretty much anything. I asked if I could buy tickets to a movie/show/sporting event and then donate those and that works, too.

Now, what can librarians do? There are very specific rules for what public school librarians do with old books, so we can’t donate our old books to HopeKids. BUT many of us are talented graphic designers/movie makers, whether by training or circumstances. (How many of us have had to make flyers for library events? How many have edited videos for announcements/orientation/back-to-school night?) Are you talented with a computer? You can e-mail the executive directors for the chapter to ask what work they need done. It might help them to have one less flyer to make, one less video to render, so they have more time to hang out with the kids.

You can see the e-mails for the executive directors here, as well as a list of other in-kind ideas.

HopeKids – How You Can Help – Part 1: Get the word out

July 4th, 2011

This week I’m hanging out with a HopeKids family and I’m always excited to hear about the great things that they are doing for the kids in the community. Check out their site to read some of the stories of kids helped out by having something to look forward to each week while they undergo treatment for some very serious diseases.

I’ve decided to start a new site category called “How You Can Help“. There are many organizations out there serving others. One of the toughest challenges for charities is obscurity, people not knowing that the charity is there to help. Periodically I’ll highlight a charity to get the news out for opportunities to help others.

So this week I’ll be posting some ideas of how you can help HopeKids out. They have chapters in Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, and Utah. Today’s way to help is easy:

Get the word out.

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